3 Ways Your Local Froyo Joint Is Trying to Fool You

I missed the whole Pinkberry thing. I was living in Japan when the popularity of frozen yogurt exploded, so by the time I moved back to LA, the backlash had already begun and everyone I knew hated it. When I finally got around to trying Pinkberry, I thought it was just…fine.

All of this is to say: I don’t go out for frozen yogurt very much.

I suspect it is because I see frozen yogurt for what it is — an occasional dessert — rather than what many people hope it is: a healthy habit. On the Master Dessert Spreadsheet I keep constantly updated in my brain, frozen yogurt ranks far below ice cream or sorbetto or milkshakes or many other frozen treats, no matter how many probiotics there are. I’ll get my Lactobacillus from kimchi or plain Greek yogurt, thanks.

So my ever-cynical eyes were open when I stopped by a local frozen yogurt spot with some friends last week. The place was packed, and all I could think besides Yum, coconut frozen yogurt was This is such a scam. Here’s why:

The Nutrition Information: At the Froyo Life shop I visited, each self-serve yogurt flavor had a nutritional information card next to it. At first glance, all the yogurts look remarkably low-calorie, clocking in around 22-25 calories per serving. Until you look at the serving size — one ounce. Five quarters weigh one ounce. A slice of bread weighs about one ounce. Would you ever serve yourself just one ounce of frozen yogurt? (And could you? Those machines spit the stuff out fast.) It would look ridiculous, especially in the big cups they give you, which brings me to…

The Cups: They are abnormally large. Rob filled up the smallest available cup to the brim with yogurt (I’m still not sure if this was an error in judgement or just his poor yogurt machine operating skills) and we calculated it to be about a pound of frozen yogurt. A pound of frozen yogurt.

Pinkberry’s cup sizes are similarly skewed. The nutrition info PDF on their website has slightly more realistic serving sizes, around 3.5 ounces or ½ cup per serving, but the only cup size that actually holds the equivalent of one serving is the Mini. The Small cup holds 1.4 servings and the Medium holds 2.3. If you get a Large, you are consuming 3.7 servings of frozen yogurt, or between 370-444 calories and 56-104 grams of sugar. That’s a lot of quarters and bread slices.

The Toppings: Frozen yogurt is not King Midas. Crumbled up Butterfingers and Oreo cookies do not transform into low-calorie, nutritious foods because they are touching yogurt. They make a fantastic DESSERT topping to your DESSERT of frozen yogurt, but they are not part of a healthy snack.

Sorry to the the Grinch of Froyo, but the veil of nutritiousness needs to be lifted. Frozen yogurt is a dessert — a low-fat, high-sugar dessert that tastes really good with a bunch of crumbled up candy bars and cookies on top of it. But then, what doesn’t?

 

(Image: ajcreencia/Flickr)

   

{ 9 Comments }

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    Lydia — June 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

    hahahahah the Grinch of Froyo! The master spreadsheets of desserts in your head!! Love this post. I hate froyo cause it hurts my stomach and tastes like chemicals. I always wonder why people get it as a “snack.” Do you snack on milkshakes and cake? No call it dessert people.

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    SinoSoul.com — June 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

    “frozen yogurt ranks far below ice cream or sorbetto or milkshakes or many other frozen treats”

    ACK!!!! Unless you churn it at home… It’s faster/easier than having “good”, ie, yolk based, ice cream mix around, and with the use of agave/honey, creating tart froyo with the use of left over lemons juiced from Spring can be done in 15minutes flat. Freshly churned froyo has the consistency of Taylor-churned machines, and you don’t need to freeze it to finish the process.

    With that in mind, and the summer stone fruits plus strawberries, froyo is on the TOP of my summer frozen treats XLS, especially when there are last minute guests.

    • Anjali — June 4th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      HOMEMADE froyo is a whole other thing, you’re right. It’s much higher on the spreadsheet, along with the European Yogurt gelato at Pazzo — yum.

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    Jen — June 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

    We’ve been talking about fro-yo at Weight Watchers a LOT lately. Best tip yet is to fill your giant cup with fruit and then “garnish” it with that one ounce of fro-yo. But I’m kinda like, what’s the point?

    • Anjali — June 4th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      If you ever do it, please take a picture. I want to see one ounce of fro-yo!

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    lynne @ lgsmash — July 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

    yes! i agree with this post 100%. i enjoy a good froyo here and there but so many people i know argue that it’s ‘healthy!’ so we should eat it all the time. and the CUPS! each place offers enormous cups!!

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    Anirudh — February 12, 2013 at 12:40 am

    You have mentioned in your article about 2-3 froyo suppliers. Are there any other suppliers who actually offer low calorie froyo? Is it even possible?

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    Ben — June 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    And I don’t know how it works at the place you went to, but the one I went to, the weight included the weight of the cup. So you’re paying for the oversized cup you don’t need + the yogurt inside. What a joke!

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