Product Reviews: Arctic Zero and Halo Top Ice Cream

Lately, it seems one of the most frequent questions we get as dietitians is regarding the “healthier” ice cream options at the grocery store! We recently shared our love for Yasso Greek Yogurt Ice cream bars on Instagram {follow us on IG if you aren’t already}, but lately, we have also been asked about other brands of ice cream on the market! Two of the most popular types available are Arctic Zero and Halo Top. We decided to compare the two and put them through a taste test!

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Arctic Zero

Ingredients: Arctic Zero’s website details the ingredients found in the majority of their products. Among them are whey protein, ‘natural stabilizers,’ monk fruit, organic cane sugar and fiber sources such as chicory root and sugarcane fiber.

We previously talked about monk fruit, and its popularity as a sweetener in many products on the market. Although it is natural in its original form, monk fruit is processed like Truvia to create the sweetener product that we consume.

Nutritional makeup:

For the creamy ice cream option (such as the peanut butter chocolate): 1/2 cup serving provides 35 calories, 0 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar and 3 grams protein. For the chunky ice cream option (such as the cool mint chip): 1/2 cup serving provides 75 calories, 2 grams total fat (1 gm saturated fat), 11 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar, and 3 grams protein.

Other qualities:

Because most of the Arctic Zero flavors do not contain actual milk, they are a lactose free option for anyone that may deal with lactose intolerance. Many of the flavors are also gluten free and vegetarian.

Taste:

I let my husband be the first taste tester since he did not know about either ice cream option ahead of this taste test. He found the Arctic Zero option to have a different texture than regular ice cream, more like sorbet. The Arctic Zero ice cream’s flavor that we tried did not stand out as much as the Halo Top. However, we only tried one flavor (chocolate peanut butter). My local Whole Foods did not carry any of the chunky ice cream options which I have heard are more flavorful.

Halo Top

Ingredients:

Although each Halo Top ice cream contains some differing ingredients based on the flavor, there are a few that are common for all of the products. Each flavor does contain milk and cream to provide a richness that Arctic Zero may lack (in my opinon). As the source of sweetener, Halo Top uses organic stevia and erythritol.

Erythritol is a type of sugar substitute part of a subcategory called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are not completely digestible and absorbed in the body which means it provides less calories per serving; however, can also be hard for the body to process leading to gastric distress. Luckily, erythritol is less harsh on the body making it a better choice than other sugar alcohol options. In fact, excess erythritol that is not absorbed by the small intestine is excreted in the urine. In extremely large doses, erythritol may cause nausea but it’s not likely if you are just having one serving.

Nutritional makeup:

Each flavor differs slightly in its nutritional facts. The birthday cake flavor in a 1/2 cup serving provides 70 calories, 2 grams total fat (1 gm saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 5 grams sugar alcohol and 6 grams protein.

Other qualities:

All of the Halo Top flavors are certified gluten free.

Taste:

My husband found this brand to be his favorite of the two kinds. The creamier texture really makes you feel like you are having ice cream. The flavor was much more substantial with Halo Top as well; however, it may also be related to the flavor of Arctic Zero we got.

Final opinion:

For a special treat, Arctic Zero and/or Halo Top are both great options without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle too much. Both brands have sweeteners in them that still go through processing making it hard to say that one is “more healthy” or “better” than the other. To me, it comes down to taste, and in my opinion, Halo Top wins in that category! Just like with any ice cream, it’s important to still monitor your portion – a serving size can quickly become more than 1/2 cup if you are not careful. In fact, a whole pint of Halo Top would provide 20 grams sugar and 20 grams sugar alcohol, not to mention 60 grams of carbohydrate (or the equivalent to 4 slices of bread!)

Talk to us! Have you tried these brands? What are your thoughts?

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