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The Crazy Hidden Ingredients in Frozen Yogurt

I feel a little bad writing this article because I know it is going to burst a lot of bubbles. Especially since it’s almost Summer time and what could be more satisfying than a delicious frozen treat.

Well folks, the new Fro-Yo craze is just CRAZY. There have been so many Fro-Yo places opening around me, my head is spinning. You can make a lot of money when you feed people chemicals and not real food and the creators of these companies and products know this.

I can hear your moaning now – but they said it was “organic”, it contains that “healthy bacteria”, but … but … but “It’s all natural”….NO.

Please don’t give into the hype! Frozen yogurt is a highly processed product. 

Even when they market all these little buzz words, these places are still serving processed dairy products with harmful additives that could affect your health. None of the places that have opened recently near me are “certified organic” which means they can add whatever they want to that delicious frozen mixture.

Fro-Yo is everywhere these days. I was tempted this week in NYC to go into this Pinkberry, but didn’t knowing what I know now!

Let’s look at some facts about some of the questionable ingredients I’ve found –

1. At Yoforia – The slogan on the wall in their store says “I’m homemade, organic and delicious” – it should be “I’m homemade in a laboratory with artificial transfat, GMOs and petroleum ridden blue food coloring!” This is what I found when I researched what was exactly in my favorite flavor and I almost cried. I’d been eating this stuff every time I passed it at the Mall! The worst part is that they take pride in providing their ingredients on the side of each cup – however, they fail to put what else is in your yogurt if you pick any other flavor other than plain. What jerks, right?

organic yoforia

Does this ingredient list look “homemade, organic and delicious” to you?


Some Facts about food coloring:

Blue 1 is used to color candy, beverages and baked goods and may cause cancer. Blue 2, found in pet food, candy and beverages, has caused brain tumors in mice.

Red #40 is used in cherries (in fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats, and may cause them in humans as well, and linked to hyperactivity in children.

Yellow 5 & 6 are the third most often used food colorings, it is found in many products, including baked goods, candy, gelatin and sausages. It can contain small amounts of carcinogens and linked to hyperactivity in children.

Skip the flavors at your next Fro-Yo stop, they are full of harmful additives.

Ingredients in TCBY Butter Pecan Frozen Yogurt:

Skim Milk, Maltodextrin, Polydextrose, Non Fat Dry Milk, Contains 2% or Less of: Erythritol, Maltitol Syrup, Emulsifier and Stabilizer (Propylene Glycol Monoesters, Mono & Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan), Natural & Artificial Butter-Pecan Flavor (Propylene Glycol, Water, Alcohol, Caramel Color), Condensed Skim Milk, Calcium Carbonate, Caramel Color, Whey Protein Concentrate, Disodium Phosphate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Vitamins A & D. Milk cultured with the following live active cultures: B. lactis, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, L. casei, S. thermophilus, L. rhamnosus. Contains: Milk.

Ingredients in PinkBerry Cookies and Cream Yogurt:

Nonfat milk, sugar, cookies n cream (sugar, enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin moninitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), soybean and palm oil with TBHQ for freshness, cocoa processed with alkali, invert sugar, contains two percent or less of degerminated yellow corn flour, corn starch, chocolate, salt, leavening [baking soda, monocalcium phosphate], artificial flavor, soy lecithin, whey), nonfat yogurt (pasteurized nonfat milk, live and active cultures), nonfat yogurt powder (nonfat milk, culture), dextrose, carrageenan, guar gum, maltodextrin, mono- and digylcerides, rice starch

2. The majority of brands (Pinkberry, Frozen Isle, TCBY, etc.) are using dairy that is not certified organic – this means their yogurt is full of potential antibiotics and growth hormone that conventional dairy farms use on their cows. Also those cows are likely fed genetically modified feed. The reason they have to inject these cows with antibiotics is because they feed the cows corn (which is cheaper than grass!) and this causes the cow to be sick. The growth hormone just beefs up the cow (pun intended) to get bigger when it’s time to use them for their meat. It’s a sad and cruel process not just for the cows, but for humans too. The antibiotics and growth hormones are passed down to us in the form of their milk and this causes a multitude of problems including leading to many types of cancers. If you’d like to learn more about this – I highly recommend reading “The China Study” by T. Campbell, it’s fascinating to say the least.

