Halo Top: Is It Worth It?

Halo Top: Is It Worth It?

An analysis of the ingredients and claims of Halo Top ice cream.
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This past summer, Halo Top ice cream hit the shelves with a bang. In the midst of 90-degree weather, people were cracking open the visually-pleasing cartons of ice cream and eating the whole thing in one sitting.

Halo Top recently came out with a slew of new flavors including Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cup, and Chocolate Cookie Dough. Before, it only offered basic flavors, such as Vanilla, Cake Batter, and Strawberry. More flavors means more options, an incentive that draws in more costumers.

So how does it compare to “normal” ice cream? According to their website, Halo Top offers ice cream with less sugar, less calories, and more protein. It achieves this by using stevia instead of sugar. The website mentions that stevia is an “all-natural sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes.” The website even compares the nutrition information of Halo Top ice creams with other competing brands.

Each carton is four pints, and each pint ranges between 240 and 360 calories. This is the trick; you can’t sit down and eat an entire carton and think “oh, I’m being so healthy.” In order to only eat the 240 calories that the ice cream displays on the carton, you have to eat it in 4 separate sittings.

As for protein and fiber, the ice cream consists of the ingredient “prebiotic fiber,” which is an added fiber that helps your good bacteria grow. See Prebiotin for the difference between probiotics and prebiotics.

Now back to sugar. There is a bit of a controversy surrounding the safety of stevia. While stevia boasts about being an all-natural sugar, it is actually a processed sugar, just like corn syrup. And just like how corn syrup comes from a plant, corn, stevia comes from a stevia leaf. Stevia actually tastes much sweeter than sugar, which is why it can be used in small amounts. But unlike sugar, stevia has zero calories, which is why it’s used as a healthy substitute.

Halo Top lists “erythritol” instead of sugar in their ingredient list. According to their website, “erythritol” is “technically a sugar alcohol.” Halo Top isn’t wrong, exactly, but what it neglects to explain is that this sugar alcohol is actually processed with corn. So if you’re eating stevia because it is “all natural,” that’s not actually the case. If you’re allergic or sensitive to processed sugars, then stevia might not be for you.

The FDA considers stevia safe, but that’s not saying much; the FDA also approves of formaldehyde in beauty products, such as nail polish and hair-styling products. However, unlike other processed ingredients, there are benefits to stevia. Unlike sugar, stevia does not spike blood sugar or cause bloating, as Halo Top mentions on their website. I can attest to this. I have tried two different flavors, Birthday Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. After finishing a pint’s worth, I did not have that gross, heavy feeling that normal ice cream usually causes. Both tasted true to their flavors, and neither gave me a sugar high or a sugar crash.

Halo Top’s texture is different than normal ice cream, and it tastes a little different, but it’s not a bad different. My verdict is to treat Halo Top as you would any other dessert: eat it in small portions. Less is more. An occasional pint of Halo Top won’t kill you any more than an occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s will. But Halo Top might just make you feel better for indulging in dessert.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Collins

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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I Wasn't Always Lactose Intolerant, But Now That I Am, I Can Confirm — It Sucks

I see all of my friends eating ice cream and drinking bubble until their heart's content, but I can't say the same thing about myself.

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The thing is that I wasn't always lactose intolerant. In fact, before college, I was able to eat as much ice cream and mac and cheese as I wanted, and I was able to drink a glass of milk and have milk with cereal. But ever since coming to college, for some reason, my body decided that it was time to start rejecting dairy, and it picked the wrong time to do so.

Last semester, I went to get breakfast, and I decided to get a bowl of Fruit Loops, and I poured some milk into it. While I was eating, there was no problem, and I went about everything as I normally would, but it was when I went back to my dorm that my stomach started feeling...not so right. My stomach was hurting and I felt bloated. I was hoping that it was only because the cereal may have been old or the utensils that I was using may not have been cleaned well enough, so I stayed optimistic (for too long, in all honesty).

The following weeks, I had cereal a few more times, and I also ate some ice cream and mac and cheese, and every time, the same thing happened, and I had to convince myself that deep down, I knew what this meant. I sort of panicked because it was all so sudden. I was perfectly able to tolerate dairy right before college started, but now, I can't even handle a cup of ice cream.

I have to constantly monitor how much dairy I consume because if I consume more than my maximum amount, it's not going to end up well. Sometimes, I see my friends' iced milk tea whenever we're on the train, and I envy them because I try to avoid anything with dairy when I'm taking any sort of transportation. I think the worst part is that every time I pass by the Chatime truck, I have to fight the temptation of getting a cup of boba, especially during this time of year on the warmer days. I always walk by the crowd huddled around the cart, wishing I was them. It sounds kind of sad because it is.

Now, I may be lactose intolerant, but that doesn't mean that I don't consume dairy at all. There are days when I get out of chemistry lab, needing to treat myself to something for standing and stressing out for three hours straight, so I order myself a large Jasmine green milk tea, completely ignoring the consequences of my actions. There are even nights after dinner where I'll get two or three cups of ice cream, and I'm not going to lie, I regret it afterward half of the time.

My body may not thank me, but quite frankly, I can't go forever without eating dairy because...do I even have to say it?

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