Frozen yogurt is a dessert that is similar to ice cream but is made with yogurt rather than cream. It tends to be healthier than ice cream, so many people choose it as an alternative. Consumers should realize, however, that although it is richer in many minerals and nutrients than ice cream is, frozen yogurt is not as healthy as regular yogurt. Some types of frozen yogurt might also include significant amounts of sugar, making them not much healthier than ice cream and possibly even higher in calories than some varieties of ice cream.
In general, frozen yogurt can be viewed as a healthy alternative to ice cream — perhaps on par with frozen milk or some sorbets. The enzymatic benefits of yogurt can aid digestion, and some of the additional health benefits of yogurt remain in its sweetened and frozen form. It should not, however, be viewed as a “healthy” food, because it still contains relatively high levels of fat and might have extremely high amounts of sugar.
There are several benefits that yogurt has and other dairy products don't have. Perhaps most importantly, yogurt contains enzymes that assist in breaking down dairy, allowing many people who are lactose intolerant to ingest yogurt — including the frozen kind — with few or no ill effects. Yogurt also tends to contain high levels of protein and many important minerals.
Frozen yogurt is perhaps best viewed health-wise as being somewhere between real yogurt and ice cream. Although it contains protein, the protein in frozen yogurt is often as little as one-third of the amount in regular yogurt and roughly equivalent to the amount in ice cream. Ice cream is quite high in fat — typically 10 percent to 18 percent fat by weight — but frozen yogurt varies more widely. It usually has less fat than a comparable ice cream but higher amounts of fat and substantially more calories than a comparable yogurt. Fat-free frozen yogurts exist, but they often have more added sugar than other varieties.
How It is Made
Yogurt is a fermented food that is made by adding live bacterial cultures to milk. These bacteria promote fermentation in the milk, releasing lactic acid. The acid, in turn, thickens the milk proteins and causes them to form a mass while guarding against non-beneficial bacteria. Yogurt usually is considered true yogurt only if live bacteria remain at the end of the creation process. When a person consumes true yogurt, these live bacteria enter the body and help other beneficial bacteria that are present in the body.
Frozen yogurt is made in much the same way as ice cream, and it can even be made at home in an ice cream maker. Yogurt replaces the cream content of ice cream, but otherwise, similar ingredients are used. A great deal of sugar is usually added, as in ice cream, which is a major reason why frozen yogurt is not nearly as healthy as regular yogurt. Yogurt, because of its changed structure, freezes and melts at much higher temperatures than milk, making it stay frozen much longer than ice cream when it is subjected to room temperatures.