3. The added sugar content of all these places is just ridiculous – For their standard serving size (about 5 ounces) it starts at 20 grams. I know milk has naturally occurring lactose sugar which should account for about a third of that – but why are they adding three additional teaspoons of just pure processed sugar to my yogurt!  Many brands (TCBY, Frozen Isle, etc) use genetically engineered corn syrup and other processed sugars too. Processed sugar makes your skin dull, causes weight gain, and creates an inflammatory response in your body. When your body is inflamed, you can start to develop all sorts of ailments like asthma, arthritis, or even cancer.

Ingredient list for “low fat cookies and cream” – full of HFCS and trans fat.

4. Probiotics are important and I’m glad folks are starting to learn more about why you need healthy bacteria in your gut. In Chinese Medicine, they believe that most diseases start from the gut. It’s all about whether or not your healthy bacteria can crowd out the bad. You don’t need to get your probiotics in the form of sugar filled yogurt or any yogurt for that matter.

I take a probiotic everyday first thing in the morning for my insurance that I have a belly full of good bacteria. You can find it in the refrigerator section at vitamins stores or natural food markets and make sure to choose one with an enteric coating that allows the pill to slowly be absorbed by your body throughout the day.

My favorite brand of probiotics – Renew Life Ultimate Flora Adult 15 Billion Bacteria!

OK, enough said. For now.

With that, I am going to leave you with a few alternatives to icky freaky froyo.

Option 1: Below is a delicious homemade recipe for the most delicious frozen treat, it’s using all whole ingredients and contains a special ingredient “cardamon” which has detoxing compounds, aids in digestion and helps with bloating. Not to mention, it adds a depth of flavor like you are eating something very sinful. This tastes just as sweet as froyo and contains no added sugar.

My favorite spice – The beautiful cardamon plant in Honduras with it’s tiny little orchid like flowers
After stumbling upon the cardamon plant, we saw this gorgeous waterfall in Pico Bonito National Forest. Later, we took a swim to cool off.  (Literally, it was FREEZING!!!)



Food Babe’s Mango Lassi


  • 5-6 ounces of organic greek yogurt or almond yogurt (my favorite!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango (you can add more if you want)
  • Pinch of ground cardamon (or 1/4 tsp)
  • Splash of fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup water
  • A couple of ice cubes


  1. Blend all ingredients and serve!!!

Nutritional Information

125 Calories

Mango Lassi ingredients – so easy and so yummy!


Option 2:  When you are feeling lazy and need a quick treat – I love buying good organic vanilla frozen yogurt you can get a natural foods stores in the freezer section. I like to top it with one crushed almond windmill cookie and a few organic chocolate chips. Tastes just like one those high calorie chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches you can get at the gas station.

Option 3:  When you really can’t resist while outside your home, get the plain Fro-Yo with no added flavorings. Remember this already has A LOT of sugar, so be cautious about which toppings you decide to add and choose non-sugary items like chopped nuts. Also keep your portion size under control – it’s really easy to add more than 5 ounces in those huge cups at the self serve places.

If you think this information can benefit a Fro-Yo lover in your life – please share this with them, maybe they’ll make you a mango lassi 🙂

Cheers to a great summers ahead…

Food Babe

P.S. If you ever see me at any Fro-Yo shops, I am probably having an out of “Food Babe” experience and need to be knocked upside my head. Just do it – I won’t sue you.



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47 responses to “The Crazy Hidden Ingredients in Frozen Yogurt

  1. I came so close to stopping at Tasty Yo today but decided it just wasn’t worth it! Great post. I’m excited to try your recipe.

    1. I commend your will power. It’s really hard to stay clean of chemicals and additives in this world of marketing and temptations!

      1. What is your top pick for organic Greek or almond yogurt ? Do you ever make your own? I love stonyfield Greek yogurt if I don’t feel like making my own coconut yogurt

  2. I’m glad I do NOT like yogurt!!!!! =)
    Nice writing!!!!!!

  3. This is depressing but informative…..will share with all my Furman Fro-Yo Babes & mom! Love the Mango Lassi Recipe! Perfect summertime treat 🙂

  4. I love the detective work!!! Thank you so much for telling the Truth and might I mention that for those of us who are dairy free and so desire a frozen treat…our friends over at Healthy Home Market are spinning out Raw Ice Cream! Yep~It’s True! They make an amazing Green Tea Nut Cream that will make your head spin. Thank you Food Babe and keep on shining girl!

  5. Ah ha! I knew I was warranted in being skeptical of Pinkberry, while all of my friends ridicule me for being paranoid… Desserts are really the only thing I let myself splurge on (in terms of eating refined grains, oils and sugars) and its usually red velvet cake.. I’ll take your scary facts about Red 3 as an indication that I should start resisting this vice…?

