Is Fat-Free, Sugar-Free Frozen Yogurt Bad for Diabetics?

Frozen Yogurt on a pier with background blur
A waffle cone filled with strawberry frozen yogurt. (Image: KassyDavis/iStock/Getty Images)

If you have 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. This snack food isn’t necessarily “bad” for you when compared to other snack foods. But even though fat-free, sugar-free yogurt has less fat than full-fat yogurt, it’s neither calorie-free nor sugar-free, so you can’t eat unlimited amounts.

Calories

Because low-fat, sugar-free frozen yogurt is made from milk, it has more calories than you might think. According to nutrition information obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture website, chocolate fat-free frozen yogurt with no sugar added 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 221 calories, so you’re only saving 22 calories by eating the low-fat, sugar-free version.

Fats in No-Fat Yogurt

If you have diabetes, you have two to four times the risk of dying from heart disease than people without diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. High cholesterol levels contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, eating saturated fats causes a rise in cholesterol levels. Regular frozen chocolate yogurt contains more than 6 grams of fat and 23 milligrams of cholesterol, compared to the low-fat version, which contains 1.5 grams of fat and just 7 milligrams of cholesterol. Choosing the low-fat version over regular frozen yogurt will reduce your fat intake but will not completely eliminate it.

No-sugar-added Limitations

The no-sugar-added version of chocolate frozen yogurt still contains sugar, because milk contains sugars. The no-sugar-added version is lower in sugar, with 23 grams compared to 33 grams in the regular version. Both have similar total carbohydrate counts, containing around 37 grams of carbohydrate each. 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, although it does decrease the refined sugars, which are added during processing.

Side Effects

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. These effects normally don’t occur until you eat about 50 grams of these products, but they can occur when you consume as little as 10 grams.

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