The ONC Health IT Certification Program Approves the HIMSS-Immunization Integration Program (IIP) Testing Method

Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is announcing that the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has successfully demonstrated that its testing method, as part of the Immunization Integration Program (HIMSS-IIP), can serve as an alternative to the current National Coordinator-approved method for testing transmissions to immunization registries.  […]

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Get Ready for a Showdown! – The Secure API Server Showdown Challenge

In 2014, man created FHIR. In other words, that is when the Health Level 7 (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard was released as a first draft standard for trial use (“FHIR DSTU1”) for implementation in health information technology (health IT) software. FHIR is a standardized way to exchange health information that’s similar to […]

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Usability is Key to Unlocking Health IT’s Full Potential

This week is National Health IT Week, a nationwide celebration of the value of health information technology (health IT). To kick things off, I wanted to take some time to talk about one of my main areas of focus. Since I joined the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), I have […]

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Certification Program Updates to Support Efficiency & Reduce Burden

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is always on the lookout for ways to improve the ONC Health IT Certification Program’s efficiency and reduce burden on health information technology (health IT) users and health IT developers.  Whether it is making certification criteria clarifications clearer and more rapidly accessible through the […]

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Only you can improve the 2018 Interoperability Standards Advisory Reference Edition

Yes, it’s that time again. The federal fiscal year is coming to a close, the kids are going back to school, and you’ve got that déjà vu feeling like you should be preparing to comment on the Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA). Trust your instincts, because the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology […]

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Health Information Technology is Helping Treat and Manage HIV for Patients and Providers

Today is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness day – providing a perfect opportunity to talk about how health information technology (health IT) and electronic health information help doctors better manage the care of patients living with HIV and AIDS and improve the care that they receive. Now, thanks to the work that’s been done to […]

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Healthy or Not: Halo Top Ice Cream

This low-cal ice cream is taking the diet world by storm. Healthy eating enthusiasts are swooning over the concept of eating an entire pint of ice cream in one serving. But does the bright glow of Halo Top deserve angel status? We are crunching the numbers and breaking down the ingredient list to get the skinny on this lighter frozen treat.

By the Numbers

In a few short years, the passion project of a California lawyer has become one of Walmart’s best sellers. Early batches of this treat came from a home kitchen, but pints of Halo Top can now be found at grocery stores throughout the country. The numbers are impressive, but the nutritional facts are what really need to be considered.

A pint of traditional vanilla ice cream contains 1000 calories, 64 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein and no fiber. A pint of Halo Top vanilla comes in at 240 calories with 8 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein and a staggering 20 grams of fiber — that’s 80 percent of the daily goal. This is where most folks will shout “hallelujah” and reach for a spoon! But before you get to the bottom of your Halo Top container, you may want to get to the bottom of what’s really in those pints.

Traditional vanilla ice cream is made from cream, milk, sugar, eggs and stabilizers like guar gum. Halo Top ingredient list starts off in a similar fashion with milk, cream and eggs; there’s also guar gum in there. What sets Halo Top apart is what’s used to displace much of the sugar and fat. This means the use of the indigestible substances including the sugar alcohol called “erythritol” and supplemental fibers. You will find some sugar added, but much of the sweet flavor comes from the artificial sweetener Stevia. Since these types of ingredients aren’t digested normally, eating large amounts of has been found to sometimes cause stomach upset. They also help bind the low-calorie ingredients together without copious amounts of fat. For this reason, the texture of low calorie ice creams are nowhere near as creamy. Many of the flavors have very small pieces of add ins like cookies and chocolate chips to keep the calories in check – understandable, yet still a bit disappointing.

Bottom Line

A few bites of a light ice cream like Halo Top may help you cut back on higher calorie treats. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it may help while trying to shed a few pounds. But don’t get too excited about the promises of weight loss when downing pints a day, or even one pint in a sitting. This is not a healthy, balanced or recommended way to eat.

 

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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