The low calorie, high protein ice cream may be the new Tasty D-lite

Max Bonem
June 06, 2017

 “Healthy" and "ice cream” are two words that just don’t sound right together. However, the frozen dessert aisle has recently been taken over by Halo Top, a brand of ice cream that is trying to fit itself into the health-conscious food space.

Seemingly overnight, Halo Top has gone from a novelty to one of the most popular ice creams at your local grocery store. Seriously, go check to see if they have it, we’ll wait. But what is Halo Top exactly? And should you try it? We're here to help you make that important decision.

Courtesy of Halo Top

Seriously, this stuff is SUPER popular.

According to Halo Top CEO and founder Justin Woolverton, sales in 2016 jumped about 2,500% to $66 million from the past year with more than 13.5 million pints sold at an average price of $4.89. As a result, Halo Top is having trouble keeping all of their retailers stocked, “whether it's in L.A., New York or Wyoming,” says Woolverton.

Halo Top is basically guilt-free.

When it comes to foods where it’s simply best to avoid looking at the nutritional information, ice cream really takes the cake (sorry). However, Halo Top tries to take the guilt out of the equation for those rare occasions, or nightly occurrences, when you devour an entire pint in one sitting.

Halo Top’s 17 flavors contain between 240-360 calories per pint, or 60-90 calories per serving. In comparison, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla contains 250 calories per serving. Halo Top also contains more protein (five grams v. Ben & Jerry’s four) and both significantly less fat (two v. 16 grams) and carbs (five v. 21 grams). It even has three grams of fiber per serving. So, how is this possible?

Halo Top is a little more complicated than other ice creams.

We know Halo Top is significantly lower calorie than competing traditional ice creams, but how do they do it? If you look at Halo Top’s ingredients, you’ll notice that there’s definitely some science at play.

Ice cream is traditionally made of four ingredients: Milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks, along with whatever flavoring you’re including. Now look at the ingredients for a pint of a Halo Top (in this case, their chocolate flavor): Milk, cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, organic cane sugar, high fat cocoa, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, organic carob gum, organic guar gum and organic stevia.

One thing that Halo Top certainly achieves through its Scrabble board of an ingredient list is the appropriate sweetness of its ice creams, which is an aspect that many other lower-calorie ice creams have difficulty replicating. Even with significantly less sugar than traditional ice creams, Halo Top is still able to accomplish this through a trio of sweeteners. First, there’s stevia, which contains no calories. Then there are 20 grams of organic cane sugar per pint, which contains about 80 calories. In comparison, a pint of Ben & Jerry's vanilla contains 20 grams of sugar per serving or 80 grams per pint. Lastly, there are 20 grams of erythritol, which is listed under "sugar alcohols" on the nutrition facts panel and contains about five calories.  

Keep in mind, however, that sugar alcohols like erythritol are known to cause digestion issues when consumed in large quantities (i.e. more than 20 grams in one sitting). Basically, just don’t spend any extended amount of time only eating Halo Top and you should be fine.

Courtesy of Halo Top

When you eat Halo Top, you're actually eating less ice cream.

One of Halo Top’s other major differences is the weight of the ice cream itself. A pint of Halo Top contains 256 grams of ice cream by weight, while a pint of traditional ice cream typically weighs about 400 to 450 grams by weight. Halo Top is much airier in comparison, partially due to how much less sugar and fat are present. Essentially, Halo Top is significantly healthier because you’re eating a loss less of the things that make traditional ice cream especially decadent.

So, should you try Halo Top?

If you are someone who occasionally treats yourself with ice cream, it might be worth just sticking to whatever you enjoy most. However, if you really love ice cream and eat it on a consistent basis, you should definitely give Halo Top a try. Besides being a sweet treat and tasting more like ice cream and less like whatever Arctic Zero is pretending to be, Halo Top actually offers quite a bit in the ways of protein and fiber. 

Halo Top is available, well, everywhere it seems like at the moment. If you don’t know where to find it, Halo Top can help with that as well.