Ice cream is a dessert treat you have probably enjoyed since childhood. On a hot day, a cool dish or cone of ice cream can be just the ticket. However, many types of ice cream tend to be high in calories and fat. In recent years, frozen yogurt has entered the scene as a dessert that may offer the same sweet benefits as ice cream but with less fat and calories. But the question of whether or not frozen yogurt actually is "healthier" than ice cream depends on the type of frozen yogurt and ice cream you are comparing. Any treat made with sugar and whole fat milk is going to be higher in calories and fat.
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Ice cream and frozen yogurt are both products made from dairy products. The calorie content of ice cream and frozen yogurt may be similar if they are made from whole fat dairy; the calories and fat content of ice cream will be higher if it made with cream. A one-half cup serving of homemade banana frozen yogurt contains 121 calories and one-half cup of vanilla ice cream contains 130 calories. The same size serving of fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt only has 80 calories and low-fat fudge ripple ice cream has 120 calories.
Although your diet does require a bit of fat each day, eating a lot of high-fat foods increases your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 20 to 35 percent of your calories from fat, and no more than 7 percent from saturated fat. There are 7 g total fat with 5 g saturated fat in one serving of vanilla ice cream and 2 g total fat with 2 g saturated fat in homemade banana frozen yogurt. One-half cup of fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt contains no fat.
Carbohydrates and Sugar
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy, coming from the breakdown of starches and sugars during digestion. Sugars added to processed foods, such as ice cream and frozen yogurt, offer little nutrition other than adding calories. Limit sugar intake to 20 grams a day for women and 36 grams a day for men, recommends Yale University. One-half cup of homemade banana frozen yogurt has 22 g of carbohydrates with 12 grams of sugar, while vanilla ice cream contains 17 grams of carbohydrate and 10 grams of sugar. There is no added sugar in fat-free, sugar-free ice cream served on its own, but some popular toppings -- such as marshmallows, chocolate chips or graham cracker crumbs -- can boost your sugar intake.
Sodium, an essential nutrient, is also needed in your diet each day. However, you don't need a lot, and getting too much can actually increase your chances of developing high blood pressure and heart problems. Most processed foods do have added sodium. Ice cream and frozen yogurt contain similar amounts of sodium per serving. A one-half cup serving of homemade banana frozen yogurt contains 67 mg of sodium, and the same amount of vanilla ice cream has 45 mg.