Halo Top: Is It Worth It?

Halo Top: Is It Worth It?

An analysis of the ingredients and claims of Halo Top ice cream.

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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Living With Celiac Disease

Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention; I even had adults tell me this too.


At the age of eight, I experienced horrible stomach pain, weakness, and illness. I was doubled over, and I didn't know why I'd felt so horrible. It wasn't the kind of pain you feel when you have the flu, or when you have cramps. It was a different kind of pain, but I knew it wasn't good. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me either. The only thing my dad had suspected was that perhaps I was intolerant to gluten.

For those who don't know, gluten is found in many food items that primarily contain grains or are often high in carbs. This isn't to say that all foods with carbs or grains have gluten, but they oftentimes do. Gluten is a protein within wheat that is the primary ingredient in cake, pizza, and bread. It is even sometimes in food that you would never suspect, like Twizzlers. It's also synonymous with ingredients like monosodium glutamate, malt, barley…etc.

I tell you that to tell you this:
At eight years old, I was told I had celiac disease. Which just means that my body is unable to digest and break down gluten, preventing me from absorbing vital nutrients.

My dad found out later in his life that he was gluten intolerant after many years of breakouts and complications. He had ascertained the idea that maybe I had also carried this gene and that was why I was in so much pain. Each time we digest gluten, our body attacks our small intestine, killing off what is called villi. My body was in so much pain because I was eating gluten.

After taking gluten products completely out of my diet, I felt 100% better. I was no longer in intense pain, I no longer had rashes, and all other symptoms went away. From then on, I had to watch what I ate, as if I was on a life-long diet.

As you can imagine, this was a ton of responsibility for me as an eight-year-old because I now had to constantly check every label there ever was, make sure that the food I was eating at school didn't have any sort of gluten in it, and I was also now a novelty at school. Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention. I even had adults tell me this too. They thought I was being hypersensitive.

I had to remember everywhere I went that I had to avoid eating gluten. Do you know how hard that is? It's in so many things. When I was young, not many people knew what celiac disease was. There weren't any gluten-free alternatives out there, so I was eating lots of rice, beans, and salad. I had a very limited food palette. I could no longer have the amazing foods I enjoyed like pizza, garlic rolls, cake, or even ravioli. Although it seems odd, ravioli and spaghetti-o's were my favorite then and I was no longer able to have them. It crushed me.

Having celiac disease was hard as a child because when I went to birthday parties, I couldn't eat most of the food they provided. I couldn't enjoy birthday cake or the pizza that most people ordered. I always had to bring my own food and explain why every time. It seems silly, but I often felt left out. Not being 'normal' because of my allergy made me feel like an outcast. You'd think you wouldn't feel like that, but it generated a lot of those negative feelings because I was a burden to feed due to my allergy.

Fast forward 13 years later, I still have to be careful of what I eat. Celiac disease is something I'll never get rid of. It's a part of my DNA, and there's a good chance my kids will also carry the gene and deal with the same issues.

I don't usually tell people I have celiac disease because I can sometimes get away with having trace amounts of gluten and still be mostly okay. But when I accidentally eat gluten, I pay the consequences. There are times when I accidentally eat it and feel like I can't get out of bed because of the stomach pain. I joke that the pain is so horrible that I feel like I'm dying, but it really does feel severe in the moment.

Being gluten intolerant, I spend quite a bit more money on groceries because I have to find gluten-free food and it's way more expensive. Because gluten-free became a fad diet, more places began offering alternatives and it was easier for me to find foods I liked. When I find gluten-free goodies that aren't normally gluten-free in restaurants, you bet my eyes light up! It's exciting but also a relief.

Being gluten-free has oftentimes felt like a curse, but it's also a blessing sometimes.

The upside to this is that researchers are looking into developing a pill that will help those with celiac disease digest gluten easier and/or subside symptoms completely. So hopefully soon, I'll be able to eat the foods I once loved without feeling ill.

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