The ice cream that could help you lose weight

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Want to eat a whole tub of ice cream without the guilt? A new brand has hit the supermarket shelves and fitness fanatics are going crazy for it.

Halo Top ice cream was founded by Los Angeles lawyer Justin Woolverton in 2012, but has only recently arrived in Australian stores.

The brand’s major selling point is that a whole tub of the low-sugar, low-fat dessert contains between just 280 and 360 calories, which is about a third of the calories in other ice creams, like Ben & Jerry’s.

The calorie count is stamped in bold numbers on the front of each tub, along with a side note about its protein content. There are also vegan and soy free options available.

Halo Top ice cream, however, isn’t cheap, being sold in supermarkets at $10 for a 473mL tub – almost double the price of a two litre tub of Bulla’s vanilla ice cream.

Yet, both Coles and Woolworths told news.com.au that the brand has quickly become one of their most popular ice cream products.

But just how healthy can ice cream really be? Science journalist, Shane Snow, in an article for GQ magazine wrote about eating nothing but Halo Top for 10 days – and loosing 4.5kg in doing so.

However, founder Justin Woolverton told the Financial Times: “We never would recommend anybody do that. We didn’t even know that article was coming.”

Susie Burrell, one of Australia’s leading dietitians, said that as far as ice cream goes, Halo Top is a pretty healthy option.

“Nutritionally, there’s nothing wrong with them,” she said. “They’re lower in sugar and fat, they’re very sound nutritionally. It allows people to have their tasty treat in a lower calorie format.”

What you’re paying for with that $10 is seemingly years of research and development.

“They are using the best of modern day food technology and ingredients to create products that have the same taste and flavours with significantly less calories,” Ms Burrell said.

The best part of this ice cream, she said, is that even if you do eat the whole tub, it won’t be disastrous for your health.

“Because you’re not getting those stimulants from the sugar, from a weight control perspective it won’t impact your weight and trigger overeating,” she added.

“It’s good for portion control. The portion is limiting so you can’t really overeat it.”

Halo Top’s Australian CEO, Mez Jamali, says the company has really benefited from the growing global consumer trend towards healthy eating.

“More and more people are choosing to buy healthier products. We spent a long time in the early days crafting an ice cream base and formula … by using organic stevia as a sweetener,” he told news.com.au.

“Everyone loves ice cream but before Halo Top they weren’t able to incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle without feeling a little guilty.”

Ice cream competition heats up

Healthy, but more expensive, tubs of ice cream are becoming increasingly popular with consumers in Australia, according to a report from IBIS World about the local ice cream market.

“Ice cream manufacturers … are likely to continue ramping up production of low-fat, low-sugar, soy and organic ice cream to appeal to a wider range of consumers,” the report said.

It also added that consumers are willing to fork out a lot of cash for a premium, “healthier” product.

“Affluent consumers with more income to spend on non-essential items such as ice cream are likely to make their purchase decisions according to quality and taste rather than price, which benefits premium ice cream manufacturers,” the report states.

“This segment has been the fastest growing in the industry as operators have introduced new premium ice creams targeted at consumers with more disposable income.”

Even Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Streets ice cream, is claimed to be introducing its own low-calorie ice cream to compete with Halo Top.

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