Difference between Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream

By: | Updated: Mar-2, 2018

If you know that mixed feeling of craving and guilt, then you too are a fan of ice cream, as well as a person who is careful to make calorie-smart choices. You may have heard that the option of frozen yogurt implies less fat and is a healthier choice. Is this true, or has this argument been contradicted by nutritionists like so many others before? In fact, what is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream?

Summary Table

Frozen yogurtIce cream
Is frozen yogurt, plain or with flavorsIs made with milk and cream
Tart flavorSweet
Can have up to 6% fatMust have 10-16% fat
Served with a wide variety of toppings like fruit, jam, chocolate, syrupThe flavors are added in during preparation; extra toppings can be added to the mix as well
Is better digested by lactose intolerant people, depending on the type of yogurt usedIs usually ill digested by lactose intolerant people, although there are dairy free options


Frozen yogurt with raspberry
Frozen yogurt with raspberry jam topping

Frozen yogurt, also known as frogurt or froyo, is a frozen dessert made from yogurt. It is mainly tart and lower in fat. Most frozen yogurt vendors allow customers to serve themselves and add the flavors and toppings they like. Many people believe that this frozen dessert has all of the beneficial bacteria yogurt has. Unfortunately, unlike yogurt, its frozen cousin is not a regulated food. This means that it may or may not have the beneficial bacteria. Officially, it is only required to contain curdled milk and cultures.

As far as fat and calories go, frozen yogurt can only be as fattening as consumers make it, and it can also depend on how much you eat and the type of toppings you go for. A serving of half a cup of plain frozen yogurt can have between 116 and 130 calories, 0 to 2 grams of fat and 16 to 20 grams of sugar. Also, simple fresh fruit will do, but chocolate chips, granola, syrup and jams may add calories instead of being a healthier option. There is 0.5 to 6 percent milk fat in frozen yogurt, while sweeteners make up 15 to 17 percent of its entire weight.

bowl of ice cream
A bowl of ice cream

Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from milk and cream, with a fat percentage of 10 to 16. It is usually sweetened and combined with fruit or other flavors such as vanilla, cocoa, or pistachio. There are many types of ice cream, from the Italian gelato – considered the peak of the frozen dessert industry, made with premium ingredients and less aired (in a process called overrun which makes it fluffy) – to sorbet, which is made without any dairy products and with fruit juices and purees.

Variations of ice cream can also be categorized according to the fat content. There is non-fat, low fat, light and regular ice cream. Also, while there are a lot of flavors to choose from, they are all added in the production process and served as a finished product.

Frozen Yogurt vs Ice Cream

So what is the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream?

Frozen yogurt is made with yogurt while ice cream is made from cream and milk. At least in theory, frozen yogurt has less fat than ice cream, simply based on the main ingredient. Ice cream must be at least 10 percent fat, while frozen yogurt has up to 6 percent fat. In reality, it depends on how much fat is in either type of dairy. In theory, frozen yogurt should be the healthier option with its tart taste and fruit toppings. In reality, some frozen yogurt vendors add a lot of sweeteners and flavors.

With the introduction of so many flavors of frozen yogurt, this dessert is becoming increasingly similar to ice cream. The way in which it is served can still make a difference. People can pour their frozen yogurt themselves and add the toppings and syrups they want. Getting a frozen yogurt is an experience.

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