If you’ve ever been to one of the 25 Best Frozen Yogurt Shops Across the U.S., you’ll be familiar with the following scene: a seemingly endless supply of handles protrude from brightly colored walls, each labeled with some tantalizing flavor of sweet self-serve goodness. Past the yogurt dispensers, an endless field of bright, sugar-coated toppings awaits harvesting. No, this isn’t Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; this is a real-life chain froyo shop.
Frozen yogurt chains have made heaping piles of money by promoting their products as being healthier than ice cream, but we’re not so sure that such proclamations are accurate. While some frozen yogurt flavors certainly do have fewer calories than ice cream, not all of them are created equal. Frozen yogurt is just one of many foods that pretend to be healthy.
Beyond the actual yogurt, once you get to that unhealthy, salad bar-style toppings spread, it’s easy to add a bunch of sugar-laden candies that stand in stark opposition to proper nutrition. We’ve reached out to some dietary experts in order to hear their thoughts on frozen yogurt.
Based in New York, Dr. Rob Silverman is a certified nutrition specialist, a certified clinical nutritionist, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He’s an expert in the ways in which humans should be fueling their bodies, and he’ll help to show you the inside scoop on frozen yogurt.
“I have yet to find a frozen yogurt shop that doesn't sell toppings to go with all that delicious yogurt,” says Rebecca Lewis, in-house RD at HelloFresh. Those toppings, as you probably already know (even if your sweet tooth is telling you to deny it), just mean more calories and sugar on top of an already sugar-packed dessert.
Lara Felton, registered dietitian/nutritionist and head of the dietary team at ShopWell, says, “Froyo may be lower in calories and fat compared to ice cream, giving it a ‘health halo,’ but, unfortunately, it has a lot of added sugar just like other desserts.” She recommends enjoying every little bite of frozen yogurt with the same moderation as ice cream. “Because it’s lower in fat and sodium than ice cream, people tend to eat more than one serving size of frozen yogurt. Try ordering a child’s size yogurt and skip the toppings to keep sugar and calories lower. Frozen yogurt can have a place in a healthy diet when it's treated like, well, a treat.”
Click ahead to see what else nutrition experts have to say about frozen yogurt’s healthiness (or lack thereof).