Frozen yogurt uncovered: Is it really a healthy option?

Most of us understand that ice cream is not healthy for us, but what about an increasingly popular alternative, frozen yogurt?

yogurtIt seems ice cream has been around ever since birthdays were celebrated. We’re familiar with the delicious treat, whether it’s scooped up and next to a piece of cake or piled high on a waffle cone.

As it gains momentum in the marketplace, I have noticed frozen yogurt positioned as a healthy alternative to ice cream. Commonly pictured with fruit, some people may be misled by this nutritious-looking dessert.

How is Frozen Yogurt Different from Ice Cream?

You may be interested to know that there are many similarities between ice cream and frozen yogurt, including many ingredients and they way they’re prepared. In fact, both are very high in sugar and calories. Because of this, Stefanie Rudloff of Scott & White’s Hospital and Nutrition Services and registered dietician said, “Ice cream and frozen yogurt really both are not very nutritious.”

She explains that they tend to have added sweeteners, whether it is sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or other artificial sweeteners. She added that although both treats have calcium, phosphorus and potassium, there is a significant amount less when compared to drinking a glass of milk, eating regular yogurt or another serving of dairy. Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist from Natural News also agrees that frozen yogurt is not a health food because of the high amounts of sugar.

One key difference between ice cream and yogurt, however, is the main ingredient used for each. Ice cream is made with cream, while frozen yogurt is made with yogurt. It is the yogurt-base that gives frozen yogurt a leg-up as a slightly healthier alternative.

Depending of the type of yogurt used, it will have less fat than what cream would typically have,” said Rudloff.  “Also with yogurt, many people are actually able to digest it a lot easier than the cream. This is a good option especially for those who are lactose intolerant.”

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One key difference between ice cream and yogurt, however, is the main ingredient used for each. Ice cream is made with cream, while frozen yogurt is made with yogurt. It is the yogurt-base that gives frozen yogurt a leg-up as a slightly healthier alternative.

Keep in mind that frozen yogurt may also contain some live microorganisms that can benefit our health. These microorganisms, or probiotics, are added to aid the process of milk fermentation.

“This is good because it helps with our immune function,” Rudloff said. “Considering how much we’re eating things and touching our mouths with our hands, our stomach is exposed to a lot of toxins and foreign antigens. Probiotics actually help benefit our host [stomach] and improve the intestinal floor by fighting off bad bacteria and promoting the growth of good bacteria naturally found in our stomach.”

Overall, frozen yogurt can be carefully viewed as a better alternative to ice cream because of the aid in digestion and some benefits of yogurt still remain when sweetened and frozen. Remember, however, that it is not a “healthy” food, because of its high levels of fat and sugar.

If You Are Craving a Frozen Treat

So if you are looking for a frozen treat and want to be health-conscience, keep the following in mind.

  • Instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt, choose healthy substitutes like fresh or frozen fruit and real yogurt.
    • These will help you regulate your blood sugar and feel full longer.
  • When going out, be watchful of portion sizes.
    • Some parlors have large cups or cones, and you could be tempted to overdo it.
    • Remember that a serving size is ½ cup, which is about half of a baseball.
  • If you would like toppings on your dessert, select fresh fruit or almonds rather than sprinkles or candy.
  • Try to stick with low-fat or non-fat yogurt options.

We hope you’ll consider these tips and suggestions. What are some healthy alternatives have you found to help curb your sweet tooth?

About the author

Jill Taylor
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I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.

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Frozen yogurt uncovered: Is it really a healthy option?