If you're among the over 34 million Americans with diabetes, your doctor may suggest limiting your intake of fat and refined sugars. Fat-free and sugar-free frozen yogurt can serve as an occasional treat, as long as you don't overindulge.
Fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt isn't always true to its name. However, frozen yogurt made with nonfat milk and sweetened without sugar might be a healthier option than its regular version for diabetics.
This snack food isn't necessarily "bad" for you when compared to other snack foods. But even though sugar-free yogurt made with nonfat milk has less fat than full-fat yogurt, it's neither calorie-free nor sugar-free, so you can't eat unlimited amounts.
Count the Calories
Because fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt is made from milk, it still has nutrients and calories. According to nutrition information obtained from the USDA, chocolate frozen yogurt made with nonfat milk, sweetened without sugar contains 199 calories per 1-cup serving.
If you consume an average 2,000 calories per day, one serving equals 10 percent of your daily calorie allowance. In contrast, a regular chocolate frozen yogurt contains 228 calories. Although the fat-free, sugar-free yogurt is less calories, you're only saving 29 calories by eating the other version.
Don't Overlook Fat and Sugar
Regular frozen chocolate yogurt contains more than 6 grams of compared to the version made with non-fat milk, which contains 1.5 grams of fat. Choosing that version over regular frozen yogurt will reduce your fat intake but will not completely eliminate it.
Regular frozen yogurt also contains a saturated fats — the kind that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
One cup of regular frozen yogurt has almost 4 grams of saturated fat while the lower-fat version only has 1 gram.
The AHA recommends that no more than 5 to 6 percent of your daily calories come from saturated fat. If you're concerned about your fat intake, low-fat frozen yogurt is a better option than full-fat.
The chocolate sugar free frozen yogurt that is sweetened without sugar still contains sugar, because milk contains natural sugars. This version is lower in sugar, with 23.5 grams compared to 33.5 grams in the regular version. If you're concerned about your sugar intake, sugar-free frozen yogurt for diabetes is a better option. Both have similar total carbohydrate counts, containing around 37 grams of carbohydrate each.
Low-fat sugar-free frozen yogurt isn't the same as low-carb frozen yogurt. If you're counting carbohydrates on your diabetic diet, eating low-fat, sugar-free frozen yogurt won't decrease the carb count, which comes from the milk content.However, it does decrease the amount of refined sugars, which are added during processing.
Beware Sugar Alcohol Side Effects
Artificial sugars such as sugar alcohols can make it possible for you to enjoy more "sweets" if you have diabetes. These sugar substitutes can be found in many processed foods, including frozen yogurt. However, there can be a downside to these ingredients.
Some sugar substitutes — particularly sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol and erythritol — can cause significant gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"
- American Diabetes Association: "Statistics About Diabetes"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Frozen Yogurts, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Without Sugar"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Frozen Yogurts, Chocolate"
- Mayo Clinic: "Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes"