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Froyo = Frozen Yogurt
The frozen yogurt industry has become a very profitable one, with around 2 billion dollars of revenues per year. And, while the vast majority of consumers are females, it comes as no surprise that local shops claiming to sell the “real deal” popped across the country, promising to deliver healthy snacks with low calorie intakes and maximum taste, at advantageous prices. But exactly how healthy are frozen yogurts and Fro-yo in particular?
Myths about frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurts are naturally low-fat, so I can eat how much I want. This is partially true, because it only refers to the regular, plain type of frozen yogurt which is up to 35 calories per ounce. But who eats regular frozen yogurt, without adding at least one delicious topping?
Moreover, no matter how low-calorie this product might seem, it will still add up to your daily dietary plan if you eat more than 3-4 scoops. And while the maximum recommended intake of plain frozen yogurt is of around 5 ounces per day, the numbers of ounces drops dramatically with each type of topping you add.
The toppings do not add too many calories. Again, partially true. If you strictly refer to frozen or fresh fruits as toppings, you can enjoy a large scoop of them because fruits will not make you fat. However, the more toppings you choose, the more calories you will consume.
Chocolate chips? Try adding 150 calories. Cereals? They add 116 calories and about 3 grams of fat per ounce. Not to mention the delicious melted toppings like jam or marmalade. Remember, everything that is not entirely natural will add a high number of calories per intake, no matter how delicious and healthy look at the first peak.
Frozen yogurt is packed of good bacteria that will improve my digestive system. While yogurt does contain a high amount of probiotics which are good for the health of your digestive system, not all those bacteria make it into your digestive track.
Extremely low temperatures like in the case of frozen yogurt or the acidity of your stomach could prevent the healthy bacteria to reach your digestive system.
“Real” or “organic” frozen yogurt is better for me than the versions sold at Fro-yo. This myth is false. While Froyo probably represents the largest and most renowned retailer of frozen yogurt worldwide, it is quite similar to the one sold by regular or non brand shops.
Sure, the recipe is slightly different, but deep down, no matter how “organic” you think you can make it, they are all comparable. The difference, depending on the type of frozen yogurt chosen and the local retailer you put your trust in, can be of up to 20 calories per ounce.
However, even the amount of sugars and fats contained is comparable. So, unfortunately for those who are on a diet and care for that “beach body”, Froyo is probably as healthy as all other retailers of frozen yogurt.
So is Froyo healthy ?
Again, this question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. There are advantages and downsides of this particular type of desert, just like with any other type of food we regularly purchase. Sure, frozen yogurt and Froyo in particular do offer lower calorie intakes per serving than conventional deserts (think of chocolate cookies, cheesecakes, candies or pies), but they are still serving a few grams of fat and sugar.
Heavy marketing and “renowned” nutritionists have boosted this industry in America for a few years, reaching an average rise of 21% since 2008, meaning more and more Americans appeal to frozen yogurt and Froyo for the illusion of losing calories but not giving up on tasty deserts.
When it comes to Froyo, it is a better and healthier alternative than most deserts bought from supermarkets or local cake shops, but it is still packed with high intakes of fats and sugars. The myth that frozen yogurt is actually healthier than ice cream is also partially true and partially false.
Again, depending on the type of ingredients used, a regular scoop of ice cream could, in fact, have lower amounts of processed sugars and fats than 100 grams of frozen yogurt. Moreover, while some preach that frozen yogurt has bigger benefits on the human health since it contains probiotics, this is not entirely true either.
As previously mentioned, given the extreme freezing process that yogurt undertakes until it becomes the Froyo ultimate product, numerous healthy bacteria are lost on the way. Thus, in the end, only a small amount of those bacteria will reach your digestive system, but not enough to make a major improvement.
Heavy marketing represents the easiest way to develop a brand and create a need for an already obese population. With more than 60% of Americans suffering from obesity or overweight, it comes as no surprise that slimming products, diets and “miraculous” cures become one of the most benefic business in the field.
The same happens with Froyo which is usually marketed as a healthy alternative to regular deserts and foods. Sure, comparing with the number of calories offered by an average cheesecake (up to 600) or a home-made apple pie (around 400, without powder sugar), frozen yogurt seems like a much healthier alternative.
However, when comparing to regular fresh or frozen fruits, dehydrated fruits or raw-vegan desert alternatives, frozen yogurt does not seem as competitive as before.
Thus, in this case as well the key is moderation. You should not behold from eating frozen yogurt once in a while, but do not make it your daily desert obsession because it still contains an important amount of sugars and saturated fats that will determine you to run some extra miles at the gym in order to lose.
Have smaller servings and, as much as possible, stick to the regular, “plain” type of Froyo, without those delicious and full of sugar toppings like chocolate crisps, cookie crisps, cereals, jam, etc.