How can you NOT think frozen yogurt is healthy?
For years now, everywhere you turn, the media seems to be singing operatic praise for this low-fat–or more often fat-free–“healthy” dessert that’s supposed to help you indulge the smart, waist-friendly way, while preventing disease.
I’m here to debunk the nutrition hype: “healthy” frozen yogurt is a load of crap.
I’m here to help you get why all that praise about frozen yogurt should send your Goddess BS-detector into full-alert mode. (Of course, anything with a nickname like “froyo” should already be suspect.)
I also dish about the smarter Goddess way to indulge in traditional store-bought desserts.
Frozen yogurt & sugar
Frozen yogurt varieties touted as “healthy” have very little to no fat, and moderate to high amounts of sugar (depending on the flavor).
Unfortunately, sugar is responsible for many undesirable reactions in our bodies, especially when sugar isn’t balanced with plenty of fat. Keep in mind, even the nutritionally conservative American Heart Association recommends a maximum intake of 25 grams added sugar per day (though this message gets little media attention). Ideally, you hit lower than 25 grams per day.
Even a small cup of frozen yogurt from a shop meets or more likely far surpasses ideal, and even AHA-recommended, daily amounts of added sugar.
4 icky things sugar does
Here are 4 undesirable reactions our bodies have to sugar:
- Sugar makes us want to eat more–particularly more sweet stuff. A compelling study indicates “sweetness” (from both natural sugars and artificial sweeteners) triggers a response in the reward center of our brains more addictive than that of cocaine. Ever eaten something sweet and felt almost possessed to eat more? You’re not alone. When you don’t have enough fat alongside sweet stuff, the reward center of your brain goes wild. Not because you’re a failure, but simply because you’re human.
- Sugar causes weight gain, increases stored fat, and heightens disease-risk. As sugar consumption increases, the body makes more insulin to collect sugar from the blood, and tells our bodies to store fat, laying the foundation for weight-gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Sugar triggers inflammation. Read more about inflammation in my popular post Inflammation: The Root of Disease (and How Goddesses Prevent It).
- Sugar is responsible for increasing our bodies’ production of “bad” cholesterol. Sugar triggers the body to make more of the unhealthy packages of LDL, the small dense variety, that are linked to disease.
In short, sugar consumption should generally be kept in check. And when we do indulge, sugar should never be unescorted. Sugar done the Goddess-smart way requires fat.
Why fat matters in sweet treats
Goddesses know that when they occasionally indulge in a store-bought sweet dessert, they want sugar to come alongside plenty of fat, particularly saturated fat.
Why? Because fat doesn’t just make foods taste better (like, wow-better!), fat also
- makes your brain and body feel optimally satisfied, so you’re less likely to overindulge (the brain is hardwired to love fat)
- slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream
- prevents insulin from spiking (stabilized insulin plays a ridiculously important role in disease-prevention and weight-management)
- minimizes the body’s inflammatory response (remember what I constantly mention in my book and articles: inflammation is the root of disease)
- keeps the fat-receptors around your belly and love handles from going reallyreally crazy and storing anything you eat as fat (read: sugary low-fat/non-fat foods will have the opposite effect–bummer!)
Basically low-fat or non-fat frozen yogurt–and even low-fat and non-fat versions of ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and desserts in general–actually aren’t in your best interest if you’re looking to
- promote overall health
- prevent or manage disease
- lose or maintain weight.
“They” put that in there too?!
Plus, reduced-fat frozen desserts (and most reduced-fat products in general) include a host of junk additives.
See, fat tastes amazing, and provides luscious texture. So when food manufacturers remove fat from their products, they have to replace it with something that improves taste and texture. The result? Products full of
- sugar (often even more than full-fat products would contain)
- processed fat-derivatives (like mono- and di-glycerides)
- flavoring agents with a host of negative effects (like MSG–often disguised under a slew of other names)
- gums and thickeners (that can cause digestive upset, especially in sensitive individuals).
Smarter store-bought frozen desserts
Smarter store-bought frozen desserts would be
- luscious, creamy, full-fat gelato
- whole-milk ice cream, made with egg yolks
- whole-milk/full-fat frozen yogurt (read the label, there should be plenty of fat, including saturated fat, and there shouldn’t be a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients)
- full-fat coconut milk-based ice cream.
All of these have plenty of waist-friendly disease-preventive saturated fat. Read more about why you want to eat lots of saturated fat here.
Desserts to avoid
Avoid products that feature labels announcing “reduced fat,” “low-fat” or “non-fat.” It’s that simple.
The bottom line
The desserts that taste the best–with plenty of fat–are actually the healthier options. Who woulda woulda thunk?! A Goddess woulda thunk, that’s who.
Be a Goddess. Ditch the low-fat and non-fat crap. Enjoy your food.
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