1. Halo Top
Like the other brands, Halo Top is low-sugar, high-protein, and low-calorie, but unlike the other brands, its ice cream is sweetened with organic stevia. And because growth hormones are for athletes to take in secret, Halo Top promises no synthetic growth hormones in its ice cream. Instead, milk, cream, and eggs are the top-three ingredients.
IV. Chocolate Mocha Chip
As a huge chocolate and mocha fan, this is a swing and a miss for me. I got some coffee notes that didn't fit in, and it's somehow a little bit too saccharine for something with only 4g of sugar. A disappointment for me.
III. Mint Chip
This has a vanilla ice cream base and not a mint ice cream base, but it doesn't lack mint flavor, which comes through the second you bite into a chip. If you're a mint chip fan, I'd stick with Enlightened's version.
II. Lemon Cake
Luscious, lemony, and creamy in a way that Enlightened and Arctic Zero aren't. I'm guessing that's due to eggs being second on the ingredient list. Bright lemon notes and a consistency that basically forces you to keep dipping your spoon in the pint over and over again.
I. Birthday Cake
This tastes better than actual birthday cake, and that's saying something coming from a guy who really, really enjoys birthday cake. At first glance, my expectations were lowered significantly. It shouldn't taste as good as it does. Looking in the pint, there's a vanilla base with scattered colored sprinkles throughout, but then you take a bite, and those sprinkles burst with flavor. For the 364 days a year that are not your birthday, you can eat this and feel like it is, minus the disappointment you feel when your grandma mails you a $5 check again.
What I learned from this ice creamperiment
You must be patient when eating this type of ice cream -- waiting at least 10 minutes for it to properly melt before you eat it is a must with all high-protein ice cream. Luckily it was chest day when I did this taste-test, so I banged out a ton of incline dumbbell presses while I waited, bro.
Arctic Zero is perfect for people who are lactose intolerant, though even if you're not, the Cake Batter flavor is worth the money. Enlightened has the most creative flavors for this specific type of ice cream, and Frozen Hot Cocoa is a standout. Halo Top's Birthday Cake and Lemon Cake ice creams were the ice creamiest of the cold treats I tasted (for you, I did this for you!), which pushed it to the top spot.
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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and is going to take a break from ice cream for a minute. Follow him to birthday cakes: @LeeBreslouer.