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A Nutritional Guide to Frozen Yogurt

Have you ever found yourself waiting in a Pinkberry line, internally formulating the most convincing argument about why getting a large watermelon Fro-Yo is completely ok because after all it’s just yogurt not ice cream—oh and since yogurt is healthy it’s also ok to add brownie bites and cheesecake as your toppings! I do this just about every time I go to get Fro-Yo, which is often because I am an addict. For me, little can compare to tart frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, Butterfinger and raspberries. On behalf of all of my fellow Fro-Yo addicts who want to know once and for all whether Fro-Yo is a good dessert choice, I have created a guide to see how the actual nutritional info stacks up—Is Fro-Yo healthy? Which brand of Fro-Yo is the best for you? Which brand has the best taste along with the best nutrition?  We found out.
 
1. Pinkberry

The Nutritional Facts:
Per serving, 4 oz.: Calories- 100-140 (calories vary by flavor), Carbs- 21-30, Total Fat 0-10 grams
 
How Many Servings are in a…
 
Mini:.9 servings = 90- 126 Calories, 18.9- 27 Carbs, 0-9 Grams of Fat
Small:1.5 servings = 150-210 Calories, 31.5- 45 Carbs, 0-15 Grams of Fat
Medium:2.3 servings = 230-322 Calories, 48.3- 69 Carbs, 0-23 Grams of Fat
Large:3.8 = 380-532 Calories, 79.8-114 Carbs, 0-38 Grams of Fat
 
Anything else?
Pinkberry is a true Frozen Yogurt in that it contains live and active cultures. According to The Naughty Nutritionist, Catharine Arnston, live and active cultures are healthy live bacteria found in yogurt that can aid in digestion. Arnston explains, “in order to absorb nutrients your intestine must have probiotics, which yogurt can help supply.” Additionally, Pinkberry is Gluten-free.
 
Conclusion: Pinkberry’s claim to fame is that it is made from real yogurt and is therefore healthy for you. Since it is made from real yogurt with live and active cultures, Pinkberry is healthy for your digestion. However, there is a lot of sugar in Pinkberry and even more when you add all of your favorite toppings (keep in mind that those weren’t included with the calorie counts). Arnston says that original Pinkberry is the best Pinkberry flavor because it has the least amount of sugar. However, she cautions that all Pinkberry has more sugar than is healthy. Let’s be honest, Pinkberry led the revolution to make Fro-Yo a delicious and chic treat, and if you’re into tart-tasting yogurt, it has to be the very best.
 
2. Ben and Jerry’s Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt (all flavors)

 
The Nutritional Facts:
Per Serving 3.6 oz (Approximately one scoop):  Calories- 130-160, Carbs- 28-31, Total Fat- 1.5-2.5 grams
 
Anything else?
Most flavors are gluten-free. All of the Frozen Yogurt Flavors have four live yogurt cultures.
 
Conclusion: HC Style Editor Elyssa Goodman told me that her favorite Fro-Yo ever is Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked. Taste-wise I’m with her, and nutritionally, if you can actually stick to the one scoop serving size, Ben and Jerry’s yogurt doesn’t have many calories. Additionally, the toppings are included in the yogurt and therefore already accounted for in the calorie info- yay! However, Arnston warns that any Frozen Yogurt, including Ben and Jerry’s, has more sugar than is healthy. Surprisingly, she suggests indulging in regular Ben and Jerry’s ice cream rather than Fro-Yo. “Sugar causes your insulin to spike. Unlike Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream has fat which tempers your insulin levels,” Arnston said.  Something to keep in mind. 
 
3. Tasti D-Lite

 
The Nutritional Facts:
Per Serving, 4 oz.:
Small 1 serving = Calories- 70-100, Carbs- approx. 14 grams, Total Fat- 1.5 grams
Regular 2 servings = Calories- 140- 200, Carbs- approx. 28 grams Total Fat- 3 grams
Large 3 servings = Calories- 210- 300, Carbs- approx. 42, Total Fat- 4.5
 
Anything else?
Tasti D-Lite is not technically frozen yogurt because it does not contain any active cultures. Keep in mind, in order to keep Tasti so low-cal there are many artificial ingredients.
 
