Taste Test: Frozen Yogurt

We've been searching for a lighter alternative to ice cream for the hot summer days. For this taste test, we tried five popular brands. I definitely found some faves that I'm bringing home to the family.

Dana and I are both ice cream fanatics, but I’ve been wanting to find some lower-calorie treats (that don't have artificial sweeteners) to enjoy during these hot days. For this taste test, we tried five brands from our local markets to see how their flavors measured up.

NOTE: Below we list the brand, share nutrition info (per 1/2-cup servings) and give it a rating based on taste, creaminess and the healthier aspects.

Rating: 4.5

Nutrition Info (per 1/2 cup): 100 calories; 3 grams of total fat; 1.5 grams of saturated fat

Our Take: My dad got in on the action and tasted some of the Edy’s. Although he’s a chocolate fanatic, he agreed that it had a nice, creamy consistency. This yogurt is also labeled "gluten-free." While yogurt is gluten-free naturally, many manufacturers may package their yogurts in facilities that also handle products containing wheat.

Rating: 3

Nutrition Info: 140 calories; 6 grams of total fat; 3.5 grams of saturated fat

Our Take: This brand had a nice, sweet vanilla flavor, but it was a little too sweet for my taste buds. The consistency was icy and felt grainy in my mouth. Dana’s suggestion: Try it in a milkshake with some fresh fruit and skim milk.

*Note: The nutrition label on product says it contains 150 calories while the website states 140 per 1/2 cup. Ingredients listed in both places are the same.

Rating: 5

Nutrition Info: 100 calories; 0 grams of total fat; 0 grams of saturated fat

Our Take: In terms of creaminess and calories, this yogurt was awesome. Both Dana and I were shocked that it tasted so good. Stonyfield is known for using organic and all-natural ingredients that don't have added antibiotics or synthetic hormones. They also use rice syrup for sweetness (maybe that’s the secret?).

Rating: 4

Nutrition Info: 200 calories; 4.5 grams of total fat; 2.5 gram of saturated fat

Our Take: Although it had a very creamy texture, this baby was way too sweet. They get props for using all natural ingredients with no preservatives or thickeners, but if you’re trying to watch those calories, this probably shouldn’t be your first choice -- it was the highest of them all.

*Note: The product's label says it contains 180 calories, 2.5 grams of total fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving; we list the website information above.

Rating: 4

Nutrition Info: 140 calories; 3 grams of total fat; 2 grams of saturated fat

Our Take: Don’t you love when you can see those vanilla specs? The texture was creamy and the flavor was decent. Cane juice and tapioca syrup were two listed sweeteners.

*Note: Julie's is a smaller brand and may not be carried in all supermarkets.

How Does It Compare to Regular Yogurt?
All the yogurts we tasted contained 10 to 20% of your daily calcium needs in their 1/2-cup serving. That made these a decent alternative to the regular yogurts you might already be eating. When checking labels further, I noticed that all the frozen yogurt brands had different live cultures in them. I wondered: don't the live cultures die when frozen? Why would all the companies list them?

I found the answer to that on Stonyfield Farm's Q&A section of their website. It seems that, once frozen, the yogurt's cultures become dormant (and some die), but they’ll become active again when thawed. Since there are billions of live cultures in the yogurt (billions!), the handful that don’t make it past your freezer aren’t a big deal. Why do the cultures matter? This Tufts Journal article has a good synopsis of frozen yogurt's cultures and any benefits they have.

TELL US: Agree? Disagree? Do you have a favorite frozen yogurt?

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