Why the Halo Top Diet Is ‘Dangerous’

What would you eat if you could eat anything you wanted with zero consequences and maybe even a little weight loss as a welcome bonus? If you’re like us, it would probably look something like this: ice cream and more ice cream.

A pint of Halo Top pistachio
This “healthy” ice cream really is too good to be true. (Photo: Halo Top Creamery via Instagram)

One brand is claiming that you can, selling pints of ice cream that only set you back by about 240 calories, depending on the flavor. That’s about one-fifth as many calories as generic brands. It also has only one-sixth of the fat content, one-thirteenth as much sugar, and boasts a whopping 25 percent more protein than typical ice cream. But most importantly, it actually tastes like ice cream.

Created by a small L.A. creamery, Halo Top is marketed as a “healthy ice cream.” And to the untrained eye, it seems like something of a miracle. Of course, it’s gained a cult-like following of people eating nothing but Halo Top, even including Yahoo editors, who attempted a three-day Halo Top diet with a goal of losing weight.

But if you haven’t heard of Halo Top, don’t get too excited, and definitely don’t ditch all of your regular foods for ice cream. “I would definitely not recommend eating Halo Top ice cream every day, especially more than one [serving],” says holistic nutritionist and wellness coach Dorit Jaffe of Whole Healthy Glow. “Also, just because products are marketed as being healthier than something else, for example Halo Top being ‘healthier’ than full fat ice cream, doesn’t mean you need to eat this every day. You can indulge from time to time, but overeating any food, healthy or not healthy, isn’t beneficial for the health of your body.”

And all of that protein with such low sugar content? It’s not as healthy as you might think. “Halo Top’s emphasis on protein is a marketing ploy,” says Jaffe. “Whey protein [the ingredient in Halo Top] can be a good source of protein, but the ingredients in Halo Top are highly processed and sweetened with chemical sugar substitutes, which don’t have a high glycemic index but are not beneficial for your digestive system.”

You may think that chemical, low-calorie sugar substitutes are preferable because of the misconception that they are less likely to cause weight gain, but this isn’t the case. “These kinds of chemicals can kill healthy gut flora. You might notice symptoms like bloating, gas, indigestion, or stomach pains after eating this ice cream,” says Jaffe.

For the days you want the whole pint and the cone????

A post shared by Halo Top Creamery (@halotopcreamery) on Feb 23, 2017 at 1:15pm PST

Also, studies have shown that low-calorie sweeteners, even “natural” ones like stevia and erythritol, both used in Halo Top, can actually cause more weight gain in the long run than just eating sugar. This is in part because when your body tastes sweetness without the calories to go with it, it negatively impacts appetite control mechanisms, causing greater food cravings.

Even Halo Top CEO Justin Woolverton agrees that Halo Top can be addictive. “Honestly, if you’re the type of person who can take a bite of ice cream and put it back, you’re a better person than I am,” Woolverton told the New York Post. “Most people sure as hell aren’t eating only a quarter of a pint.”

Still not convinced? If you eat too much Halo Top at once, you might not be able to eat it at all later on. “Your body can develop intolerances to the foods that you eat all the time,” says Jaffe. “That’s why it’s important to include a variety of real whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and animal protein. Emphasis on the quality of the food you’re including in your diet is important. Halo Top ice cream is a prime example of a manmade food that’s marketed as being as beneficial as whole foods, but this isn’t the case.”

But if you want to eat a lot of ice cream with little sugar and high protein, you’re not at a loss. “You can make your own banana nice-cream and add your protein powder of choice to it and blend different fruits in this as well,” says Jaffe. “This is a healthier and even more flavorful substitute.”

A bowl of banana
Banana nice-cream has no weird ingredients. (Photo: Whole Healthy Glow)

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