Conclusion: There is a Tasti D-Lite one block away from my apartment. As you can imagine, I became a very regular customer. However, Tasti D-Lite is not a natural dessert and does not have the same nutritional benefits other frozen yogurts have. For some, the artificial ingredients in the dessert cause upset stomachs. Arnston argues that Tasti D-Lite is not in fact Fro-Yo. She suggests only ordering the lowest sugar flavors and skipping the toppings when possible. I love Tasti but due to all the artificial ingredients and sugar content, I am trying to make it an occasional vice, instead of a daily staple. 
 
4. Trader Joe’s Frozen Yogurt

 
The Nutritional Facts:
Per serving 4 oz. (a half a cup): Calories- 110, Carbs- 20 grams, Total Fat- 0 grams
 
Anything else?
Trader Joe’s yogurt is really reasonably priced and you get a lot of yogurt per container. Most of the flavors are gluten-free. All of the Frozen Yogurt Flavors have live yogurt cultures.
 
Conclusion:
Trader Joe’s Yogurt is really tasty and tart. It tastes like Pinkberry but has the consistency of ice cream. I originally thought that for Fro-Yo, it seemed to be a good choice because it has no fat, a reasonable number of carbs and is relatively low-cal. However, Arnston again warns that no fat is not a benefit and can cause a spike in insulin to occur. On the plus side, unlike soft serve brands, this yogurt maintains taste even after sitting in the freezer for a long time.  Add your own fruit and toppings to reasonably priced Trader Joe’s tart flavors and they may just become your yogurt staple. My advice is to use this yogurt to make smoothies because its tart and sweet kick makes fruit drinks even more delicious.
 
 
Unfortunately, the conception that frozen yogurt is nutritionally healthy is mostly just a myth! However Fro-Yo is an amazing dessert—and should be considered just that. Like any sweet, eating Fro-Yo in moderation is fine and yogurt containing active cultures is healthy for your digestion!
 
Now that we have nutrition covered, The HC Team has weighed in to tell you their favorite Fro-Yo brands across the country…
 
I’m from Boston so my favorite is Berryline! It’s low fat, low cal and low sugar (the actual facts are on the website) and I love getting it with fresh fruit on top. 
– Kara Ktona, HC Intern
 
There’s a place in Pittsburgh called Simply Yogurt that my friends and I love. I work at a pool as a lifeguard, and we always go there after work. My favorite flavor is green tea.
– Gabriela Szewcow, Contributing Writer, Elon University
 
My favorite brand is without a doubt Red Mango. With fun flavors like pomegranate and Madagascar vanilla, Red Mango is for the ultimate fro-yo lover. Their signature mochi (small rice balls with a marshmallow texture) adds a delicious twist to every serving. I also recommend the Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.
– Gennifer L. Delman, contributing writer, Hofstra University
 
I’m totally obsessed with 40 Carrots- the froyo at Bloomingdales. It’s unbelievably creamy but still pretty light and comes in awesome flavors that aren’t full of fake sugars…excellent way to end a day of shopping!
– Katie Sanders, Contributing Writer, University of Pennsylvania
 
16 Handles in NYC is the best frozen yogurt restaurant possibly in the nation. All of the yogurt options are delicious, there is a huge variety of toppings, and what really separates it from everything else is the pricing. Pinkberry costs more than twice as much for about half the amount as you get from 16 Handles.
– Rebekah Meiser, Contributing Writer, Ohio University

There’s this great Fro-Yo chain called Sweet Frog that offers a wide variety of flavors. My favorite is Cappuccino. Sweet Frog gives you a wide variety of toppings from fruit to gummy bears and they price you by the pound.
– Rachel Dozier, Contributing Writer, James Madison University
 
Sources:
Tastidlite.com
Pinkberry.com
Traderjoes.com
Benandjerrys.com
The Naughty Nutritionist, Catharine Arnston

Allie Klein is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. She is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Writing, Psychology and Public Health. She is a native New Yorker who attended the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan. Allie is the Vice President of Marketing for the Washington University Female Association of Business, a Campus Correspondent for ChickRx.com and is on the philanthropy committee of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She previously interned for Lauren Fishman Events and College Prowler Online. Allie loves writing, playing golf and Central Park. She is a complete reality T.V show junkie who is in love with trying new restaurants and eating Crumbs cupcakes.
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