  6. I just got a blender and was wondering if you could post some more smoothie recipes. Thanks!

  7. I love this article. I decided about a month ago that I wanted a quick “healthy treat” so I went to Yogurt Zone. However, as I was eating it, I just felt there was something that tasted off. So, I did some investigating and found out that my “healthy treat” was not healthy at all. I’ve since scrapped that idea and I just reach for fruit whenever I’ve got a sweet tooth. My new fix is plums! They get rid of my sweet tooth right away. 🙂 Thanks for this post!

  8. I like most of you LOVES fro-yo. Now I buy plain organic yogurt & add frozen fruit, wheat germ, & hemp seeds (& sometimes coconut flakes) to it. YUM! It isn’t the same but I like it just as much. Saves me from washing my blender & it makes me slow down to eat it(which I need). Great post!

  9. I saw this recipe on the show “The Chew”. Daphne Oz said it’s one of her favorites. I am a LOVER all of frozen confections. Seriously, I could eat that kind of thing every single day and more than once. So, when I saw this recipe, I was thrilled. Cut up and freeze like 3 or 4 bananas (the riper, the better). (Also, you have to have one of those bad ass blenders to make this; this will destroy a regular blender; I have a Blendtec….expensive yes, but I literally use it every single day of my life and on many days, I’ll use it two or three times). Anyway, back to the frozen bananas, put them in the bad ass blender with about 1/2 c of nut butter (I make my own and usually do half peanuts, half cashews, 1 c or so of each, & about a tbsp of sunflower oil….I will be trying it with coconut oil the next time I make a batch) and a smidge of vanilla extract to taste. I use organic vanilla extract. You could use any that you like or even Frangelica (which is what the original recipe calls for). I think the liquid amount is about 2 oz when using the Frangelica. Of course, you wouldn’t use that much if you were using extract. Also, I think this could be made with extract or alcohol. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes in the blender and even with the best blender, it will sound like it is going to die, but it won’t. It is one of the best desserts I have ever had. It tastes just like a banana peanut butter gelato. You can hardly believe that there is no dairy in it. I make my own granola (all organic) and like to put it on as a topping and it’s yummy. I hope you don’t mine my sharing this but it’s so delicious and I think that people who love ice cream will love this and it’s actually pretty good for you. I am chronically ill and try so very hard to only put good things into my body so I was so excited to try this. There are many times when I am too sick to eat real food, food that requires chewing. I can be sick like that for a day or weeks or months and this kind of food keeps me going. I also love to juice. So, when I am too sick to chew food, it is nice to know that I can still get my nutrients in liquid or frosty form. Another thing, it freezes beautifully without any ice crystals (the alcohol helps with that so if you make it without alcohol or extract, you might have crystals…haven’t tried it without yet so I don’t know for sure).

      1. Seriously, once the bananas are frozen (I have found they require at least 3 hours), it literally takes like 10 or 15 minutes to put together. You will LOVE it. If you end up making it, let me know what you think.

    1. Also a great alternative is simply frozen berries & milk. I don’t have an exact recipe, but start with a little milk, blend in the frozen fruit a little at a time until it is so thick the blender won’t pull the fruit down to the blades, push the fruit down and blend in a little more, dish it out and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up a little bit. So yummy!

  10. I never thought of making lassi to satisfy a froyo craving! I wish I had read this post last summer but it will definitely come in handy this summer!

  11. Such crap! I just made a video about how unhealthy ice cream & fro-yo is, and there is this girl picking a fight with me, essentially saying that they’re not that bad for you – ARE YOU ON DRUGS?! This girl is nuts, but it just goes to show how uneducated some people are! 🙁

  12. Food Babe your killing me! This was the one guilty pleasure I allowed myself!(I know I know, I should know better!) Kind of off topic but how do you feel about brands like Chobani? More marketing crap?

    Keep up the good fight. I love your posts!!!!

  13. What about Cherry berry frozen yogart is that the same processed yogurt that they sell FoodBabe?

  14. Just throw frozen organic raspberries in the blender with a little coconut milk and squeeze of agave nectar. Yummy smoothies…

  15. Ok I thought I did the research isn’t Red Mango safe?
    It has no artificial colors or artificial sugars.

  16. I have been following your posts for a few weeks now, and I am grateful for the way you feed this information out into the world. I swear I lose a pound every time I read one of your posts. Anyway, I had a total frozen dessert craving tonight and I happened to have some organic macadamia nut milk that I made on Sunday, so I blended it up with some frozen bananas, vanilla and coconut sugar. It was shear bliss to sip on 🙂

  17. Thanks Food Babe for investigating frozen yogurt. I too thought it was healthy and good. However when I asked to read the ingredients I was shocked!!!!! We need to be aware of the hidden truth. I’m always checking labels. The reality is so scary!!! We must protect ourselves from harmful chemicals!!!!! Thank you for uncovering the truth!!!!

