In breaking foodie news, Halo Top ice cream has now become the top–selling ice cream pint in U.S. grocery stores. This should come as no surprise to fans who frequent Fresh Grocer’s frozen aisle just to see that their favorite flavor is sold out. Again.

Founded in 2012, Halo Top boasts a real ice cream taste for a fraction of the calories. Last month, the company announced seven new additions to their regular lineup, as well as seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Pie that will be released later this year. Traditional brands like Breyers are also getting in on the action by launching their own light ice cream pints. The success of Halo Top reflects a bigger health trend as American consumers are making more diet–conscious decisions.

Junk food alternatives, like Halo Top, exemplify the health halo effect, a marketing tactic that makes consumers perceive food as wholesome. But not all of these healthy junk foods are living up to the hype. Products such as Lenny & Larry Cookies, sold at Fresh Grocer and Wawa, have come under fire for misleading nutritional labels. While a single packaged cookie from the company boasts 16 grams of protein, it also has as many calories as four Toll House chocolate chip cookies.

This has sparked a debate in the health community as to whether the healthy versions are actually a better dietary choice. With the total calories proudly embossed on the front, Halo Top would seem to earn a nutritionist’s stamp of approval. But is Halo Top Ice Cream too good to be true?

With a fraction of the fat found in traditional ice cream, the brand is able to keep all their pints under 400 calories. However, this is also the reason you raid the fridge, hungry for more, even after smashing a full pint in one sitting. Fat provides satiation, which is why many diet products can leave your stomach grumbling and cause you to eat more.

In fact, the luxurious taste of real, unadulterated ice cream might be the healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth. According to studies,  “The higher levels of fat in whole milk products may make us feel fuller, faster. And as a result, the thinking goes, we may end up eating less.” However, this is only true if you have the willpower to stick to a puny, half–cup portion. With many of Ben & Jerry’s flavors like Americone Dream and Phish Food totaling over 1,000 calories, this can leave you feeling more like a Chunky Monkey if you finish the container.

Halo Top might not be a total angel, but it makes scraping the bottom a little less sinful.


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