Here’s what you need to know about Halo Top

You get fewer calories and less sugar than you would in most light ice creams. And it’s delish. Who wouldn’t be interested?

No wonder Halo Top has become America’s best-selling pint (the company claims), replacing classics like Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs. Halo Top and its competitors, including Enlightened and Breyers Delights, are battling for a spot in your freezer.

“Finally, healthy ice cream,” says Halo Top’s website. “The good-for-you ice cream,” say pints of Enlightened. “Indulgence without all the guilt!” says Breyers Delights.

Well, not exactly.

How do the new guys compare to their more traditional counterparts?

A half cup of Halo Top Mint Chip, for example, has just 60 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, and about a teaspoon of total sugar. That’s roughtly half of what’s in Edy’s (or Dreyer’s) Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip light ice cream.

Häagen-Dazs’ version? It’ll set you back 280 calories, 12 grams of sat fat (more than half a day’s worth), and 5 teaspoons of sugar. Höly cow!

How do Halo Top & friends do it? In part, by replacing added sugar with (safe) erythritol and stevia leaf extract or monk fruit extract. (The natural sweetener hasn’t been well tested in animals, but monk fruit has been eaten in China for centuries.)

Most flavors of the new lower-calorie ice creams have roughly 60 or 70 calories, 1 teaspoon of total sugar, and 5 or 6 grams of protein per half cup. That’s even better than typical light ice creams (like Edy’s or Dreyer’s Slow Churned), which have around 110 calories, 3 teaspoons of total sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

“This fits perfectly in the category of ‘just because it’s a slightly better choice does not mean that it is a good choice.’”

That was what Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, told Fortune in August. Indeed. Light or not, ice cream is no health food. Halo Top, Breyers, and most Enlighteneds have some added sugar, and they’re not chock full of nutrients.

Just don’t follow Halo’s advice to “Save the bowl. You’re going to want the whole pint.” Eat a pint, and you’re up to 240 to 360 calories. So much for that halo.

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22 Replies to “Here’s what you need to know about Halo Top”

  1. Such a silly analysis of a better version of regular ice cream. Of course it is not a health food. It doesn’t claim to be. At least you can give it credit for trying to lower calories and sugar, but no you choose to remind everyone that the whole pint is not a good idea. Yet the whole pint is less calories than 1/2 cup of most ice creams. Not advocating but just pointing out.

    1. I agree with you Traci, thinking the same thing that when I want to indulge, I have an option that won’t totally derail me. Most of us can eat a pint of ice cream in a heartbeat. I’d rather it be at 360 calories than at least 1000!! And with considerably less sugar. Halo Top isn’t bad, I’ve tried it and it satisfied.

  2. I never comment on ANY article I read but I have to on this one. This article got under my skin.

    I don’t agree with this article at all. I can’t recall Halo Top is claiming to be a health food as Marion Nestle says.

    “ ‘This fits perfectly in the category of ‘just because it’s a slightly better choice does not mean that it is a good choice.’ ” Is there really a good choice when eating ice cream? Smarter yes. Most people have cravings and if this satisfies you, then who cares?!

    You have to live a regular lifestyle in order to be successful in your health goals and that means eating food! Deprive yourself and you set yourself up for failure. An occasional treat is ok.

    If you want ice cream and choose Halo Top over traditional ice cream, what is the problem.

    Sorry Nutrition Action, this article was just a ploy to drive people to your site.

    1. Absolutely. On point and insightful. What kind of a hatchet job is this article? NOBODY EVER CALLED ANY KIND OF ICED DESSERT EITHER “HEALTHY” OR “OF NUTRITIONAL VALUE.” Anybody with ANY SENSE AT ALL absolutely KNOWS that. These desserts, however, are BETTER CHOICES.

  3. if i am going to eat ice cream i would rather eat halo
    i like the 240 calorie pints and i split it into 3. i eat healthy and this is my cheat. my personal favorite is mint chip. i have tried other low calorie treats and this one is the best by far. i use very little sugar only stevia.

  4. I don’t think Halo tastes good. If I’m going to have an ice cream treat, I’d rather budget the calories for a good quality, favorite ice cream and only have it once in a while rather than have an icky ice cream more often. Quality and taste matter.

  5. I once tried their lemon flavor. It was quite tasty but Within a half hour I got a terrible stomach ache and gas pains. I looked up erythritol and read this on the LiveStrong website “Erythritol can cause side effects such as diarrhea, headache, and stomachache in some people and/or when consumed in large doses.” I only had a half cup! No Halo Top for me!

  6. I usually like th Nutrition Action Health letter, but this article was just plain silly and misleading! No revelation about the “diet” ice creams here…they are not a
    Health food…shocking!!

  7. The sugars in Halo Top CAN be a digestive issue. I’ve eaten a pint and felt some effects. It DOES hit that sweet spot though for meager calories and sugar. I’ve added nuts, fruit etc. to fill it out. Of course it’s not health food and not trying to be. Just a better choice for those of us that want it. I think it’s a good brand!

  8. This article was way too harsh on Halo Top products. For those of use who love ice cream, but don’t want to eat all the sugar and fat in the regular stuff, Halo Top offers an exceptionally good alternative. No one is trying to say it’s a health-food — but plenty of us appreciate the fact that it’s a terrific alternative to full-fat ice cream. It’s about time, too! I FINALLY have something I can splurge on once in a while that doesn’t totally ruin me for the day.

  9. Wow! You are really trying hard to make a case against Halo, when in fact you should make the case, if you’re going to eat ice cream for dessert Halo fits the “best bites” category.
    It is, indeed, a disappointment to find this sensationalistic style in Nutrition Action.

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