  18. Hi Vani,

    I just want to tell you how much I like your site and love how informative it is – I really value the time you take to research all this!

    I know you have had extensive communications with the CEO of Yoforia, and I just want to post this link from their website:

    I know this is great PR on their part, but I also want to believe in the good of most people, and the fact that Yoforia is working to make their product a better one to meet their consumers’ needs is really admirable – I wish more CEOs of food companies/food products in the US would do the same!

    I just wanted to point this out to other readers – our voices can make a difference! 🙂

  19. Thanks for the information! Even though I always check labels for artificial coloring/sugar/sodium and try to avoid processed foods, I thought this one was somewhat safe. Now I want to give that mango lassi a try.

    Thank You and TakePart for opening my eyes and show me the truth about processed foods!

    By the way… Cool, you went to my country. I wonder which place you liked the most…


  20. What is your favorite almond milk yogurt brand?
    Thanks Food Babe for all you do!

    1. She usually makes her own. Soak 2 cups raw almonds in 2 cups filtered water overnight. Blend well and then strain through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth. Optional: add a date or 2 or a little vanilla for flavor and sweetness. Good luck!

    1. i just have to give a giggle at this question…. 🙂
      The proof is all around you and easy enough to research as well.~~

      It reminds me of an awesome lecture I attended by the anti-nuclear scientist Helen Caldicott. At the end of her, rather intelligent lecture, someone had the idea to ask that same simple question . However, there is so much proof that it seems silly to answer 🙂

  21. This recipe sounds delish. I gave up buying yogurt awhile ago an make my own now in my crock pot. But I am going to try your recipe for frozen Mango Lassl it sounds wonderful Thank you.

  22. I read your recipe of the Food Babe’s Mango Lassi! and I went immediately to buy the ingredients… but when I read the ingredients of the Almond Yoghurt, it called my attention that many strange names that sound like the chemicals you Don’t recommend us to eat, appear in the label… It sounds contradicting… can you please help me understand? Thank you!!!!

  23. Much excellents info, I will send this article to a lot of people, but with two minor corrections: Campbell’s book is not about the dangers of contaminants in inorganic milk, he considers the problem with dairy products to be the proteins and as such is against even organic; you imply the best or possibly only alternative to probiotics in yogurt is a pill, while supplements may be better than nothing, real whole foods have to be better. For those who don’t do dairy (and even for those who do) there are lactofermented veggies such as sour kraut, kim chee, and kosher dills.

  24. I’m surprised (bordering on shocked, really )… there is such limited info on your site about yogurt. Granted this article helps, but not only were there multiple frozen yogurt crazes in this country, but there’s been a huge yogurt war going on in our supermarket the last 2-3 years , much of it “Greek” style yogurt.

    You’ve had articles on beer (yum!) and everything else under the sun, but store-bought ogurt apparently slips under the radar. Makes me wonder why it’s so easily overlooked?

    I’ve been trying different brands of “Greek” and “regular” yogurt in the store the past year or so and only recently. Granted, someone could probably just buy plain organic yogurt with no additives, but with so many new kinds (brands, varieties, styles, flavors, ingredients, apparent health benefits) to try, sometimes it becomes mind boggling just to go down the dairy aisle to find out what’s OK to eat and what’s best to avoid… putting it kindly perhaps.

    It’s harder for someone like myself who didn’t grow up eating yogurt, because they didn’t like the taste nor texture, nor need the digestive health benefits. And the low-cal varieties seemed extra tempting, but until only recently did I uncover all the artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and additives like HFCS, binders, and preservatives.

    I had been buying Oikos yogurt fairly often and found it to be very good but slightly too tart for my tastes (I prefer plain yogurt instead of those containing fruit in most cases), and then tried some more brands and found that some of them contained obscene amounts of corn syrup, and were just too sweet tasting besides. Today I was in the store and decided to check the label on Oikos, after reading so much about bad stuff in our food on Foodbabe and ingredients list is — get this — Nonfat cultured milk. Period. I picked up another to make sure it wasn’t just my eyes deceiving me… after studying it a while I still wasn’t sure how this could be, but ended up buying it as I’d already planned.

