Can Ice Cream Survive The Frozen Yogurt Craze?
It seems like frozen yogurt is everywhere lately! New ‘froyo’ shops are popping up in strip malls and on busy corners with surprising regularity. While both ice cream and frozen yogurt are delicious, ice cream has gained a reputation for being a dietary disaster, full of fat and calories. Frozen yogurt, on the other hand, is touted as healthy and guilt-free. But are these descriptions really accurate? Which one is better for you?
Fat and sugar content
Let’s start with the ingredients. Both ice cream and frozen yogurt are dairy products. But they start off differently. Ice cream is made with cream. Frozen yogurt is made with cultured milk. In order to be labeled ice cream, a frozen dairy treat must contain between 10% and 16% milk fat. Since frozen yogurt is made from cultured milk instead of cream, there is less fat to begin with and no minimum fat requirement to meet. However, if you are counting calories, the fat content isn’t going to make as much of a difference here as you might think. A cup of regular vanilla ice cream has 275 calories, while a cup of regular frozen yogurt has 221 calories, so the difference is negligible. The amount of sugar is about the same – between 25 and 50 grams per serving – for either of these frozen treats.
While both ice cream and frozen yogurt come in low-fat and fat-free varieties, those almost always contain more sugar and chemicals than regular varieties. Lowering the fat content changes the taste, so manufacturers will add chemicals and sugar to make up for the change. Depending on your diet, that might not be a good alternative.
Probiotics do not survive freezing
One of the biggest reasons many people give for choosing frozen yogurt is that it is healthier than ice cream because it has probiotics. It’s true that frozen yogurt starts with cultured milk, just as regular yogurt does. But most of the probiotics do not survive the freezing process. If you really want the health benefits of yogurt, you should probably stick with the non-frozen variety.
Indulge with moderation
It’s easy to see why neither ice cream or frozen yogurt should be considered a “health” food. But there are ways to enjoy ice cream and frozen yogurt that will let you indulge a little without sabotaging your diet or healthy lifestyle. The first thing to remember is that you do not want to eat these frozen treats every night. Limiting your dessert to once a week or special occasions such as a family outing can really reduce its impact.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to enjoy your frozen treats responsibly is to watch your serving size. For both ice cream and “froyo” a half cup is generally considered one serving. This is one scoop of ice cream. If you’re at the serve yourself frozen yogurt shop, it’s hard to determine how much that is. Limit the amount of toppings as well. Pick fresh fruit or a small amount of nuts instead of candy and sugary syrups. Believe it or not, having regular ice cream here might actually help you. If you are a person that has trouble sticking to the serving size, the extra fat in regular ice cream will help you feel more satisfied and also helps you stay fuller, longer.
While we should all exercise some self-control when it comes to desserts, the bottom line is nothing beats a delicious, hand scooped ice cream cone on a hot summer day or for any day for that matter. And that is why ice cream shops are not going anywhere anytime soon.
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