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The Hunt for "Healthy" Ice Cream

by Casey Douglass

Photograph courtesy of

Ice cream - n., a tasty, creamy and sweet treat loved by your taste buds and loathed by your waistline.

Ice cream is a junk food essential. It is the founding father of milkshakes, the perfect summer’s day snack and the picturesque scoop sitting atop a warm brownie or piece of pie. Don’t even get me started on ice cream cake.

However, ice cream is what we would call “energy-dense”––side note, energy-dense is a bit of a euphemism for “high calorie.” Additionally, it’s often filled with ingredients that can cause major upsets in consumers’ digestive systems. Therefore, due to this conglomerate of factors, ice cream has often been deemed a no-fly zone for anyone looking to steer clear of intolerances or sugary snacks.

But now, as a byproduct of the growing emphasis on leading a healthy lifestyle, health conscious and new wave ice cream brands have popped up all across the nation. I’m choosing to define “health conscious” as the following:

  1. Lower calorie than traditional ice cream.

  2. Fewer grams of sugar than traditional ice cream.

The four most notable brands of new wave ice cream are Halo Top, Enlightened, Breyers Delights and Arctic Zero. Each of these brands are different, and I’ve made it my personal journey to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. Below, I’ve listed some fast facts and thoughts on each brand. From here, I hope you’ll be able to find the ice cream brand that best suites you. Happy ice cream eating!

Halo Top

● Calories (Per Pint): Between 240 and 360

● Grams of Sugar/Protein (Per Pint): 20/20

● Flavors: 25

● Positives: Gluten-free, uses stevia, creamy texture and realistic flavor, no synthetic growth hormones, some pints have delicious swirls/chunks and high in protein.

● Negatives: Uses erythritol (which can bother your stomach).

Arctic Zero

● Calories (Per Pint): Between 150 and 300

● Grams of Sugar/Protein (Per Pint): 20/12

● Flavors: 21

● Positives: Fat free, lactose free, gluten-free, no synthetic growth hormones, dairy within is kosher and GMO-free.

● Negatives: Icier texture than traditional ice cream/lacks creaminess (reminiscent of sorbet). You can taste the artificial sweeteners.

Breyers Delights

● Calories (Per Pint): Between 260 and 330

● Grams of Sugar/Protein (Per Pint): 21/21

● Flavors: 4

● Positives: Uses stevia, creamy texture and realistic flavor/tastes like the real thing and is high in protein.

● Negatives: Uses erythritol (which, again, can bother your stomach), few and standard flavors, does not provide many accommodations for various allergies and is harder to find in stores.


● Calories: Between 240 and 400

● Grams of Sugar/Protein (Per Pint): 24/28

● Flavors: 22

● Positives: High protein, creamy texture, diverse and unique flavors

● Negatives: Sometimes criticized as overly sweet, highest caloric density and does not provide many accommodations for various allergies.

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