They’re both creamy, icy, and delicious, but it’s a rough battle between these two frozen treats. While history favors the scoop-able sorbet, these days it’s seemingly all about the funky frozen swirls known as Fro-Yo. But which is the healthier choice?
Meet The Competitors
When Fro-Yo first hit the scene in the 1980s, it was billed as a healthier-than-ice-cream treat. In the last few years, though, frozen yogurt has come to reference a more tart, twisty variety (thanks to chains like Pinkberry and Red Mango now booming from coast to coast). Among Fro-Yo 2.0’s healthiest stats: it uses actual yogurt instead of cream or milk as the base, which reduces calorie and fat content. And with its live, active yogurt cultures, frozen yogurt packs a healthy dose of digestion-aiding probiotics Should yoghurt cultures be considered probiotic? Guarner, F., Perdigon, G., Corthier, G., et al. Digestive System Research Unit, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain. British Journal of Nutrition 2005 Jun; 93(6): 783-6. Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Parvez, S., Malik, K.A., Ah Kang, S., et al. University, and Department of Biological Sciences of Oriental Medicine, Graduate School of Interdepartmental Studies, Institute of Oriental Medicines, Kyung-Hee University, Seoul, Korea. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2006 Jun; 100(6): 1171-85..
A tradition dating back to ancient Rome, sorbet has traditionally been served as a palette cleanser between dinner courses (fancy, we know!). A mixture of 70-80 percent fruit, water, and sugar churned until smooth, most sorbet flavors (except for the occasional chocolate and coconut) are dairy and fat free. And while it’s been around for centuries, the pre-packaged pints from the grocery store are far from the original product, which began as a simple mixture of snow and fruit puree or juice.
For the waistline-conscious, frozen yogurt wins this frostbitten battle, containing roughly 35 fewer calories and 12 grams less sugar than sorbet per 4-ounce serving. But while Fro-Yo might be the lighter treat, remember it’s still a Greatist dangerfood because of the potential for large portion sizes that can quickly rack up empty calories. Plus, the dairy content can make it a no-go for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, while sorbet is usually dairy free. And though sorbet touts some added antioxidants from real fruit, frozen yogurt’s digestion-boosting bacteria and lower-calorie makeup are pretty tough to beat. Maybe this explains why we haven’t seen the same influx of sorbet chains around the globe (and on a nearby street corner).