Ask Food: The verdict on frozen yogurt

Q: Is frozen yogurt healthy? A. Yes.

Using yogurt instead of cream typically means a significant reduction in fat and calories. A half-cup serving of frozen yogurt will typically average 100 to 140 calories and zero to three grams of fat (a very reasonable sweet treat for any healthy diet). Some premium brands of ice cream contain three times more calories and five times more fat than frozen yogurt! Our taste test revealed that beneficial probiotic bacteria are present in frozen yogurt (a bonus for your digestive system). Nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and protein can also be found.

No.

Frozen yogurt still stacks up equally to ice cream when you look at the sugar content. One half cup of vanilla averages two to three teaspoons of sugar.

Is Fat-Free Better?

Nonfat varieties need to use thickeners and binders like carrageenan, cellulose and guar gum to make up for the texture that high-fat ingredients like cream naturally provide. While these additives are safe to eat, they make some varieties of yogurt more processed than ice cream.

The Verdict

Frozen yogurt certainly does have healthy attributes like less calories and fat and some healthy bacteria, but there's a lot of variation in the sea of frozen-yogurt options. Whether you're at the local yogurt shop or picking up pints at the grocery store, seek out nutrition info and read ingredient labels carefully. Portion control is still key -- choose "small" or "child" sizes when eating out and scoop out no more than a cup when at home.

Courtesy Dana Angelo White on foodnetwork.com

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