Is there such a thing as healthy ice cream?
What if a company told you that they make a healthy icecream-like dessert – and that it’s perfectly fine to eat a whole pint?
That’s what Arctic Zero and Halo Top seem to suggest you can do, according to Consumer Reports.
“Our love of ice cream runs deep, like eat-the-entire-pint deep,” says Arctic Zero’s package (even though it’s technically a frozen dessert because it doesn’t contain enough milk solids to meet the definition of real ice cream). And the website for Halo Top, which does qualify as ice cream, exclaims, “Save the bowl. You’re going to want the whole pint.”
Unable to resist, Consumer Reports reviewed Vanilla Maple and Purely Chocolate from Arctic Zero and Vanilla Bean and Chocolate from Halo Top for nutrition and taste.
Why you shouldn’t eat the whole pint
One ½-cup serving of Arctic Zero claims just 35 calories, 0 grams of fat and 5 grams -- about 1 teaspoon-worth -- of sugars. Halo Top claims 60 calories, 2 grams of fat and 4 grams of sugars per serving.
When you compare that to a ½-cup of Breyers Original, which has 130 calories, 7 grams of fat and about 14 grams of both natural and added sugars, you can see why people might be tempted to overindulge. But that doesn’t mean you should.
For one thing, each pint has four servings, so if you ate the
whole container you would end up with 150 calories with Arctic Zero and 240 calories with Halo Top.
In addition, Halo supplements its dessert with 5 grams of “prebiotic fiber” per serving, so eat the
whole pint and you get 20 grams -- enough to possibly cause bloating, constipation or diarrhea. (Consumer Reports reached out to the company several times to find out exactly what “prebiotic fiber” is and why it’s added, but got no response.)
Still highly processed
These desserts don’t
contain high-fructose corn syrups, hydrogenated oils, trans fats or ingredients that some people want to avoid, such as artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose. But they are still processed foods, containing the thickeners and stabilizers guar and xanthan gums (Arctic Zero) and carob and guar gums (Halo Top) as well as the
calorie-free sweeteners monk fruit concentrate (Arctic Zero) and erythritol and stevia (Halo Top).
The taste didn’t make anyone scream for more
To top it all off, Consumer Reports’ sensory panelists weren’t sure they would want to eat a whole pint, anyway.
Sampling the treats blind, they didn’t think that Arctic Zero tasted much like ice cream, mentioning an artificial butterscotch candy flavor with the Vanilla Maple and an unidentifiable “off-note” along with the mild cocoa flavor with the Purely Chocolate.
Halo Top, which is churned with real milk, cream and eggs, fared
somewhat better. The panelists said that the vanilla flavor had a subtle dairy impression with vanilla bean flavor and that the chocolate had a good cocoa taste. Still, they said it had a chalky texture and lacked the fullness of regular ice cream.