Why fro yo isn’t healthier than ice cream

Fro yo. The biggest fast food dessert craze to hit North America since Blizzards and McFlurries. It’s cold, it’s creamy, it’s sweet, and best of all, it’s healthy! Or so the companies tell you. I mean, it’s yogurt, so it’s basically a health food right?

Why fro yo isn't healthier than ice cream

Okay, you guys are probably smart enough to know that fro yo is far from a health food. But I wanted to write this post to highlight how seriously ridiculous it is to think that fro yo is a nutritious choice.

So to prove my point, check out the nutrition facts for the French Vanilla fro yo from Yogurty’s, a popular Canadian chain:

French vanilla fro yo nutrition

That’s 120 calories and 22 g of sugar in a half cup serving. And this doesn’t include all the fudge sauce, M&Ms, chocolate chips, and gummy bears that inevitably make their way on top of your fro yo (which easily add another 200 plus calories to your bowl). Now compare that to the nutrition information for the same size serving of Breyers French vanilla ice cream:

Breyers French Vanilla ice cream nutrition facts

It also 120 calories for a half cup serving, but it’s actually 6 g lower in sugar!

Now I should mention that Breyers ice cream is filled with additives like guar gum and cellulose gum, which decrease its caloric density. If you look at Haagen Dazs – which is real ice cream made with just cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla – it has a much higher caloric density and fat content (250 calories and 17 g fat in a half cup). But a) most ice cream from ice cream shops is probably more similar to the Breyers ice cream, and b) when you eat ice cream, you don’t tend to put any toppings on it because you want to let the richness of the ice cream shine through, so even a serving of Haagen Dazs may end up being even less calories than fro yo loaded with toppings.

Bottom line: Just eat the damn ice cream!* Or have fro yo if that’s what you prefer. But my point is if you think you’re making a healthier choice by opting for the latter… you’re not.

*Obligatory dietitian clarification: in moderation

Looking for more nutrition posts? Check out these:

Are “healthy choices” on restaurant menus actually healthy?
Is coconut oil good for you?
How to choose a healthy granola bar


Filed under nutrition

32 Responses to Why fro yo isn’t healthier than ice cream

  1. Yep, not surprising at all…….I know mine definitely isn’t with the amount of toppings I put on there, but I definitely do enjoy it as a treat. I always try to correct people when they tell me its healthy……even if they do just have fruit, but I feel like it is so expensive, it is not worth it for that!

  2. Love love this post, Chelsea! It drives me nuts when people think that they are being healthy by choosing a bowl full of chemicals and sugar….er no! Don’t get me wrong, I do love the occasional Pinkberry but I definitely don’t consider it healthier than ice cream. And I love that you added the point about toppings in ice cream versus fro yo-! No wonder I love the latter plain Jane style- it allows me to appreciate the ice cream in all its delicious glory!

  3. Great post!! Frozen yogurt is one of those foods that are deceptively marketed as “healthy”. I like fro-yo as a treat, but I usually prefer ice-cream or gelato. Here in Switzerland, frozen yogurt is actually not that popular so there are a lot more places that sell ice cream than fro-yo.

  4. Haha I do love fro-yo, but lately we’ve just been having Breyer’s ice cream, because I know it IS the same haha. But sometimes I do need those yummy toppings!

  5. Thank you. It kind of drives me nuts when people are find with eating froyo by the pound but refuse to eat ice cream because it’s “not as healthy.” It’s nuts how easily the media can influence our thinking. And that’s spot on about the toppings, too. You don’t usually see people loading up on toppings when they get ice cream, but more often than not, you can’t even see the froyo underneath all the toppings that are loaded on there.

  6. Amen, amen, amen,

    The thing that really knots my knickers about the froyo stuff is your ingesting a bunch of crap and chemicals over ingredients you can pronounce and recognize and all because of a little fat. Give me the fat any day of the week. Oh and by the way, Canadian ice cream has a higher butter fat content than it’s American counterpart (same goes for Europe) which makes it infinitely better in my book. Long live Canada.

    • Chelsea

      I totally agree. Fro yo has less fat, but more sugar. And I’d take fat over sugar any day (not only for taste, but it’s better nutrition wise too).

      Guess you need to come live in Canada eh? ;)

  7. I love froyo but I always know when I’m eating it that it’s far from a health food. And sometimes a little bit of the real thing is even better — case in point, Jeni’s Ice Cream. Two small scoops is always enough and it tastes like frozen cream, not ice cream, if you know what I mean. It’s so, so so delicious. There are definitely days when I just want a huge thing of froyo though ;)

  8. I’ve never understood why people prefer fro-yo over real ice cream. Without all the toppings to mask the flavour, it’s SO GROSS!!! (And it hurts my stomach)

    If I’m gonna eat ice cream, I always go for hagen dasz or Marble Slab! Wait, scratch that. Now that I’m in the mountains, I go to COWS for ice cream. MMMM.

    • Chelsea

      I legit can’t eat any of those brands (stupid allergies). The only ice cream I can really eat is Chapman’s, which isn’t really real ice cream. Hence why I started making my own. Sooo much better!

  9. Ugh Fro Yo. I love it. Well, that’s a lie — mostly I just love the toppings. But I’ve found that most FroYo places (including Pinkberry) make my stomach bloat up almost immediately, so I hardly ever have it anymore. Plus — real ice cream is just so good. If I’m going to have ice cream, it’s from a local place in Boston called Toscaninis– I’ve never had better!

  10. YESSSSSS. When I went through the fat free phase, I lived off this stuff (like, huge huge servings) because it was fat free…I’d always be starving after because it was pure sugar!

  11. YES YES YES! and ice cream is so much more satisfying! don’t get me wrong – i do love me some froyo… but after eating it for a long time and avoiding ice cream… i went back and WOAH no comparison!

  12. I find it comical when people think Fro-Yo is healthier than Ice Cream, BAHHH HA AH AH AH AHA HA HA! IT IS ICE CREAM PEOPLE – common now! They’re both FULL OF SUGAR!

  13. Totally an ice cream girl vs. fro yo. I want the rich stuff if I’m going for it!

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  16. Great post! People think fro yo is a healthier option and it’s honestly worse. Plus it’s full of preservatives and lower in protein. There’s a place here in sf that makes fro yo out of their actual greek yogurt and I’ll totally eat that!

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