no Sugar guilt: Frozen yoghurt ice creams contain little or no sugar and differ from ice milk and conventional soft serves

DUBAI Dessert in Dubai is becoming an increasingly guilt-free affair. Low-fat, low-calorie and sugar-free options abound everywhere. But if there’s one segment that has taken the sweet alternatives market by storm, it’s the frozen yoghurt.

Residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to frozen yoghurt delights in the city. Yogurberry, Pinkberry, Yogen Fruz, Yoghurt Factory, Snog, Tutti Fruiti – there is any number of players offering their low-calorie fare. And there are those like Tasti D Lite which position themselves as neither yoghurt nor ice-cream, making claims of lower calorie content.

Prepared from yoghurt, a cultured, fermented milk product, or other dairy products, the USP of most alternatives is that they are lower in fat than traditional ice creams as they do not use cream. They contain little or no sugar and differ from ice milk and conventional soft serves, both of which do not contain yoghurt as an ingredient. Some use non-dairy products too.

“Our products are more than just an alternative to ice creams. They are healthy foods which are low in fat, calories and sugar and yet very filling,” said Kishan Batavia, Director of the Synergy Group, which owns six of 15 franchises of the Korean Yogurberry chain in Dubai.

According to him, a small portion of Yogurberry ‘ice cream’ is equivalent to 125 calories, a third of the calorie content of regular ice cream. “We use only fruit sugars and strictly go by a nutrition chart.”

He claimed his outlets at the Atlantis, BurJuman and elsewhere sold over a 100 small cups a day.

Priced from Dh12 to Dh25 with a variety of fruit and dry toppings, the yoghurt ice creams are considered value for money.

“It’s perfect,” said Jemia Malakhovskaya, a Dubai resident who works at the BurJuman Towers and has yoghurt ice cream for lunch every now and then.

“It’s healthy, tasty and not fattening,” said another customer Edwina Low.

Even fast-food addicted teenagers, who scorn at the thought of eating anything healthy, relish the taste of yoghurt soft-serves. “I don’t think about the calorie part. I just find them yummy. What’s more, any mall I go to has these outlets, so they’re easily available,” said Anuj Dhar, an 18-year-old licking into a fresh serving of strawberry yoghurt ice cream from Pinkberry at the Mall of the Emirates.

At Snog at the Mirdif City Centre, the frozen yoghurt products are made using fresh non-fat organic yoghurt with probiotics and organic non-skimmed milk. The makers claim the natural plant extract agave nectar that is used as a sweetener makes it low in glycemic index too. “The reasons to Snog”, according to them, include low calorie content, no fat, no artificial sweeteners or colouring, high calcium and protein and high vitamins, thanks to the fruit toppings.

If these are not good enough reasons why you should be digging into a yoghurt ice cream, the huge variety of flavours and toppings is also an attraction.

“I love Yogen Fruz (at Mirdif City Centre and Ibn Battuta Mall) because they have so many flavours to choose from and their products are so smooth. They taste so different,” said Polly, a Filipino sales girl who has frozen yoghurt at least once a week for dessert.

Similarly, Tasti D Lite offers 120 flavours with fruit and dry toppings. “Our USP is that our dairy-based products are neither ice cream nor yoghurt. And we have so much variety,” said a representative, noting that it has three outlets in Downtown Dubai.

“Who doesn’t love ice cream?” he said.

The point is, with frozen yoghurt around, you don’t need to resist it either now.