Packed with calcium, protein, and gut-friendly probiotics, yogurt is one of the healthiest snacks you can buy. It seems only natural that frozen yogurt would be just as good for you, but sadly that's not always the case. Ever since I was a child, I've absolutely loved frozen yogurt. It's always been my go-to on a warm summer day and my favorite pick-me-up when I was feeling down. We all know that regular yogurt and frozen yogurt aren't the exactly same, but what is frozen yogurt, and is it healthy? Few of us actually know the answer. 

Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream

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Josi Miller

While most people think of frozen yogurt as the healthier alternative to ice cream, there really isn't much of a difference. Frozen yogurt is also composed of milk, sugar, and natural and artificial flavorings. The only major difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is the amount of cream that's in each. 

In order to legally be classified as ice cream, there must be a certain amount of cream present. The United States standard for ice cream says that it must "contain not less than 20 percent total milk solids, constituted of not less than 10 percent milkfat." Frozen yogurt, on the other hand, isn't made with cream and doesn't have a fat requirement

So what gives frozen yogurt its soft texture? The answer is air. Lots of air is incorporated during the churning process. More air leads to a lighter texture with less weight, which is what makes frozen yogurt lighter than ice cream (and what tricks us into thinking it's healthier). Ice cream also has air whipped into it, but because there are weight requirements for ice cream only so much air can be added to the final product.

What's in Frozen Yogurt?

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Gabby Phi

In addition to the usual ingredients like milk, yogurt, and sugar, frozen yogurt contains lots of added chemicals. Some of the most commonly used additives include: maltodextrin, sodium citrate, cellulose gum, and disodium phosphate. So before you choose which frozen yogurt brand to eat, you might want to look into what their fro-yo is made of.

#SpoonTip: Some brands of frozen yogurt are healthier than others. Red Mango focuses on adding less artificial flavoring and coloring, and their fro-yo doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. That's not to say it's super healthy for you, just that it's a better option than many other chains. 

While there's nothing I love more than frozen yogurt on a hot day (who am I kidding, I would eat it even if it were snowing out), it's important to realize that it's not as healthy as it may seem. It's always good to make healthy food choices but, hey, is depriving yourself healthy? Definitely not. So enjoy your fro-yo in moderation when a craving hits.