Is Frozen Yogurt Healthier Than Ice Cream? July 5,2011.

Yesterday, I was craving ice cream. I needed the perfect dessert to finish off my Independence Day cheeseburger. When I mentioned my dire need for sweets, my house guest suggested frozen yogurt as a “healthier” alternative. But, my nameless guest did not stop there:  she continued to pull up an article touting how “healthy” frozen yogurt was. Can I now eat frozen yogurt every day? I had my suspicions (and after eating a few bountiful spoonfuls) decided to do research later. Here’s what I found:

Check out this article from that weighs the pros and cons of frozen yogurt.

“Frozen yogurt is a dessert similar to ice cream, but made with yogurt rather than cream. It tends to be healthier than ice cream, so many people choose it as an alternative. It is important to realize, however, that frozen yogurt, while richer in many minerals and nutrients than ice cream, is still not as healthy as regular yogurt – a fact many people overlook.

Yogurt is a fermented food, made by adding live bacterial cultures to milk. These bacteria provoke fermentation in the milk, releasing lactic acid; the acid in turn thickens the milk proteins and causes them to form a mass, while guarding against non-beneficial bacteria. Yogurt is usually only considered true yogurt if live bacteria remain at the end of the creation process. When a person consumes true yogurt, these live bacteria enter the body and assist other beneficial bacteria.

Yogurt, and by extension frozen yogurt, has a number of benefits over other dairy products. Perhaps most importantly, yogurt contains enzymes that assist in breaking down dairy, allowing many people with lactose intolerance to ingest yogurt and frozen yogurt with little or no ill effects. Yogurt also tends to have high levels of protein and many important minerals.

Frozen yogurt is perhaps best viewed health-wise as being somewhere between real yogurt and ice cream. While it contains protein, the protein found in frozen yogurt is often as little as a third the amount found in regular yogurt, and roughly equivalent to that found in ice cream. While ice cream is quite high in fat – between 10 and 18% fat by weight – frozen yogurt varies more widely. It usually has less fat than a comparable ice cream, but higher amounts of fat and substantially more calories than a comparable yogurt. Fat-free frozen yogurts exist, but they often have even more added sugar than other varieties.

Frozen yogurt is made in much the same way as ice cream, and it can be made at home in an ice cream maker. Yogurt replaces the cream content of ice cream, but otherwise, similar ingredients are used. A great deal of sugar is usually added, as in ice cream, which is a major reason why frozen yogurt is not nearly as healthy as regular yogurt. Yogurt, because of its changed structure, freezes and melts at much higher temperatures than milk, making frozen yogurt stay frozen much longer than ice cream when subjected to room temperatures.

All in all, frozen yogurt can be safely viewed as a healthy alternative to ice cream – on a par perhaps with frozen milk or some sorbets. The enzymatic benefits can aid digestion, and some of the additional health benefits of yogurt remain in its sweetened and frozen form. It should not, however, be viewed as a “healthy” food, as it still contains relatively high levels of fat and may have extremely high amounts of sugar.”

Stay Strong and Healthy,

Peter Holmes

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