The bright neon coloured sign boards are a common sight in most city malls. With images of ripe berries and delicious looking dollops of the dessert luring customers in, frozen yoghurt is quite the rage. Often touted to be a healthier alternative to ice-cream or the ‘dieter’s dessert’ that does not compromise on taste,frozen yoghurt gets a lot of good publicity. Cynical as it sounds, anything that seems too good to be true, probably is. Does that mean frozen yoghurt is going to completely wreck your weight-loss plans? Not quite. We take a look at the sweet and not-so-sweet side of your friendly cup of fro-yo.

What distinguishes frozen yoghurt from ice-cream is essentially its fat content. A standard 100 gm serving of vanilla ice cream usually contains 11-15 gm milk fat from the addition of whole cream (approx. 10-16% of your daily value). Frozen yoghurt is a made from cultured milk and a same size serving of basic vanilla yoghurt contains roughly half the amount of milk fat. The ice cream also serves up nearly 9 gm saturated fat as opposed to the 4 gm delivered by frozen yoghurt. The low fat or non-fat varieties would contain even less. Frozen yoghurt and ice cream contain almost the same amount of milk protein (about 3-4 gm per 100 gm serving).

Sounds fantastic, so what’s the debate? This – The one thing most frozen yoghurt manufacturers skim over, is the sugar content.

A serving of frozen yoghurt is usually higher in carbohydrates from sugar than a serving of ice-cream. While a 100 gm serving of vanilla ice cream usually contains 15-17 gm sugar, a 100 gm serving of frozen yoghurt contains around 20-30 gm sugar. Excess carbs are stored as fat again. This excess sugar also creates a feeling of satiety for a shorter period of time. As sugar releases more insulin, it creates an insulin spike which drops down fast - leaving you with the desire of having more and affecting hunger signals which leads to more calorie intake.

This sugar content effectively translates into calories. So if you’re watching your daily calorie intake, bear in mind that a regular serving of basic non-fat yoghurtwithoutany toppings is approximately 120 calories. That means the fancier you make your dessert, the more calories you add. Go easy on sugary flavours like New York cheesecake and try sticking to basic ones like vanilla, dark chocolate, or a natural fruit. Following the same principle, reconsider toppings liked crushed candy bars, brownie bits, marshmallows, candied fruit, chocolate fudge sauce, etc. Instead get a helping of freshfruit (not preserved), and maybe some chopped almonds to increase the fibre, vitamin, and mineral quotient.

While the occasional serving of frozen yoghurt is certainly healthier than ice cream, natural yoghurt is still a better deal. Frozen yoghurt does not contain the probiotics in natural yoghurt that help boost immunity and are good for digestion, because most of these probiotics do not survive the extreme temperatures frozen yoghurt is stored at. Whizz some unsweetened yoghurt, fresh fruit, and ice in a blender for a more nutritious and healthier smoothie.

You don’t have to skip frozen yoghurt altogether, if you’re fond of it. All you need is to moderate frequency, serving size, and choice of flavours and toppings and you can savour your frozen fix without a guilt trip.

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