Halo Top, everyone’s favorite low-calorie ice cream, is back with something new to cool down with this summer: fruit pops!
The pops come in five flavors — strawberry, mango, coconut, lime and pineapple — running from 35 to 90 calories per pop, and Halo Top claims they have 55% to 65% less sugar than other leading fruit bars.
Halo Top sold about 9 million pints in 2016. In 2017, it sold about 74.5 million pints. It’s no understatement to say it’s had huge growth and has become wildly popular, so I was eager to sample this latest offering, especially as the days get longer and the weather warms up in much of the United States.
There are six pops to each box, and I was able to try all the flavors. I first sampled strawberry, ripping open the box to find each pop individually wrapped and ready to be eaten. I pulled one out and noticed it was a bright reddish pink, but not too bright, and had a natural look — meaning it didn’t look bizarrely bright like the frozen pops of my childhood.
I took a bite. The strawberry was cool, easy to bite into and had an underlying creaminess. It didn’t have that freezer-burn texture and taste that some low-calorie fruit pops I’ve tried have, and it had just the right amount of strawberry sweetness for an adult palate. It was refreshing and fruit-forward, and I liked it as a sweet, simple snack.
From there, it really came down to flavor preference for me. I found the coconut was also creamy and satisfying, and the mango had me feeling tropical vibes. Both the coconut and mango took me back to enjoying a fresh paleta at Señor Paleta in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (can you tell I need a vacation?).
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of pineapple-flavored things, but the taste of the pineapple fruit pop was generously pineapple-forward. The lime had an aftertaste I couldn’t quite place and didn’t really enjoy, so I took a look at the ingredients.
One of the ingredients for all of the pops was something called soluble corn fiber. It was the second ingredient for the lime pops (it was third in the mango and coconut flavors, after fruit puree and water). I wasn’t sure what that actually was, and if that was something I should be eating, so I reached out to Boston-based nutritionist Kristen Ciccolini, founder of Good Witch Kitchen, for her take.
“There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble,” Ciccolini explains. “Soluble dissolves in water to form a gel that’s kind of slippery and slimy, which is what might be giving you that ‘creamy’ texture. Soluble fiber isn’t bad to consume in its whole form; we need it for blood sugar balance and healthy digestion. It is digested by the bacteria in the gut, but a by-product of that may be gas. Since this is a highly processed version, you might expect gas to be an issue, especially if you’re particularly sensitive to corn.”
While the pops didn’t give me any issues, this explained the creamy texture, and potentially the slight aftertaste.
Ciccolini also adds, “If you have digestive issues, you may want to steer clear because all the additives like the various gums can exacerbate them. Also, if you’re currently consuming a low-fiber diet, boosting your intake like this could cause gastrointestinal issues like bloating, gas or bowel changes.”
One other thing Ciccolini brings up is that the placement of the ingredients likely means that some flavors have more fruit than others, noting, “The mango and coconut flavors appear to have the most ‘real’ fruit based on their position (as puree) in the ingredients list.”
Are Halo Top fruit pops a good substitute for a cold piece of fruit? Probably not. But if you’re in the market for a refreshing, fruit-flavored ice pop treat that isn’t packed with sugar — whether for health reasons or if you’re just not a fan of super-sweet desserts — they’re a must-try this summer.