The Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt: Nutrition Lessons We Can Learn from Seinfeld

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The other night I was watching “Seinfeld.” This isn’t really any different than any other night because I watch “Seinfeld” most nights; it is, after all, one of my favorite shows. But this episode was different, I hadn’t watched it since I was a kid, when I would sit in the living room with my mother watching reruns. (“Seinfeld” is also one of her favorite shows.)

The episode is quite memorable. If you’re a “Seinfeld” fan, you know this episode is famous for a couple of reasons—the first being the use of two censored expletives, and the other being the fictional tale of how incumbent Mayor David Dinkins loses to the future mayor of New York City, Rudy Guiliani. Like every “Seinfeld” episode, the small pieces are somehow tied into the main storyline, which in this case is non-fat frozen yogurt.

Watching the episode when I was 13 left me unable to grasp certain nuances and major components of the storyline; I just thought it was funny that people were swearing on TV. But the other night, I watched this episode and realized that, nutritionally, it supports a lot of myths.

In the “The Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt,” everyone is under the impression that because something is non-fat, it not only won’t make you fat, but that you can also consume as much as you want. This can’t be further from the truth, and it’s a misconception that many people, unfortunately, fall for.

We’ve discussed this before: People demonize a single food to the point where they believe that avoiding it all together will make their health and weight loss dreams come true. Food and food ingredients are demonized; we see headlines to avoid salt, sugar, fat, meat, fruit, or whatever other single ingredient or food because some outlier study said that it will be the end of us all.

In the same vein, single ingredients or foods are often glorified to be the food savior for all of our problems. I mean, how many times do I have to see an article about how quinoa is the best grain for you (as if whole wheat bread and oats are magically now void of fiber, protein, and B vitamins)?

Instead of focusing on the buzzwords, we should be focusing on the nutrients. Whether or not a food is non-fat, it needs to have the nutrients to support our body and health. Even if said food does have the nutrients, it can’t be our only form of sustenance. When it comes to eating healthy, it’s not just one food, it’s all of our foods. The dietary pattern has to be healthy, not the one food we eat daily, weekly, monthly, or a few times a year.

“The Non-Fat Yogurt” ended like every other “Seinfeld” episode. Some characters come out better than others, and George still hates his parents. And while Newman is left consuming the last non-fat yogurt at the soon-to-be out-of-business frozen yogurt shop and cursing Jerry’s name, we all know now that whether it’s non-fat or full-fat, it shouldn’t be considered a free-for-all in your diet.