Frozen Yogurt: Is it Healthy?

by in Healthy Tips, Is It Healthy?, June 29, 2011
frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt: friend or foe?

Making healthy choices isn’t always easy. In this new series, we’re diving into some seemingly better-for-you foods to explore  if they’re really healthy.  To fire things up for summer, is cool and creamy fro-yo a healthy pick?

Yes?
Using yogurt instead of cream typically means a significant reduction in fat and calories. A half-cup serving of frozen yogurt will typically average 100 to 140 calories and zero to 3 grams of fat (a very reasonable sweet treat for any healthy diet). Some premium brands of ice cream contain 3 times more calories and 5 times more fat than frozen yogurt! Our taste test revealed that beneficial probiotic bacteria are present in frozen yogurt (a bonus for your digestive system). Nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and protein can also be found. Tart yogurt shops like Pinkberry and Red Mango are popping up across the country — just remember that while the tart yogurts do have a unique flavor they’re still sweetened with sugar and have a similar amount of calories per serving to other types of frozen yogurt.

No?
Frozen yogurt still stacks up equally to ice cream when you look at the sugar content.  One half cup of vanilla averages 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Top with extra goodies like cookies and candy the sugar content will be jacked up as well.

Is Fat-Free Better?
Nonfat varieties need to use thickeners and binders like carrageenan, cellulose and guar gum to make up for the texture that high fat ingredients like cream naturally provide. While these additives are very safe to eat, they do make some varieties of yogurt more processed than ice cream.

The Verdict
Frozen yogurt certainly does have healthy attributes like less calories and fat and some healthy bacteria but there’s a lot of variation in the sea of frozen yogurt options. Whether you’re at the local yogurt shop or picking up pints at the grocery store – seek out nutrition info and read ingredient labels carefully. Portion control is still key – choose “small” or “child” sizes when eating out and scoop out no more than a cup when at home. One of the healthiest routes may be to make your own.

TELL US: Is frozen yogurt your frosty treat of choice?

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. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (1,764)

  1. Once in a while we go to Pinkberry for a frozen yogurt treat. I stick to the 3 oz size and fresh fruit toppings. In the summer when we go to VT, I will indulge in a trip to the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop. I think making the trip for the frozen treat is a great for portion control and fun outing.

    • Monica says:

      Hello people frankly speaking these frozen yogerts can go on once in a blue moon not so frequent , the best way to take yougert is at ur home make yogert at home and put suger in it belive me you will enjoy taking it also why to spend too much of Kshs,$,or pounds in market wherein you can make even much better yogert at home lean how to make yogert fm google site type in how to make yogert !

  2. kittykat says:

    yep, at golden spoon they offfer "cupcake" yogurt which is WONDERFUL and i have almond roca sprinkles on top to gild the lily. i don't have it that often so i enjoy it without feeling guilty.

  3. DONNA says:

    I ABSOLUTLY AGREE. I USED TO LIVE IN FLORIDA AND LOVED PUBLIX FROZEN YOGURT.
    I MISS THAT AND THEIR BREAKFAST BREAD.

  4. elizabeth says:

    I discovered really good frozen yougurt at yogurt moutain. I like the no sugar added, low fat, and non dairy options. my mom is lactose intolerant so when I found this place I took her there the next day, and she too fell in love with it. It's super creamy and weighs the stomach down less after enjoying it! I think I prefer the frozen yougurt over ice cream 99% of the time.

  5. CoupTessa says:

    Glad to hear that my favorite little treat isn't horribly unhealthy after all! Sometimes a girl just has to have something sweet to follow up a meal…and it certainly beats cookies, cakes, and cupcakes (Although I sometimes indulge myself in that too!) Not only is frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream, but I truly enjoy it more too!

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