Ice Cream vs Frozen Yogurt: Taste or Waistline Decision?

These cold desserts satisfy our taste buds on a hot day, cheer us up when we are down, put a smile on a child’s face, and are rewarding treats. The dilemma is choosing one or the other; what are the practical differences? Ice cream seems nostalgic and traditional while fro-yo is thought to be healthier, is trendy and usually has a world of toppings to consider. But which one is better for our waistline? The answer lies in the ingredients.


Ice cream is generally served by the scoop. We are confined to the number and size of the scoop. Frozen yogurt can be served according to our current level of willpower. This makes it easy to get carried away, especially when we serve ourselves and there are a few flavors we can’t pass up. A single trip ends up with a cup that has 5 different flavors inside. One cup of ice cream has about 267 calories whereas one cup of frozen yogurt has about 214 calories. Not a drastic difference, but one rarely avoids additional toppings on their frozen yogurt which easily surpasses the deficit.


Ice cream is higher in fat. Let’s make a comparison using vanilla. One cup of vanilla ice cream has 14 grams of fat compared to 0 to 4 grams in frozen yogurt. There are low fat and non-fat versions of frozen yogurt, but due to the milk content in ice cream the most common options are reduced fat or low fat.


One cup of ice cream has about 30 grams of sugar versus one cup of frozen yogurt which has between 15 and 40 grams. This all depends on the chosen flavor. Some health-conscious frozen yogurt makers do use honey or agave nectar instead of table sugar to help keep this ingredient low.


Ice cream is made of cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar. Salt is also added to enhance the final taste. Frozen yogurt is made of yogurt made from milk, including milk solids and milk fats. It also can contain corn syrup, flavorings, gelatin, emulsifiers and yogurt culture. Often times it is full of artificial sweeteners. Because frozen yogurt is made of milk instead of cream, it is better for your body, as milk contains vitamins and minerals we need.


This is the good bacteria our digestive tract appreciates. Ice cream does not contain any probiotics. However, frozen yogurt (key word being “yogurt”) does have many of the same probiotics as the yogurt we have for breakfast or a snack. However, the fact that frozen yogurt is “frozen” can diminish the survival rates of this bacteria.

Decision time

Both treats are refreshing and fun. Topped with hot fudge, fruits, or sprinkles, ice cream goes well with cake, cookies, and pie. Frozen yogurt can be a masterpiece with the line of toppings to pick from. Both are “sometimes” foods that of course require physical activity to counter act. When we were much younger, we could have a cone for dessert every night if we were so lucky. Now, the belt buckle can be a friendly reminder or deterrent.

Life is too short not to engage in a little indulgence. When we do treat ourselves, however, we can make better choices if we want to, remembering that this dessert is not going extinct so we have the opportunity to have more again in the future. This might help us to summon the willpower to go easy on the toppings which add more sugar, fat, calories, etc.


8/15/2022 4:00:00 AM
Megan Johnson McCullough
Megan is an NASM Master Trainer and Instructor, professional natural bodybuilder, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist, member of Men’s Heath Fitness Council, Wellness Coach, Women’s Health Magazine Action Hero, candidate for her Doctorate, and fitness st...
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