Home > Nutrition > What’s the Scoop on Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Gelato Nutrition?

What’s the Scoop on Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Gelato Nutrition?

Summer Ice CreamWe are deep in the heat of the summer months and what sounds really good on a hot day is some cool frozen treats. Here are some notable facts and the nutrition breakdown of your favorite icy desserts and snacks.  Before you grab a spoon read on…

Frozen Yogurt:

Frozen yogurt comes from either nonfat or regular yogurt that is mixed with flavorings, sweeteners and thickeners. It’s then churned and frozen in the same process as ice cream. The “good” bacteria you get from regular yogurt is lost in the freezing process. Frozen yogurt ranges from 0 grams fat in the nonfat varieties, to 1 to 3 grams in the low-fat kind. You may be surprised that the premium ones can contain 4 to 9 grams of fat and as many calories as regular ice cream! Nonfat, low-fat and regular frozen yogurt have between 70 to 190 calories per ½ cup serving. Watch out for the many frozen yogurt shops sprinkled around town because the average self-serve container may hold more than 3 to 4 cups of yogurt and have as many as 800 calories, without toppings!

Ice Cream:

When it comes to ice cream, to be considered a “true” ice cream, it must contain at least 10 percent milk fat (a.k.a. butterfat). Some low-fat ice creams and all nonfat ice creams are not true to this definition. Nonfat and regular ice cream contain between 0 to 16 grams of fat per ½ cup serving, with premium ice cream containing between 17 to 24 grams fat per serving, with as much as 11 of those grams coming from saturated fat! As for calories from nonfat to premium, you may get around 90 to 340 calories per serving. If you order a medium or large cup at your favorite ice cream shop, that can equate to well over 600 calories without the mix-ins.


Gelato is usually made in the style of premium ice cream, but it is distinctive in that it incorporates less air than ice cream and tends to have a slightly lower butterfat percentage: 3-10 percent. Gelato is generally lower in fat than its ice cream counterpart and actually does not require as much added sugar to produce the same sweet flavor. A ½ cup serving of vanilla gelato contains about 100 calories and 3 grams of fat. Many gelato shops have flavors galore and contain higher amounts of calories and fat.

Bottom Line: For your health and waistline, portion size, calories and fat matters when picking out frozen desserts. Go for the smaller sizes and the lower-fat varieties and enjoy in moderation this summer!

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule a nutrition consultation, click here or call 972.560.2655.

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