As parents, it is no secret that we try to serve our children healthy foods. Unfortunately, as the health food market grows, many food companies are making extremely dubious claims about the “health” benefits of their products.
Recently, many nutritionists are starting to challenge big claims made by food and beverage companies. One example of this is Halo Top ice cream, which is an ice cream that is marketed as a healthier alternative to other famous full-fat dairy brands.
So considering that 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in frozen desserts, Halo Top has been the answer for many parents looking to satisfy their children’s sweet tooth cravings without compromising a balanced diet. However, nutritionists believe that serving Halo Top regularly may be a bad choice.
While Halo Top has been in the frozen food aisle for six years, it has only recently climbed to nationwide fame in the past year and a half. In fact, the brand just recently became the best selling pint of ice cream in U.S. grocery stores, blowing established brands such as Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs out of the frozen water. Last year, overall Halo Top sales climbed to $66 million, which represented a 2,500% increase from the year before.
Nutritionists believe that part of the reason why Halo Top has reached exponential success is that the brand advertises itself as a healthy alternative to other frozen desserts. Halo Top CEO Justin Woolverton told Fortune that Halo Top is a healthy alternative to ice cream simply because it contains less calories and sugar, while boasting more protein than other dairy counterparts.
But nutritionists are quick to point out that Halo Top creates its concoctions by using the zero-calorie sweetener Steviaalong with organic cane sugar — which, at the end of the day, is still sugar. Eating it in copious amounts is unhealthy. Not only that, nutritionists point out that the brand appears to advocate for overeating by writing on their pints the words, “stop when you get to the bottom.”
Last but not least, Sharon Akabas, the associate director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, points out that these health claims are untrue simply because the word “healthy” doesn’t actually mean much.
“It’s not “standardized or regulated by any official or even knowledgeable organization,” explains Akabas to Fortune. “Because of that, anything can be marketed as healthy.”
So, while there are no doubts about the fact that Halo Top may be a better alternative to satisfying an ice cream craving, nutritionists advise parents to beware of the additives and preservatives. And no matter how bad that craving is, do not eat the entire pint.
Easier said than done, we think.