The cofounder of Halo Top says he eats the low-calorie, low-sugar ice cream every day, but he warns against the extreme diet that has people living off it
- Halo Top is a low-calorie, low-sugar ice cream that has developed a cult-like following.
- It soared to fame after a number of people started trying the "Halo Top Diet," eating nothing but the ice cream for up to 10 days.
- The company's President and COO warns against the extreme diet, but admits he eats Halo Top every day.
It's no understatement to say Halo Top has disrupted the ice cream market.
The low-calorie, low-sugar ice cream has an almost cult-like following, with health-conscious foodies obsessed with the fact that they can demolish a whole tub of sweet, creamy goodness for a mere 280 calories.
Halo Top, founded in 2012, is now available in 12 countries across the world, and became the best-selling ice cream in America in 2017. After launching in the UK last year, it has also swiftly become the country's fastes-growing luxury ice cream brand, according to IRI data cited by the company.
Spearheaded by two former lawyers, Justin Woolverton and Doug Bouton, Halo Top rose to even bigger fame in January 2016 when a GQ journalist decided to eat nothing but the ice cream for 10 days and write about it.
But as brilliant as the Halo Top Diet has been in terms of spreading the word about the brand, the founders warn against it.
"One the one hand, these articles are great publicity for us, on the other hand, it's not recommended," Halo Top's President and COO Doug Bouton told Business Insider.
Indeed, despite Halo Top being low-calorie and low-sugar, some nutrition experts have expressed concerns around it.
One professor of nutrition, Barry Popkin from the University of North Carolina, questioned the company's use of erythritol, the sugar-alcohol additive that Halo Top uses to replace sugar.
Too much erythritol could cause diarrhea and bloating, Popkin said, but Halo Top responded by saying that you'd have to eat three pints at once to be at risk.
"Nutritionally you're going to need more than Halo Top in your diet," Bouton added. "We think it's a great part of your diet and what you eat every day but we absolutely do not recommend that you go on the Halo Top Diet."
The difference is in the sugar and calories, not the protein
The brand promotes itself as "high protein," and indeed weighs in at around 20g of protein per tub, which is around the same amount as a protein shake or bar - but the idea is that a pint of ice cream is far more enjoyable to eat.
However, a full-fat ice cream such as Ben & Jerry's actually contains about the same amount of protein. The difference is that as Halo Top is so low in calories and sugar (about 32g of sugar and 300 calories per tub compared to around 100g and 1,150 calories in a pint of Ben & Jerry's), you can realistically eat a whole tub pretty regularly as part of a balanced diet.
"Nobody's going to eat 1,200 calories of Ben & Jerry's for the 20g of protein," Bouton said. "We've maintained the protein while bringing the calories and sugar sugar down. Ice cream has milk and milk has protein. We don't add protein powder. It's from milk, eggs, and cream, just like Ben & Jerry's."
The Halo Top founders originally launched the brand because they wanted to create a product that would reflect how people actually eat - a serving size of more than a scoop or two.
"Nutritionally it can become a staple for you, whether that means you eat a whole pint or half a pint every day," Bouton explained.
"It's one of those treats that, after dinner, if you're still a bit hungry, and you want something sweet, rather than killing your diet with Ben & Jerry's or Häagen-Dazs, you can have Halo Top instead and not feel terrible about it. And be satiated."
While Halo Top fans tend to consume it differently to other ice creams, with many eating it every day, that doesn't mean they never buy higher-calorie brands.
"The Ben & Jerry's, Häagen-Dazs, full-calorie customer, they're a customer of both brands, it's just that Halo Top becomes that everyday ice cream," Bouton explains. "Once every few weeks I'm still going to take down a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
"They still indulge every month or so, but for people who love ice cream, it gives them this every day or every week option, which they didn't have beforehand."
Bouton himself eats the ice cream every day.
"We're in constant flavour development so I eat way too much Halo Top," he said. "Every day. My favourite is peanut butter and jelly, it's amazing."