03 Aug Is Frozen Yogurt Healthier Compared to Ice Cream and Other Frozen Dess…
What is frozen yogurt and how is it made?
Frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream are three desserts that are served cold, have a creamy texture, and often come with toppings like sprinkles. Froyo and gelato are generally healthier options than regular ice cream.
Creamy frozen desserts make the perfect snack for warm summer days and evenings out on the town. Today, grocery stores and specialty dessert shops sell a variety of sweet frozen treats, such as frozen yogurt — also known as “froyo” — gelato, and ice cream. Dessert manufacturers often advertise frozen yogurt as a healthier, guilt-free version of ice cream and other desserts. However, froyo isn’t always the best and healthiest option. Instead, when comparing frozen yogurt and other desserts, it’s important to keep a few factors in mind, including their ingredients, nutritional values, and health benefits.
At first glance, frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream may seem like very similar foods. All three desserts are served cold, have a creamy texture, and often come with toppings like sprinkles. However, these foods are made using different dairy products, which affects their nutritional values.
Frozen yogurt is a dessert that is made by combining yogurt, or cultured milk, with cream, milk, sugar, and sweeteners. Because of the yogurt base, froyo is considered a healthier and lower-fat dessert than ice cream. Generally, this food will have between 0.5% and 3% milk fat.
However, frozen yogurt does not fall under the Code of Federal Regulations created by the United States Food and Drug Administration. As a result, frozen yogurt does not need to meet any specific criteria, and some brands may contain higher amounts of milk fat. When comparing froyo brands and flavors, it’s important to read nutritional labels carefully to make sure that you choose the healthiest kind.
What is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream?
Ice cream is created by blending butterfat, condensed milk, cream, and milk. These dairy mixtures are typically combined with flavorings, sweeteners, and stabilizers. Next, the mixture is pasteurized, or heated to a high temperature to kill bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Finally, ice cream is frozen. Unlike froyo and gelato, ice cream is regulated by the FDA, and the agency requires it to contain at least 10% milk fat. Ice cream labeled “nonfat” must contain no more than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.
How does gelato compare?
Gelato is a frozen Italian dessert made by combining regular milk and sugar. This milk base gives gelato a very dense, rich texture and a stronger taste than ice cream. Gelato also typically contains less fat than ice cream.
Because frozen yogurt, ice cream, and gelato have different ingredients, their nutritional values also vary. Comparing vanilla flavors of each dessert shows that froyo and gelato are generally healthier options than regular ice cream.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central database, a 100-gram serving of vanilla frozen yogurt has:
- Calories: 159 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 24.2 g
- Total Fat: 5.6 g
- Sugar: 24 g
- Calcium: 143 mg
- Phosphorus: 129 mg
- Potassium: 211 mg
The database also shows that a 100-gram serving of vanilla ice cream contains:
- Calories: 868 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 23.6 g
- Total Fat: 11 g
- Sugar: 21.2 g
- Calcium: 128 mg
- Phosphorus: 105 mg
- Potassium: 199 mg
Finally, a 100-gram serving of vanilla gelato has:
- Calories: 249 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 22.3 g
- Total Fat: 16.2 g
- Sugar: 20.6
- Calcium: 117 mg
- Phosphorus: 105 mg
- Potassium: 157 mg
In this comparison, frozen yogurt ranks as the overall healthiest dessert. One serving of froyo has less than one-fifth as many calories as the same amount of ice cream, making it a good choice if you are trying to lose or maintain weight. Of the three desserts, frozen yogurt also has the lowest total amount of fat, while gelato has almost three times as much fat. While some dietary fats are beneficial for your body, too much fat can cause serious health issues, such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, and heart disease.
However, it’s important to note that frozen yogurt can have higher amounts of sugar than ice cream and gelato. Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of certain health problems, like coronary heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. To help avoid these issues, consume any frozen dessert in moderation and read nutritional labels to choose froyo with lower amounts of sugar.
Is it good to eat frozen yogurt?
Along with having lower levels of calories and fat than ice cream and gelato, frozen yogurt offers several health benefits. This dessert has higher amounts of some beneficial minerals and vitamins and microorganisms that can help you stay healthy and avoid serious health issues.
For example, the FoodData Central database shows that all three frozen desserts are a great source of calcium due to their dairy ingredients. However, one serving of vanilla frozen yogurt has slightly more calcium than the other desserts. Calcium has numerous health benefits, like strengthening bones and lowering cholesterol.
Frozen yogurt also has higher amounts of phosphorus than similar servings of ice cream and gelato. This mineral performs many functions in the body, such as improving bone strength and filtering waste from the kidneys. Frozen yogurt is a good source of potassium, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Significantly, frozen yogurt can also contain probiotics, or live active cultures. These healthy microorganisms can boost your immune system and improve the health of your digestive tract. Ice cream and gelato do not have probiotics, potentially making frozen yogurt a healthier choice. However, not all froyo contains these extra probiotics, so check nutritional labels carefully for the National Yogurt Association’s “Live and Active Cultures” seal, which indicates if the product has probiotics.
Is frozen yogurt healthy compared to ice cream and gelato?
Overall, if you are looking for a cold, delicious dessert that won’t be too fatty or high in calories, frozen yogurt can be a healthier option than ice cream and gelato. Because froyo can have probiotics and minerals, it offers numerous health benefits. However, the lack of regulations for this food means that it is essential to check nutritional labels to make sure that you are picking the healthiest, most nutritious frozen yogurt.
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Medically Reviewed on 8/1/2022
Adv. Nutrition: “Potassium and Health.”
Code of Federal Regulations: “Part 135 – Frozen Desserts.”
European Journal of Nutrition: “Sugars, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease: Results From Recent Randomized Control Trials.”
Food Source Information: “Ice Cream.”
Institute of Culinary Education: “The Scoop: Getting to Know Ice Cream.”
International Dairy Foods Association: “Ice Cream Labeling.”
Michigan State University Extension: “What’s the Healthiest Ice-Cream?”
Nutrients: “Calcium Intake and Health.”
South Dakota State University Extension: “Soft-Serve Frozen Desserts and Frozen Yogurts: Real and Perceived Differences.”
Tufts Journal: “Is Frozen Yogurt as Nutritious as Regular Yogurt?”
USDA FoodData Central: “Frozen Yogurts, Vanilla, Soft-Serve,” “Gelato, Vanilla,” “Ice Creams, Vanilla.”