    Any known hidden ingredients in this? Is the milk certified? It seems almost impossible that’s the only ingredient… though it very well may be. Hopefully soon I’ll get around to switching to organic permanently, but until then it would be great to have an article about yogurt, since Americans are consuming so much of it these days.

    By the way the environmental concerns over Greek yogurt is apparently very real, I’m slowly switching back to the traditional kinds, since many Greek yogurt makers just dump the waste “acid whey” into landfills or sell it to farmers who could end up dumping some of it. This concern should also be known to all who consume yogurt in their households. Thanks for your site….

  25. Hi foodbabe,

    First, I love your site. I’m trying to eat healthy and clean for my family but I see this ingredient, carrageenan, in a lot of the food that we eat on a daily basis like almond, coconut, and soy milk, ice cream, etc. Is there anyway we can avoid it all together since this ingredient do nothing but cause cancer? Thanks.

    Sze Sze

  26. Love your site! It is making me more careful on what I eat, thank you. I am still learning.

  27. I read your article about frozen yogurt and what I found was what I suspected. I was wondering how they would get all those flavors and colors put into the different mixes with out using something artificial. There is one section I need to call your attention to, it is the section where you describe the outcome of non-organic dairy. You need to get your information from a animal science University, you have some embellishments in your writing. First, antibiotics and growth hormones, most dairies have done away with bst (growth hormone for milk) also in the beef industry antibiotics are only administered through carefully monitored application, they don’t just do it for the heck of it, (it is expensive and can cause problems later on such as resistant strains) cattle are like any living creature on earth, they can get sick and to prevent a large breakout, disease and viruses need stopped. Second, gmo feed, 90% of dairy cattle are feed grass and or alfalfa, there is no such thing as gmo alfalfa. Very little corn, if any, is fed to a lactating cow, it actually reduces milk production because of the higher energy it produces. The reason grain is fed to cattle is because, they can process it, they are a rumen animal and grains are as natural to them as grass. Many beef cattle get grain because not everywhere does it rain enough to produce enough grass to feed all the cattle and other animals we need to sustain life for the 6+ Billion people on this planet. (Grass is cheaper than corn) Cattle are not given antibiotics because they are fed corn, corn does not make an animal sick, Period… Also, antibiotics, like in humans only last 10 days, after they have fought off the infection the animals system returns to normal, this is monitored and cattle are not slaughtered for a minimum of 40 days after the administration of an anti-biotic.
    This is not meant to be a put down by any means, not trying to turn the tables, this is a response to false claims. You are a trust worthy source of information about food and need to remember that many people who read this are getting educated by you, and you have a huge responsibility to give accurate information, I think you mean well. The context in which this was written was your opinion, which is what it is, your opinion, but in this form, your opinions carry a lot of weight. The American farmer/rancher producer is making a living and doing the best job they can. They are doing an outstanding job, I want everyone to take a step back, be careful what you eat, but make sure you have facts before jumping on a band wagon. I.E. chicken without growth hormones is a marketing tool, chickens are not given growth hormones, they tried it, it did not make economic sense, the gain did not outweigh the cost, (thank goodness)
    I am glad we have watch dogs looking out for our food supply, it does need looked at because there is entirely too much processed, colored and other stuff going on, however, it is the processors, not necessarily the growers or the raw product itself where the majority of the problems are.
    Be careful it is easy to put down a food system when you live in the land of plenty. In closing think about this, gmo is a sped up process of hybridization, because of this a drought resistance corn has been made that will grow with half the water, that is huge in a country where people have to carry water over 5 miles in containers on their backs, just to water their plants to feed their families. This could go on and on, I don’t want it to, in fact I would really appreciate it if no one would comment, just take the info. and do your own investigating and do what you feel is best for you. Have a healthful life.

  28. In this past year & 8 mths – I have been suffering from Auto-Immune System Deficiency Disorder due too stress & spousal abuse – I am now 65 yrs of age & have acquired a lot of allergies! Feel my life is upside down!! I have to read ingredients in everything I eat drink use!! – all foods, all facial cleansers, lotions, creams, all make-up, all hair care, all laundry & dish detergents, all household cleaning products, air fresheners & have to ask for Allergens + ingredients book at restaurants before I order!! For many years I have treated myself & my granddaughter, to a DQ soft serve or McDonald’s, at least 1ce in a summer!! I’m going to miss this treat but I have to do & eat what will not hurt me! Thank you for this info!

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