Frozen yogurt and ice cream are both tasty treats, especially during hot summer months. Some people find it difficult to choose between frozen yogurt and ice cream when looking at options in the grocery store. But what is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream? Which is healthier? And which should you go for?
In this article, we’ll be comparing frozen yogurt and ice cream including their nutrition and ingredients, to know which might be the healthier choice.
Table of Contents
Frozen yogurt is made of a mixture of yogurt, milk, and cream. Frozen yogurt also includes sweeteners and other flavors. Since yogurt is cultured milk, it tends to have a bit of a sour flavor, compared to milk. Frozen yogurt can also have this sour flavor.
Ice cream is a mixture of dairy products (milk and/or cream), sweeteners, and other flavors that are churned while it freezes.
What is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream?
Let’s take a look at some of the differences between frozen yogurt and ice cream.
Although ice cream and frozen yogurt share two main ingredients i.e. dairy and sugar as well as contain other swirled-in ingredients, frozen yogurt, unlike ice cream, incorporates cultured milk or yogurt while cream is usually used as the base for ice cream.
2. How they are made
Frozen yogurt and ice cream are made with different ingredients and through different processes.
3. Fat content
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ice cream should contain at least 10% milkfat to be considered ice cream. However, some ice cream can contain about 25% milkfat. Ice cream uses cream as a base and this is the source of its milk fat.
On the other hand, the fat in frozen yogurt comes from cultured milk. Full-fat frozen yogurt usually contains 3 to 6% milkfat, while low-fat frozen yogurt contains 2 to 4% milkfat.
Pasteurized milk is fermented with gut-friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus) to culture milk for frozen yogurt. However, the term “frozen yogurt” is not regulated by the FDA, so there is no requirement how much yogurt should be in the final product.
On the other hand, ice cream is not made with fermented milk products.
To make ice cream, cream is churned along with sugar, flavorings, and sometimes egg yolks until the batter is frozen. The amount of air folded into the mixture is also measured, as it helps impart a fluffy texture.
To make frozen yogurt, milk and sugar are heated together, before active bacterial cultures are added then it is allowed to cool and ferment. As the mixture freezes, air is folded into it to create a smoother texture.
It is important to note that frozen yogurt’s beneficial bacterial cultures may be killed during production in the freezing stage.
When it comes to nutrition, frozen yogurt and ice cream vary most by their fat and sugar contents. Frozen yogurt tends to be lower in fat and calories than ice cream but could have more added sugar. Both are good sources of calcium but contain no fiber.
5. Flavor and texture
Since frozen yogurt contains cultured milk, it typically has a tangier flavor and is a bit harder. Ice cream on the other hand generally has a fluffer, softer texture, which comes from the air that’s folded into it during the churning process.
The bottom line
The main difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is the dairy base. Ice cream uses cream while frozen yogurt uses cultured milk, which may contain probiotics.
The biggest nutritional difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt is the fat content. A cup of vanilla ice cream contains 275 calories, 15g of fat, and 9g of saturated fat while a cup of vanilla frozen yogurt contains 221 calories, 6g of fat, and 4g of saturated fat.
Frozen yogurt and ice cream are both delicious ways to treat yourself and if you eat either, do so in moderation.
Both ice cream and frozen yogurt contribute calcium and protein to your diet. However, both also contain added sugar, which may harm your health.
That been said, there are some potential health benefits of frozen yogurt.
Frozen yogurt makers use active bacterial cultures to ferment the milk. These probiotics may benefit your gut bacteria.
According to research, probiotic yogurt may improve your health by helping reduce your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as may help reduce anxiety and depression. However, these are just some of the potential health benefits of probiotics.
It is worth to note that these research looked at the effects of probiotic yogurt and not frozen yogurt.
Frozen yogurt may not have the same probiotic benefits as non-frozen yogurt, because not all of frozen yogurt’s live cultures may survive the freezing process.
So, ensure to read the label of the frozen yogurt to find out whether the frozen yogurt you are considering contains live cultures.
Another potential benefit of frozen yogurt is its lower lactose content when compared with ice cream. The fermentation process of frozen yogurt may reduce the amount of lactose in the final product. This means that people with lactose intolerance may digest frozen yogurt better than ice cream.
Since frozen yogurt and ice cream contain protein and calcium, they may be a healthier treat choice than chips, candy, or other empty-calorie foods.
However, both also deliver added sugars and calories. So, if you eat them, be sure to indulge only once in a while.
When you are treating yourself, consider controlling your portion size and the amount of extra toppings and flavorings you add. Frozen yogurt is usually sold as a self-serving product with a full toppings bar more than ice cream making it more difficult for you to gauge the size of your portion.
The average self-serve, soft frozen yogurt container holds 16 to 24 ounces of the creamy treat, so be careful to limit your portion size by asking for a child-sized serving container.
In addition, toppings bars include high sugar, low nutrient options like candies and syrups Toppings like these will add to the overall calorie and added sugar contents. Instead of adding these toppings, try adding fresh fruits and nuts to make your frozen yogurt more nutritious.
Which Should You Choose?
Which is healthier largely depends on how each is made and the ingredients they contain. Other things that can affect the overall nutrition content are the portion size and toppings.
Generally, frozen yogurt can have more added sugar while ice cream has more fat. Some frozen yogurt contains probiotics which may benefit your gut bacteria. To reap these benefits, look for frozen yogurt that contains live and active cultures.
Frozen yogurt with live cultures may be a perfect choice for people with lactose intolerance because it may have a lower lactose content.
If you are diabetic, you will probably want a lower sugar option. In that case, consider choosing ice cream as an occasional treat. Look for reduced sugar or no-sugar-added varieties.
Frozen yogurt will be a better choice if you are limiting your fat intake. Opt for lower fat or non-fat frozen yogurt.
Whether you choose frozen yogurt or ice cream, always check the product label because every brand and flavor will be different.
What is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream? Ice cream is higher in fat whereas frozen yogurt can be higher in added sugar.
Both frozen yogurt and ice cream use dairy and sugar but ice cream is made with cream while frozen yogurt uses cultured milk.
Frozen yogurt is tangier and a bit harder while ice cream is fluffier. The healthiest frozen yogurt contains live and active cultures which are beneficial to your gut.
Always check the product label as every brand and flavor has a different nutrient profile. Also, compare your options before buying.
Note: Both frozen yogurt and ice cream contain sugar and calories, so whichever you choose, enjoy it in moderation.