by Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D./N.
Q. Thanks for your recent episode on frozen yogurt. We have lots of frozen yogurt shops where I live and I used to eat a lot of it. But for some reason the consistency makes me think there might be trans fats in there. I tried asking employees and emailing the company for nutritional information, but I got no answer. I am hoping you will be more successful!
A. I wouldn't expect employees to know much about the ingredients of their products but I’ve had no trouble finding complete ingredient lists on the websites of most of the big chains. Here’s a typical example of the ingredients in a low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt from a national chain:
Whole Milk, Skim Milk, Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Polydextrose, Contains 2% or less of: Vanilla Extract, Natural Flavors, Natural Cream Flavor, Annatto, Vitamins A & D, Stabilizer and Emulsifier (Propylene Glycol Monoesters, Mono & Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan), Disodium Phosphate, Whey, Calcium Carbonate).Milk cultured with the following live active cultures: B. lactis, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, L. casei, S. thermophilus, L. rhamnosus.
There are no hydrogenated vegetable oils or trans fats in here. The fat in this yogurt (about 2g per ½ cup) comes primarily from the whole milk, and is a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. I think the consistency you're noticing is more likely due to the ingredients like guar gum, cellulose, or carageenan, which manufacturers use in low and non-fat products to fake the creamy mouth-feel of higher-fat products.
Related reading: What are Trans Fats?
Frozen Yogurt photo from Shutterstock.