Ice cream better left as indulgent treat, not trendy diet staple
April 11, 2017
Halo Top Ice Cream first caught my eye when it appeared all over Instagram. The packaging is beautifully retro with accents of gold. Its signature metallic accent and the logo of a melting scoop of ice cream makes for the perfect Instagram aesthetic.
The packaging was not only a selling point for me, but the low caloric content and high protein value had people all over the internet raving. Forbes even wrote about this ice cream company.
I was pretty hesitant about the taste of this diet ice cream. Usually when something is low in calories, it is also low in taste. I naturally have an aversion to light or diet versions of desserts, as the concept of such an atrocity completely goes against my moral codes.
I firmly and unyieldingly believe that dessert should be decadent and wildly bad for you. That is literally the whole point of eating dessert, no? If I have already decided to commit to eating something with sugar in it, and I usually will always commit to that, I am going all in, no excuses.
I am utterly perplexed and often irritated when people try to modify my favorite meal of the day into a healthier version of itself. Why anyone would elect to use less butter, sugar or chocolate in something is far beyond my levels of comprehension. What is the point, I want to ask, of even deciding to eat dessert if what you are eating has half the fat it is supposed to have in it?
As much as I am dedicated to my pursuit of all that is full of sugar, even I will admit that this kind of lifestyle is a difficult one to maintain. Instead of cutting out ice cream completely, which as one of my favorite food groups, would be hard to do, I thought I would challenge myself to give diet ice cream an open-minded try.
I stood in front of the variety of flavors that were haphazardly stacked inside of the giant, glass-fronted freezers at the grocery store and set myself some parameters. I had to choose a brand that had just a few ingredients, had a natural or organic aspect to it and was "healthy" in some way. With visions of the many Halo Top Instagram pictures I had seen dancing around in my mind’s eye, I could already tell what I would be drawn to.
I selected Halo Top Strawberry, which, with its shiny gold lid and contrasting shades of pink, was the prettiest container in the whole freezer. This flavor boasted 280 calories a pint, 20 grams of protein, low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat and no synthetic growth hormones in the dairy used to make it. I hit the challenge I set for myself and then some, I had thought. I only bought one flavor because it was almost $6 for the tiny container and I am not a millionaire.
At home, I rescued the pink pint from my freezer, lifted the lid, ripped backed the white paper seal and plunged in a spoon. The first bite was icy. I noticed there was a lack of the creaminess that one gets from regular ice cream, and the taste did not improve from there.
Along with the crystallized texture of the ice cream was a faint flavor that was reminiscent of strawberry due only to the color of the treat and the faint fruity traces still left on my tongue. The flavor was basically bland, as if whoever made this had only ever had eaten a store-bought strawberry that was very out of season.
I ate a few more mouthfuls, and then I did something very unusual for me: I slid the mostly-full, golden-topped container back into the freezer.
Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.