A friend of mine turned me onto Halo Top ice cream recently and I was raving about it to some folks at the gym and I was surprised that they hadn’t heard of it before. Halo Top burst onto the scene last year and it’s promise of low calorie/carb ice cream that contains a bit of protein seems like the stuff dreams are made of. In fact a writer from GQ magazine went on a “Halo Top” diet and lost weight. Others have also tried a “Halo Top Diet” with varied results.
Halo Tops aren’t centered around a fad diet however. What they do promise is a better alternative for ice cream. My dietary kryptonite is probably ice cream. I can go without beer, fast food, and even pizza for long stretches of time just fine. But invite me over and offer me anything other than plain vanilla ice cream and I fold like a cheap deck of cards. As you can imagine when I first heard of Halo Top is sounded too good to be true and I was skeptical.
So how was it? Well upon hearing the gospel of Halo Top at the gym I went to my nearest grocery store and purchased one of every flavor they had. Chocolate, Mint Chip, Birthday Cake, and Strawberry. That night I devoured an entire pint of Mint Chip for the purposes of research and have eaten each flavor since then. Flavor wise mint chip was a little disappointing…plus I prefer my mint chip with that totally fake green color. Strawberry however was fantastic and actual organic strawberries are used as an ingredient.
So whats the scoop? I’ve tried other so-called “healthier” ice creams before and they were pretty disappointing. Many just tasted like watered down ice cream or had some weird artificial sweetener aftertaste. I’m happy to report that Halo Top has none of this. It tastes like real ice cream. And it really is lower in carbs and calories than regular ice cream. An entire pint only has 240 – 360 calories depending on the flavor. For comparison, that’s ¼ of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and ⅕ of Häagen-Dazs. Halo Top also has ⅙ the fat and carbs and 25% more protein than typical ice cream. I keep eating it and hoping I’m not some schmuck with the wool pulled over my eyes like in that non-fat yogurt episode of Seinfeld.
The best part about Halo Top is….it tastes like ice cream. It doesn’t taste like diet ice cream. It tastes like real ice cream. The only difference I could tell from Halo Top and regular ice cream is the texture. It’s not vastly different but it’s also not the same creamy texture of standard ice cream. I found that this varied with some of the flavors, strawberry had a creamier texture than mint chip did. I would describe the texture as similar to the type of snow that falls but isn’t good for making snow balls. But if I wasn’t looking for something to differentiate it from regular ice cream I may not have even noticed this at all.
So what makes Halo Top the holy grail (thus far) of desserts? It’s the ingredients, As an example: Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, white chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, milk proteins, lactose, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.
So…not exactly paleo in case you were wondering. Essentially Halo Top is able to produce low calorie and carb numbers because it weighs less than the regular ice cream, hence the lack of “creaminess”. This is achieved by fluffing up the product with carob gum, guar gum and even vegetable glycerin. Eggs, milk, and milk proteins provide the protein in the ice cream much like how they would be added to protein bar ingredients.
The biggest issues with the ingredients is the use of artificial sweeteners such as stevia and erythritol which can cause digestive issues, particularly in high amounts. Also Halo Top doesn’t specify whether the erythritol they use is non-GMO or not.
So whats the bottom line? It’s not Paleo friendly and I certainly wouldn’t recommend a Halo Top diet, however this stuff is fantastic and it has replaced regular ice cream as my guilty pleasure. Also I can feel less guilty about it. Other ice creams may boast about lower calories, however they always list it per serving…Halo Tops proudly proclaims the calorie count for an entire pint on the outside of their box. Because in reality…who doesn’t finish a pint of ice cream after opening it?
If you find these in your grocery store definitely check them out. You can see where they are available by checking here. And if there is none being sold near you, you can always order some from Ice Cream Source and have it shipped directly to you. Unfortunately my local area only stocks a few of the flavors so there are many that I have been dying to try but haven’t been able to (lookin at you chocolate mocha chip) so availability may be an issue.
I was in no way compensated or provided any products for this review…however I’m not opposed to free products so if you want to send me some, or if Halo Top is reading this and wants to send some ice cream my way I would be glad to do a part 2.