Why I love summer … vacation, beach, tan lines, pina coladas, watermelon, wayfarers, and…. frozen yogurt!
“Fro-yo” is everywhere nowadays – Pinkberry, Red Mango, TCBY, Tutti Frutti, and Sixteen Handles to name a few. Good news, you say, because fro-yo is so healthy, right?
Not necessarily. Although frozen yogurt is made with yogurt instead of cream, here are 3 reasons why frozen yogurt is not really all that much healthier than ice cream:
Reason 1: Frozen yogurt DOES NOT have the same amount of yogurt cultures or probiotics than regular yogurt does.
The process to make frozen yogurt can kill off the live bacterial cultures that are beneficial. So fro-yo should not replace your eating of regular yogurt if you eat it for the health benefit of the live bacterial cultures.
Reason 2: Frozen yogurt still has a lot of sugar.
More so than you may think. Though eaten alone, it may have slightly less sugar than full fat Haagen Daaz ice cream, most of the time, fro-yo has a lot of added sugar. When you consider the options for toppings that you are likely to put on your frozen yogurt at the do-it-yourself places like Tutti Frutti (Butterfinger candy bar pieces, chocolate sprinkles, Godiva chocolate, Capt’n Crunch, gummy worms, mochi, etc.), your trip to the store will likely have you leaving with a cup of frozen yogurt filled with more sugar than you had planned. The danger to DIY frozen yogurt stores is you end up putting on way more toppings than if you were being served. A lot of times, you can’t even see the frozen yogurt in your cup!
Also, fat free frozen yogurt has more added sugar to give it more flavor. There is a wide variation as to how much fat and sugar frozen yogurt has. Each store makes it differently. But on average, a cup of frozen yogurt has about 50 grams of sugar!
Reason 3: Frozen yogurt IS NOT very low calorie.
a 16 ounce cup or a small at one of these frozen yogurt places has about 380 calories. And this is BEFORE adding any toppings. Even fresh fruit has calories, carbs, and sugar. Here I stopped at Tutti Fruitt and got two flavors – banana and mango. I then walked along the toppings bar past the chocolate and caramel sauce station, to the fresh fruit. I added fresh kiwi, strawberries, and mango. I also put on some coconut flakes. Then came the sprinkles section and finally the candy, cereal section. I gave in and added a few pieces of Butterfinger candy pieces. See? That’s what happens at the DIY fro-yo places! Even I lost some of my will power.
If you really want to know the exact amount of calories and sugar and carbs in your frozen yogurt, you can try making it yourself. You don’t even need an ice cream maker, although it would definitely make the texture smoother.
Just take a cup of regular plain yogurt (I used Chobani)) and mix in chopped fruit of your choice (I used strawberries). Blend together well in a blender or food processor and then freeze. Garnish with fresh fruit and voila, a tasty, healthy, homemade frozen treat!
Some benefits of frozen yogurt:
-stays frozen and colder longer than ice cream on a hot day
-believed to aid in digestion
-can be tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant
- can be healthier than ice cream
So in summary, frozen yogurt can be good for you if eaten in moderation with limited to no toppings. Do not make the mistake of believing that fro-yo is so healthy that you can eat as much as you want! But if you are normally pretty healthy on a daily basis, it doesn’t hurt to have fun and enjoy your trip to the DIY fro-yo places. Having a few pieces of Capt’n Crunch in your frozen yogurt could be nostalgic and bring back happy memories of childhood … ah, those days when we didn’t have to count calories =).