Which one should you have: ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt? I know that some of you are answering “yes”, but that’s not a possible answer. What’s the real answer?
Since gelato is Italian for ice cream, if you go to Italy and ask if you should have gelato or ice cream, they may look at you funny. But here in the United States and in many other parts of the world, gelato and ice cream mean different things. Both have similar base ingredients: water, fat (in the form of milk or cream) and sugar, which are mixed together and churned (moved around vigorously). Gelato has more milk than cream compared to ice cream and, in turn, has less fat. Making gelato involves churning the mix at a much slower speed than making ice cream. Churning the mix rapidly introduces air into the mix, making the mix fluffier. As result, gelato is much milkier and denser with less air while ice cream is creamier and can consist of between 25% and 90% air. The higher density gives gelato a more intense flavor. The higher density and lower fat composition mean that gelato is typically served at a higher temperature than ice cream. Otherwise, gelato would be rock hard, making it gelat-OW.
Frozen yogurt is rather different from gelato and ice cream (or in Italy, you would say frozen yogurt is rather different from ice cream and ice cream). Cream is usually not an ingredient in frozen yogurt. Instead, cultured milk (using bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) is the main dairy ingredient. Keep in mind that frozen yogurt is not exactly the same as the “regular” yogurt that you store in the refrigerator. The freezing process kills the bacteria in frozen yogurt so you do not get the same probiotic benefit.
Here’s a comparison for a half-cup serving of each based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for ice cream and frozen yogurt and the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Livestrong for gelato:
|Gelato||Ice Cream||Frozen Yogurt|
So from a calorie standpoint, it looks as if gelato is the worst and frozen yogurt is the best. Gelato also has the most sugar, and ice cream the least. Saturated fat-wise, ice cream is at the bottom while frozen yogurt is at the top. Is that our final answer?