What the Heck Is the Sugar Alcohol and Why is it a Main Ingredient in Halo Top?
What is sugar alcohol, and why is it in your pint of Halo Top?
Photo: Shutterstock/Leena Robinson
Halo Top, a lower-calorie alternative to traditional pints, currently reigns supreme in the frozen section, as the best-selling ice cream pint in America. They roll out new flavors regularly, like blueberry crumble and dairy-free toasted coconut, but something else caught our eye recently. Erythritol, a sugar alcohol is listed as the third or fourth ingredient on every pint, but what is sugar alcohol exactly?
All About Erythritol
One of the reasons that Halo Top is sweet without the high calories, is that they don’t use real sugar, instead opting for stevia, a plant-based alternative you might use in your coffee as well as erythritol. According to the Halo Top website, “Erythritol, which though it has a rather scientific-sounding name, is actually another sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes. Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating.”
Some studies have shown that erythritol can cause bloating symptoms and diarrhea, when consumed in large quantities, but Halo Top said that you would have to eat three pints to feel these effects. Erythritol doesn’t act the same way as sugar in your body, because when it travels through your body it doesn’t metabolize, meaning it can’t be broken down like traditional sugar.
So what’s the verdict? Even though Halo Top’s pints include cute quotes like “stop when you hit the bottom,” or “no bowl, no regrets,” you probably shouldn’t eat more than a pint in a sitting, and especially not three.