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5 Surprising Secrets of Sherbet and Halo-Halo

Desserts have a way of bringing joy and satisfaction, especially during hot summer months. Two popular and refreshing treats that often find their way into people's hearts are halo-halo and sherbet. While both offer a cool respite from the heat, these desserts boast distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will dive into the delightful differences between halo-halo and sherbet, exploring their unique features, origins, and flavors.


Photo by: Glutto Digest

A Filipino Delight Halo-halo, which translates to "mix-mix" in Tagalog, is a beloved Filipino dessert known for its vibrant colors and diverse combination of ingredients. Originating in the Philippines, halo-halo has become an iconic treat enjoyed not only in its home country but also across the globe. The dessert is typically composed of a base of shaved ice, sweetened beans, fruits, jellies, tubers, and various other ingredients. It is then topped with evaporated milk and often crowned with a scoop of ice cream. The beauty of halo-halo lies in its customizable nature, allowing individuals to create their own unique combinations.

The medley of ingredients in halo-halo is what sets it apart. One may find sweetened red beans, macapuno (young coconut), kaong (palm fruit), nata de coco (coconut gel), sago (tapioca pearls), gulaman (jelly cubes), and leche flan (caramel custard), among others. The blend of textures, flavors, and colors makes each spoonful of halo-halo a delightful adventure.


A light and fruity delicacy, sherbet is known as a frozen dessert that typically falls somewhere between ice cream and sorbet in terms of texture and richness. It has a long history that can be traced back to the Middle East and Persia. Sherbet is made by combining fruit juice or puree with sugar, water, and sometimes a touch of dairy, such as milk or cream. The mixture is then churned to achieve a smooth consistency and frozen.

What sets sherbet apart from traditional ice cream is its lower milkfat content. While ice cream generally contains at least 10% milkfat, sherbet usually contains 1-2% milkfat. The reduced fat content allows the fruit flavors to shine through, resulting in a lighter and more refreshing dessert. Sherbet often boasts a tangy and fruity taste, making it a popular choice for those seeking a less indulgent option without compromising on flavor.

Differentiating Factors:

  1. Texture: Halo-halo is characterized by its finely shaved ice, giving it a crunchy and icy texture. In contrast, sherbet is smoother and creamier, but still retains a light and refreshing consistency.

  2. Ingredients: Halo-halo is a mix of various sweetened beans, fruits, jellies, and other ingredients, while sherbet primarily consists of fruit juice or puree, sugar, water, and sometimes dairy.

  3. Customization: Halo-halo is highly customizable, allowing individuals to add or remove ingredients based on their preferences. Sherbet, while available in various fruit flavors, offers less room for customization as the ingredients are predetermined.

  4. Milkfat Content: Halo-halo does not contain milkfat, while sherbet has a low milkfat content, typically ranging from 1-2%.

Which One Is Healthier?

Determining which dessert is healthier between sherbet and halo-halo depends on various factors such as ingredients, portion sizes, and preparation methods. Here are five reasons to consider when comparing the healthiness of sherbet and halo-halo:

  1. Sugar Content: Sherbet typically contains lower sugar content compared to halo-halo. Sherbet is a frozen dessert made with fruit juice or puree, sugar, and sometimes dairy, while halo-halo includes a variety of sweet ingredients like sweetened beans, fruits, jellies, and syrups. Opting for sherbet with reduced sugar can be a healthier choice for those watching their sugar intake.

  2. Fruit Content: Sherbet is often made with real fruit juice or puree, providing some essential nutrients and antioxidants from the fruit. On the other hand, halo-halo usually contains a mix of sweetened fruits and jellies, which may have lower nutritional value due to added sugars.

  3. Calorie Density: Sherbet tends to have a lower calorie density compared to halo-halo. Since sherbet is made primarily with fruit and minimal dairy or added fats, it typically contains fewer calories per serving. Halo-halo, with its combination of various sweet ingredients and syrups, can be more calorie-dense, making portion control crucial for maintaining a balanced diet.

  4. Fat Content: Sherbet generally contains less fat than halo-halo. The fat content in sherbet is typically lower due to the limited use of dairy or fats in its preparation. Halo-halo, on the other hand, may include ingredients like sweetened condensed milk, which can contribute to a higher fat content.

  5. Nutrient Profile: While sherbet can provide some vitamins and minerals from the fruit content, it may not be as nutritionally dense as halo-halo. Halo-halo often includes a wider variety of ingredients such as beans, coconut, and nuts, which can offer additional nutrients and textures. However, the overall nutritional quality of halo-halo can vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients used and the amount of added sugars.

It's important to note that both sherbet and halo-halo should be enjoyed in moderation as occasional treats due to their sugar content and potential calorie load. If you are looking for a healthier option, choosing sherbet with reduced sugar and portion control may be a better choice. However, it's always advisable to consider your personal dietary needs and consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

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