4 Reasons Why Frozen Yogurt May Not Be Healthier Than Ice Cream

4 Reasons Why Frozen Yogurt May Not Be Healthier Than Ice Cream

Nothing cools you down on a hot, sunny day quite like a creamy treat in a cup and/or cone. But with the various options available, which one should you opt for – a double scoop ice cream or a cup of frozen yogurt?

As reported by CNN, market research in the United States shows that the sales and demand for frozen yogurt have increased at an average rate of 21% each year since 2008. Meanwhile, the number of frozen yogurt shops has doubled within the last seven years. This trend can also be seen in the local scene here in Singapore, with new brands of frozen yogurt being introduced in the market – from the likes of Yoguru to llao llao and Red Mango.

Since its introduction, frozen yogurt has gained popularity due to the belief that it makes a healthier alternative to ice cream. This is confirmed by the results of a survey conducted by Menchies, a frozen yogurt chain in the United States, with 95% of respondents believing that the softer variant is a better choice.

However, upon digging into the nutritional facts and content of the yogurt, it is found that the smooth soft-serve dessert may not be living up to the popular belief that it is a healthier alternative to ice cream. Here are some reasons why you might want to think twice before enjoying your next cup of frozen yogurt:

1. When yogurt is frozen, the probiotics no longer work

Yogurt is often highly raved for its probiotics which benefit our gut and immune system. However, once it goes through the freezing process, some of the healthy gut bacteria may get killed along the way. To compensate, some frozen yogurt manufacturers add extra probiotics after production.

It is also worth to note that not all “frozen yogurt” products contain live and active cultures. According to the National Yogurt Association (NYA) in the United States, some so-called “frozen yogurts” use yogurt which has been heat-treated, which kills the live and active cultures, or they may simply add in cultures to the mix together with acidifiers and skip the fermentation process altogether.

To make sure that your favourite frozen yogurt contains all-natural yogurt produced via traditional fermentation and has a significant amount of live and active culture, look for the NYA Live & Active Cultures seal (widely used in the United States) or its equivalent. Do check out the NYA’s list of brands and companies who carry this seal.

2. Frozen yogurt is made with Mexican agave syrup instead of sugar

See that “sugar-free” sign on your favourite frozen yogurt packaging?

While frozen yogurt is touted as being sugar-free, it is actually made from agave syrup, a sweetener which comes from the same plant that is used to make tequila and is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. Agave has approximately 60 calories per tablespoon, compared to 40 calories in the same amount of sugar. With its high fructose content, agave may not cause a spike in blood sugar levels, but it is just as harmful to your body when consumed in excessive amounts.

3. The ingredient list for frozen yogurt goes beyond just milk and cultures

Milk in its natural form comes with some fat content. In order to remove the fat, it would need to be processed while adding sugar to give it the smooth and creamy texture. Similarly, the list of ingredients for producing frozen yogurt goes beyond just milk and live cultures, which can be seen as follows:

  • Milk solids, processed milk product
  • Refined sweetener such as Mexican agave syrup, corn syrup or evaporated cane syrup
  • Yogurt culture
  • Natural and artificial flavourings and colourings
  • Trans fat
  • Preservatives
  • Stabilisers and thickeners such as guar gum or carrageenan
  • Other fillers such as cellulose gum

4. Being “fat free” does not give you the ticket to overindulge

There are approximately four grams of fat in a serving of frozen yogurt compared to seven grams in a single serve of ice cream. However, this may not work in your favour as the absence of fat fails to keep you satisfied after a small cup of frozen yogurt. As a result, you will end up with a larger cup, thinking that you are taking in half the amount of calories compared to ice cream.

“People trick themselves into thinking they can eat more, when in fact the smallest cup still tends to be pretty big. You’ll get something that’s 300 to 400 calories-worth,” says Alissa Rumsey, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She cautioned that adding toppings in excessive amounts in your cup of frozen yogurt is likely to add on another few hundred calories. Her advice for this is to stick to one to two spoonfuls of nuts or fruits for that extra crunch.


It is important to enjoy all types of food in moderation. For information and medical advice on diet and nutrition, book an appointment with our resident doctor at MindChamps Medical now.


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