The Scoop on the Cold Treat War: Why Frozen Yogurt Is Better Than Ice Cream

Frozen Yogurt

Scoop up the frozen yogurt if you want a healthier alternative to ice cream. The difference between how the two are made is also the reason why frozen yogurt has a healthier arsenal of cold treat goodness than ice cream does.

The Important Difference Between Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt

Both yogurt and ice cream are dairy products that begin with milk. While yogurt requires no milk fat, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milk fat by weight. That percentage is achieved by adding cream and the richest, smoothest, premium creams that contain even more milk fat. Gelato, for example, can have as much as 20 percent milk fat by weight. When it comes to healthy eating, ice cream starts out with a disadvantage on the fat content.

How Yogurt is Made

Frozen yogurt gains another benefit over ice cream from the way that yogurt is made. The bacterial cultures that ferment the milk and turn it into yogurt do so by producing lactic acid. The lactic acid thickens the milk proteins, turning them into yogurt. At the same time, the acid restricts the growth of non-beneficial bacteria, enhancing the probiotic benefits of yogurt. Further, yogurt contains lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar present in milk. Those who suffer from lactose intolerance lack the lactase needed to digest lactose. While the lactose-intolerant can’t enjoy ice cream, they can enjoy a cup or cone of frozen yogurt.

Yogurt vs. Ice Cream

Frozen yogurt and ice cream do have some similarities. Just as sugar is added to the cream to achieve the sweet taste of ice cream, sugar is added to yogurt to give frozen yogurt a sweeter taste. Yogurt has no advantage over ice cream when it comes to sugar content. However, healthy toppings such as fruits, nuts, and granola help to reduce the sugar content of either a frozen yogurt or ice cream treat.

Even though frozen yogurt may lose the battle to ice cream when it comes to sugar content, it retains the advantage in vitamin and mineral content. From its yogurt base, frozen yogurt contains concentrated amounts of calcium, potassium, and vitamin B-12. Further, the yogurt’s probiotics aid in the absorption of the B vitamins, iron, zinc and calcium.

There is some debate about whether the active bacterial cultures in yogurt survive the freezing process of creating frozen yogurt. However, when the yogurt is quick frozen, as it is by manufacturers, the formation of the ice crystals that can kill the bacteria is minimized, allowing frozen yogurt to provide the same probiotic benefits as regular yogurt. Ice cream simply does not have this benefit in its arsenal.

“Fro-Yo” Movement

With the popular rise in frozen yogurt, or “Fro-Yo” locations, many options have become available in finding the perfect frozen yogurt combination you are looking for. Some frozen yogurt companies are completely fat and cholesterol free. The regular versions of all flavors contain 84 to 87 calories, depending on the flavor, and 14 grams of sugar per one half-cup serving. Some flavors are available in Greek yogurt versions, tart versions, and no-sugar added versions which vary somewhat from the regular flavors. Nutritionally, each one half-cup serving provides 14 to 24 grams of carbohydrates and two to seven grams of protein, depending on the flavor. In addition, the yogurt is high in probiotics and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamins B-2 and B-12, and calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

One Additional Benefit for the Summer Season

Everyone will appreciate that, with frozen yogurt, you will have fewer sticky messes to scoop up. Because of its thicker texture, frozen yogurt won’t melt as quickly as ice cream does in hot summer temperatures. Don’t rush enjoying your treat and savor the yogurt in the warm summer sun.

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Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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