Is Halo Top Ice Cream Healthy? | Everyday Health

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Video Halo top ice cream ingredients

What Ingredients Are Used to Make Halo Top Ice Cream?

The brand did a serious revamp of its recipe earlier this year in hopes of more closely mimicking the creamy texture of ice cream. According to CNN, Halo Top now uses ultra-filtered milk, which has less sugar and more protein than regular milk, rather than the skim milk it previously used. As with regular ice cream, you’ll also find cream and eggs in most varieties of Halo Top. The sweetness comes courtesy of zero-calorie stevia, sugar, and the sugar alcohol erythritol.

Mass applauds the company for choosing stevia over other sweeteners. But not everyone’s on board with the choice. Cindy H. Carroll, RD, RN, the founder of Nutrition to Fit You in Bedford, Massachusetts, calls out erythritol as a not-so-great ingredient that can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal tract, particularly if you have stomach troubles. Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol, which can lead to gastro issues when consumed in large doses, according to Cleveland Clinic. Sugar alcohols can also have a laxative effect.

The Most Nutritious Halo Top Flavors

Halo Top has also significantly expanded its product line over the years and now offers dairy popsicles with 100 calories or less, nondairy options made with coconut milk (which are great for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant), and a Keto Series featuring keto-friendly pints and popsicles with 5 to 10 grams (g) of net carbs per pint. Plus, it released three fruit sorbet options earlier this year.

In total, Halo Top currently offers 21 flavors of ice cream, four flavors of nondairy ice cream, three fruit sorbets, and 10 Keto pints, including classics like Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Bean, as well as more interesting flavors like Chocolate Cheesecake and Vanilla Caramel Milkshake.

The pints of ice cream are its mainstay, and if you go for one, Mass suggests sticking with flavors that have fewer than 300 calories per pint, such as Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, Oatmeal Cookie, and Pistachio. Not only are they low in calories, but “they are simpler and contain shorter ingredients lists than the higher-calorie counterparts,” she says. Most of the other dairy and nondairy offerings are under 400 calories, but some of the Keto pints have more than 525 calories per pint, which is on par with what you’d find in traditional ice cream.

Here are Halo Top’s flavors with fewer than 300 calories per pint:

  • Vanilla Bean: 290 calories
  • Strawberry: 270 calories
  • Oatmeal Cookie: 290 calories
  • Pistachio: 280 calories
  • Raspberry Sorbet: 280 calories
  • Strawberry Sorbet: 260 calories

Halo Top Versus Regular Ice Cream

Halo Top Vanilla Bean has 100 calories per 2/3-cup serving, 6 g of protein, and 7 g of sugar. A half-cup serving of regular vanilla ice cream, on the other hand, contains around 140 calories, 2 g of protein, and 14 g of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So even with the larger serving size, Halo Top comes out ahead.

“You are also looking at a large differential in sugars, because Halo Top uses sugar substitutes and regular sugar as sweeteners as opposed to just sugar alone,” Mass says. Halo Top’s protein comes from the ultra-filtered milk, regular milk, and eggs. The other big difference is weight: Halo Top is noticeably lighter than other ice creams — Time magazine noted that a pint of Halo Top weighs 256 g versus 428 g for Ben & Jerry’s, possibly because it contains less fat and sugar than ice cream.

Nutritionists Weigh in on Whether Halo Top Is Good for Your Diet

There’s no denying that Halo Top is low in calories, which is helpful if you’re trying to shift the numbers on the scale. “Weight loss is not entirely a calorie game, but it is an important part of it,” Mass says.

She’d recommend Halo Top to certain clients looking to lose weight, mainly those who have a sweet tooth and those who tend to snack all night long. “Some dietitians might argue it’s better to consume the calories from some fresh berries and a few nuts,” Mass says. “I agree, but let’s be real. Sometimes that just doesn’t cut it, and when it comes to long-term maintenance, we need to consider the mind as well.”

The question is whether you’ll feel satisfied after eating 2/3 cup of Halo Top, which is important, because Mass says not feeling deprived is key to weight loss and long-term weight control. “If you can sit down and enjoy a serving of Halo Top and feel satisfied, then you are cutting out significant calories and sugar” compared with eating regular ice cream, Mass says.

But if you view the low-calorie ice cream as a pass to indulge, it could work against you. “From a behavior standpoint, it’s not great to [eat the whole thing],” Carroll says. Mass agrees and says you may create bad habits that lead to bingeing on other foods.

What it comes down to is this: Just because Halo Top is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s okay to overdo it. If you’re sticking to a ½-cup or 2/3-cup serving, Halo Top is a better option calorie-wise than regular ice cream, so long as it doesn’t upset your stomach due to the sugar substitutes. But if eating a “guilt-free” product makes it hard for you to stop, you may end up taking in more calories than if you’d stuck with regular ice cream in the first place.

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