Healthy Ice Cream. Who doesn’t want that??
Well…. wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true. Let that be your life lesson for today. : – P
When it comes to food that is in a box with a lot of pretty labeling, guess what? You might as well assume that all the claims on the package are a bunch of lies. As Jerry McGuire says…. SHOW ME THE MONEY!! : – )
(Side note: I laughed loudly when searching for that GIF, hahaha! But anyway… back to our topic.)
The “money” when it comes to food packaging is on the nutrition facts label and the ingredient list.
Halo Top Ice Cream Review – Ingredient List
Let’s go ahead and start with the ingredient list. While I was at the grocery store, I took a quick picture so I could review it later. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of most to least (measured by weight).
Here’s what we’ve got:
- Milk & cream (the basis of ice cream)
- erythritol (this is a sugar alcohol – can cause GI issues for some people. It also counts as 1/2 sugar for those who count carbs for diabetes management).
- prebiotic fiber (added fiber; most ice cream does not have fiber. )
- milk protein concentrate (added protein; so they can have a higher protein ice cream)
- chocolate chips
- cane sugar
- glycerin (filler)
- flavors (who knows??)
- carob gum (filler)
- guar gum (filler)
- stevia (no calorie sweetener)
Uh… am I missing something? Where’s the “healthy food” part? Generally, I think of a “healthy food” as something that you would want to include in your food choices on a regular basis and provides you with a variety of health promoting nutrients.
Also a “healthy food” would be something that would be a good choice to have every day. Good examples of “healthy foods” are things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans or whole grains. But you already knew that!
Halo Top Ice Cream Nutrition Facts
One pint of mint chip Halo Top ice cream contains:
- 240 calories,
- 8 grams of fat,
- 4 grams of saturated fat,
- 160 mg of cholesterol,
- 440 mg of sodium,
- 56 grams of carbohydrate,
- 12 grams of fiber,
- 20 grams of sugar,
- 20 grams of protein,
- 40% DV calcium,
- 8% DV iron.
For this pint, you would be getting a good amount of fiber, calcium, and protein. With other more natural ice creams, you would likely have more calories, more saturated fat, more sugar, less (no) fiber and less protein.
Yes, this ice cream has a better nutrient profile than “real” ice cream. Which is why it gets the claim of “healthy ice cream!” However, it also has more additives in it, like sugar alcohols, processed fiber, and processed protein.
I don’t have a problem with someone eating ice cream in moderation (I call something a habit if you have it 3 or more times a week, every week). But let’s not deceive ourselves and call ice cream a “healthy food”. Halo Top Ice Cream would be a fine choice for someone who wants to enjoy some ‘food for the soul.’ If you try it, and like it, and have it in moderation then great!
However, if you’re going to sit down and eat an entire pint of ice cream several nights (or mornings!) a week, then you might need to evaluate your hunger level, and whether you are an emotional eater. Having a pint of ice cream in a sitting, rather than a scoop or two, does not scream “moderation” to me.
The Bottom Line
You have many choices when it comes to what you want to have for dessert. Add this one to the list. But don’t use Halo Top Ice Cream thinking that it’s promoting health. It’s just another dessert option.
If you want to make a frozen dessert that provides you with a full serving of real fruit, try out this banana ice cream recipe! Or get a real protein boost in your pudding by making this chocolate pudding recipe.
Beth Bennett says
Thanks Julie for such a well written article and your great sense of humor. We just discussed this product last week in our Healthy Weigh class at The Gathering Place and I totally agree with everything you laid out in your article. We are grateful for your evidence based approach to nutrition and cancer delivered with the right amount of humor and “keepin’ it real” factor.
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN says
Thanks! Had anyone in your group tasted it? A few people have told me they tasted it and it wasn’t very good. I didn’t bother buying it… ha! 🙂
We tried Halo Top because of coupons received at our grocer. My wife is diabetic so we rarely eat ice cream. We eat frozen no-sugar added yogurt at a frozen yogurt place occasionally. Anyway, I chose the pistachio Halo Top flavor and have to say it is probably the worst ice cream flavor I’ve ever tasted…or not tasted, as it was nearly flavorless with a gritty texture. It was also a sick fake green color. I went to you tube where there are critiques of the various flavors. We tried Red Velvet and that was somewhat better but still a pale imitation of Breyers, etc… At $6 for around a pint, Halo Top isn’t a cheap substitute. I tend to think Halo-Top will be a small player in the ice- cream arena, as it just isn’t good enough to eat often, if at all.
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, LDN says
Yuck!!! I agree with you… we actually just make our own and eat small portions. 😀