The Skinny on the Scoop

Food Health Nutrition
holiday ice cream
Peppermint ice cream served in a glass bowl. Displayed with candy canes on wooden rustic table. Sparkling Christmas tree lights background.

Is there such a thing as a “healthy” ice cream?

We asked one of our resident dieticians, Leah Gates, with Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, for the skinny on protein-packed “healthy” ice creams flooding supermarket freezers. But are they really healthy? Before you dig in, take a closer look at what’s in this sweet treat.

Halo Top ice cream is all the rage since launching in the summer of 2012. Halo Top contains about 40% more protein with 43% less calories than traditional ice creams. Marketing itself as a “healthy” dessert, its’ become one of the best-selling ice cream brands in the US. It also touts containing 12g of fiber, which is 40% of your daily recommended intake. This product has been attracting health enthusiasts for years due thanks to an entire pint containing only 240 calories*.

While normal ice cream includes sugar and fat for flavor, Halo Top substitutes these ingredients with non-digestible ingredients like erythritol and stevia. These sugar substitutes have zero calories and are 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. The addition of prebiotic fiber acts as a substitute for fat giving Halo Top its creamy texture. Research has shown that excessive intake of non-digestible ingredients may lead to GI discomfort, so err on the side of caution, and forego consuming an entire pint.

Now that the Holidays are approaching, Halo Top has released new flavors like Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread House which may allow you to indulge without packing on the pounds. Although Halo Top is a great substitute, consuming large amounts of this dessert is not recommended as part of a healthy diet. So enjoy, but in moderation.

*Nutrition facts obtained for Halo Top Vanilla on https://www.halotop.com/.

Serving size = ½ cup Breyer’s French Vanilla Halo Top Vanilla
Total Calories per serving 140 calories 60g
Total Fat 7g 2g
Saturated Fat 4.5g 1g
Carbohydrate 17g 13g
Protein 2g 5g
Fiber 0g 3g
Ingredients Milk, cream, corn syrup, sugar, egg yolks, Whey, vegetable gums (guar, carob bean), natural flavor, Mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 80 (emulsifier), annatto (for color) Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, vanilla extract, vanilla beans, sea salt, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

 

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