Frozen yogurt is often seen as a healthier alternative to ice cream. That’s how it was first marketed, it’s why it became popular and it’s still a major driving force behind its continued popularity. But are these claims true and what happens when you compare ice cream and frozen yogurt? As always, that’s where our Versus articles come in as we compare Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream.
Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream: Preparation
There isn’t much goodness in ice cream because it’s simply cream and sugar, as well as flavorings. In frozen yogurt, however, they often use probiotic cultures. These cultures, and other cultures, can add a zesty flavor to the yogurt, but they can also aid with digestive health.
The problem is, the freezing process can kill a lot of these probiotics and your stomach acid will kill many more. Still, we know that yogurt is healthy and we know that Fro-yo contains many of the same things that make yogurt healthy. So, when you compare frozen yogurt vs ice cream in terms of health benefits in the way they are made and process, Fro-yo definitely comes out on top.
Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream: Calories and Nutrition
If we focus on the basic flavors, which would be “plain” for frozen yogurt and “vanilla” for ice cream, then this is how the nutrition stacks up.
There are around 290 calories per cup of ice cream and around 230 per cup of frozen yogurt. Of his, there are five grams of protein in both and a little more carbs and sugar in frozen yogurt. The fat content is substantially different though. In ice cream there are around 15 grams, which is three times more than you will find in frozen yogurt.
Obviously, there is less fat in yogurt than there is in cream, but the frozen yogurt makers add more sugar to make up for this. So, you don’t get the full mouth feel to the same extent, but you get more sweetness and this usually makes up for it. Frozen Yogurt also tends to be thicker, which makes up for the lack of fat and helps to provide more of a creamy texture.
If you’re looking to reduce your sugar intake then you might actually be better off with ice cream, or with a low-sugar Fro-yo. If, however, it’s all about calories and fat, then the frozen yogurt comes out on top.
Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream: Cost and Variety
Fro-yo is seen as more of a specialty product, even though everyone seems to be doing it these days. In the early days it was much more expensive than it is now, but it still costs more than ice cream in many stores.
Frozen yogurt was at its most popular in the 1990s and it peaked in 1995 in the United States. In this year it is said that more than 150 million gallons were sold, a number that dropped to around 60 million gallons a decade later, only to climb back up to around 80/90 million in 2017. The majority of these sales are in the 18 to 35 age group, with 7 out of 10 buyers being female.
But what about ice cream? Well, this number is quite a lot higher and ice cream has big fans across all demographics. The amount of ice cream sold every year in the United States is closer to 900 million gallons and it is said that the average American will personally consume 23 gallons of the stuff every year.
That’s around $250 worth of ice cream purchased from stores like Ben and Jerry’s. Depending on how much you love this stuff, that’s either far too much, or nowhere near enough.
Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream: Popularity
Believe it or not, Fro-Yo is almost as popular as ice cream, or rather it is in the United States. Consumers tend to prefer the lighter, whipped varieties of ice cream such as gelato and this product always comes out on top. But there are also a great number of consumers who put Fro-yo under the same umbrella and prefer it to ice cream.
The problem is, once you go outside of the United States, the numbers change and there is a certain Fro-yo discrimination taking shape. Gelato and whipped products are still the most popular, but frozen yogurt doesn’t quite have the same appeal as it does in the United States. This is more of a branding issue than anything else. In the US, it spread quickly because consumers were led to believe it was healthy and because many big brands were marketing it. Elsewhere, the big marketing drives didn’t happen so ice cream remains king.
Frozen Bananas vs Ice Cream
There is a new trend for freezing bananas and some other fruits, whizzing them up in a food processor and then serving them as ice cream. You may have see the many videos of such frozen treats on social media. They look great, a lot like ice cream, and that’s the big appeal.
The problem is, they taste like frozen bananas with a handful of frozen strawberries. It doesn’t magically turn into ice cream just because you freeze it and scoop it. Sure, it’s a lot healthier, with stacks of vitamins and minerals, but it’s frozen fruit, you probably knew that already. It’s no more an alternative for ice cream than water is an alternative for whiskey.
If you eat a lot of ice cream then this treat is not going to impress you. If you don’t or can’t eat ice cream, then it might just work. It’s certainly worth a try, but don’t expect miracles.
Other Healthy Alternatives for Ice Cream
There are a few other alternatives for ice cream and Fro-yo. The reason these exist is because everyone loves ice cream and frozen yogurt and everyone wants to be healthy. In other words, they exist because there is a huge market for them and a lot of consumers willing to throw money at anything that taste great and is healthy.
The problem is, such things don’t really exist. You need the sugar and the fat to mimic the taste. Sure, you can try almond milk and coconut oil and sure they might work to an extent, but only because the former tends to be full of sugar and the latter is basically fat. The closest we have found to the real deal is simple, fresh, natural Fro-Yo. There is a certain zesty quality to it that takes some getting used to, but it’s low in fat and sugar and if you’re a fan of lemon/lime ice creams and sorbets, then you might just love it.