Cynical though it sounds, anything that seems too good to be true– probably is. Does that mean frozen yogurt is going to completely wreck your weight-loss plans? Not quite. Let’s look at the sweet and not-so-sweet side of your friendly cup of fro-yo.
What distinguishes frozen yogurt from ice-cream is essentially fat content. A standard 100 gm serving of vanilla ice cream usually contains 11-15 gm milk fat from the addition of whole cream (approx. 10-16% of your daily value). Frozen yogurt is made from cultured milk and the same size serving of basic vanilla yogurt contains roughly half the amount of milk fat. The ice cream also serves up nearly 9 gm saturated fat as opposed to the 4-gm delivered by frozen yogurt. The low fat or non-fat varieties would contain even less. Frozen yogurt and ice cream contain almost the same amount of milk protein (about 3-4 gm per 100 gm serving).
That sounds fantastic, right? It certainly does. What most frozen yogurt manufacturers skim over, however, is the sugar content.
A serving of frozen yogurt is usually higher in carbohydrates from sugar than a serving of ice-cream. While a 100-gm serving of vanilla ice cream usually contains 15-17 gm sugar, a 100-gm serving of frozen yogurt contains around 20-30 gm sugar. Excess carbs are stored as fat again. This excess sugar also creates a feeling of satiety for a shorter period. As sugar releases more insulin, it creates an insulin spike which drops down as fast, leaving you with the desire of having more. Thus, affecting the hunger signals and leading to more calorie intake.
This sugar content effectively translates into calories. So, if you’re watching your daily calorie intake, bear in mind that a regular serving of basic non-fat yogurt without any toppings is approximately 120 calories. That means the fancier you make your dessert, the more calories you add. Go easy on sugary flavors like birthday cake or New York cheesecake and try sticking to basic ones like vanilla, dark chocolate, or natural fruit. Following the same principle, reconsider toppings liked crushed candy bars, brownie bits, marshmallows, candied fruit, chocolate fudge sauce, etc. Instead, get a helping of fresh fruit (not preserved), and maybe some chopped almonds to increase the fiber, vitamin, and mineral quotient.
While the occasional serving of frozen yogurt is certainly healthier than ice cream, natural yogurt is still a better deal. Frozen yogurt does not contain the probiotics in natural yogurt that help boost immunity and are good for digestion because most of these probiotics do not survive the extreme temperatures frozen yogurt is stored at. Whizz some unsweetened yogurt, fresh fruit, and ice in a blender for a more nutritious and healthier smoothie.
You don’t have to skip frozen yogurt altogether if you’re fond of it. All you need is to moderate frequency, serving size, and choice of flavors and toppings– and you can savor your frozen fix without a guilt trip!