WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICE CREAM AND FROZEN YOGURT?

There are a few small differences between ice cream and frozen yogurt. The big difference is the main dairy ingredient. The other (smaller) difference is the nutrition.

ICE CREAM

Ice cream is a blend of dairy products (typically milk and/or cream), sweeteners, and other flavors that are churned while it freezes. Ice cream must have at least 10% milk fat, and weigh at least 4.5 pounds per gallon.

FROZEN YOGURT

Frozen yogurt is made a mixture of yogurt, milk, and cream. The term “frozen yogurt” is not regulated by the FDA, so there is not a standard for how much yogurt is actually in frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt still includes sweeteners and other flavors. Because yogurt is cultured milk, it tends to have a bit of a sour flavor, compared to milk. Frozen yogurt can also have this sour flavor. The amount of actual yogurt in the product and the amount of sweeteners or other flavors all have an effect on the amount of sourness you can taste in frozen yogurt.

NUTRITION

Regular frozen yogurt tends to have fewer calories and less fat than regular ice cream. However, with many low fat, no sugar added, and fat-free ice cream and frozen yogurt options available, that is not always the case.

Here is a comparison of nutrition labels from Prairie Farms Vanilla Ice Cream and Vanilla Frozen Yogurt.

per serving Prairie Farms Vanilla Ice Cream Prairie Farms Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Calories 130 120
Fat (grams) 7 2.5
Carbohydrates (grams) 16 20
Protein (grams) 2 3

While the frozen yogurt (of this brand and flavor) does have fewer calories and less fat than the ice cream, it has more carbohydrates. When you’re reading nutrition labels, it’s important to look at the whole picture.

One of the good things about yogurt is the “good” bacteria it contains. Unfortunately, this benefit is lost in frozen yogurt. Those bacteria are killed when the yogurt is frozen.

AIR

Did you know that both ice cream and frozen yogurt contain air? One of the ways that ice cream gets its texture is by introducing air into the ice cream (or frozen yogurt). This happens during the churning process. The more the ice cream is churned, the more air is “trapped” inside (this is called overrun). This is the same thing that happens when you make whipped cream with an electric mixer, or when you make ice cream at home. More air means the ice cream will be lighter and fluffier, but weigh less (think soft serve). Less air means the ice cream will be creamier and denser, but weigh more (think frozen custard). By mandating that ice cream must weigh at least 4.5 pounds per gallon, there is a limit on how much air can be included in the final product.

Quality grades on ice cream or frozen yogurt can help you predict what the consistency of the ice cream or frozen yogurt will be (and how much air it contains). Regular or economy ice cream will have the highest amount of air. Premium or super-premium will have less air, but more fat, and be much creamier?