Frozen yogurt is a dessert that’s often promoted as a healthy alternative to ice cream. However, it isn’t just regular yogurt that’s been in the freezer.
In fact, it can have a vastly different nutrient profile than regular yogurt.
This article is a detailed review of frozen yogurt, exploring its nutritional content and health effects, particularly as a substitute for ice cream.
What Is Frozen Yogurt and How Is It Made?
Frozen yogurt is a popular dessert made with yogurt. It has a creamy texture and sweet, tangy taste.
Frozen yogurt is quite similar to ice cream, but the main difference is that it’s made with milk instead of cream.
Additionally, like ice cream, it is often sold in cups or cones with a wide range of topping options, such as fruit, cookies and chocolate chips.
You can buy frozen yogurt in stores or make it at home. It’s also sometimes used as an ingredient in drinks like smoothies, or in desserts as a substitute for ice cream.
Ingredients can vary slightly between brands, but the main ones are:
- Milk: This can be liquid milk or powdered milk. Powdered milk is referred to as “milk solids” on the ingredients list.
- Yogurt cultures: These are “good” bacteria like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
- Sugar: Most companies use regular table sugar, but some brands use alternative sweeteners like agave nectar.
Many frozen yogurts also contain ingredients like flavorings and stabilizers to improve their taste and texture.
To make frozen yogurt, manufacturers mix together milk and sugar. They pasteurize the mixture, heating it to a high temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.
The yogurt cultures are then added and the mixture is allowed to rest for up to four hours before it’s frozen.
Nutrients in Frozen Yogurt
The nutrition content of frozen yogurt can vary depending on the type of milk, sweeteners and flavorings used in the yogurt mixture.
For example, frozen yogurt made with nonfat milk will have a lower fat content than varieties made with whole milk.
Additionally, the toppings you choose can add extra calories, fat and sugar to the final product.
Below are the nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of regular, whole-milk frozen yogurt and 3.5 ounces of nonfat frozen yogurt, with no toppings or flavorings :
|Regular Frozen Yogurt||Nonfat Frozen Yogurt|
|Fat||4 grams||0 grams|
|Protein||3 grams||4 grams|
|Carbs||22 grams||23 grams|
|Fiber||0 grams||0 grams|
|Calcium||10% of the RDI||10% of the RDI|
|Vitamin A||6% of the RDI||0% of the RDI|
|Iron||3% of the RDI||0% of the RDI|
|Vitamin C||1% of the RDI||0% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt may have some health benefits, compared to other frozen desserts.
It can contain beneficial nutrients and bacteria, lower levels of lactose and fewer calories than desserts like ice cream.
It Can Contain Good Bacteria
Like regular yogurt, some frozen yogurt contains probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are also known as “good bacteria.” When eaten, they can have beneficial effects on your health.
However, the benefits of bacteria in frozen yogurt depend on them surviving the manufacturing process.
If your frozen yogurt was pasteurized after the good bacteria were added, then they will have been killed off.
It has also been suggested that the freezing process could reduce the number of good bacteria. However, some studies have suggested this isn’t the case, so freezing may not be an issue.
To see if your frozen yogurt contains probiotics, check for the claim “live cultures” on the label.