You may be wondering if cream cheese is a healthy choice. This dairy product is high in fat and calories, but it does have some redeeming nutritional qualities.
In this article, we will compare the benefits and downsides of cream cheese to help you decide if it is right for you.
We will also look at plant-based cream cheese alternatives.
Is Cream Cheese Actually Healthy?
Cream cheese is a high-fat, high-calorie food. A two-tablespoon serving contains about 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. However, it also contains protein and vitamin B12.
Here is the nutritional fact for about 1-ounce of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (~2 tablespoons) USDA:
- Energy – 100 Kcal
- Protein – 2 grams
- Total Fat – 10 grams (15% Daily Value)
- Saturated Fat – 6 grams (30% Daily Value)
- Cholesterol – 30 mg (10% Daily Value)
- Carbohydrate – 1 gram
- Calcium – 0 mg
- Sodium – 105 mg (4% Daily Value)
- Vitamin A – 300 IU (6% Daily Value)
Cream cheese is naturally low in sugar and carbohydrates, making it a good choice for people following low-carb diets like Atkins or keto. It’s also lower in lactose than other dairy products, so it is unlikely to cause digestive problems for people with lactose intolerance.
However, cream cheese is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. It also contains sodium, which can increase blood pressure in some people.
Overall, cream cheese is a high-fat, high-calorie food that provides some beneficial nutrients. If you are looking for a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar spread, this is a good choice.
It can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation, but it should not be the main focus of your meal plan.
The calcium of cream cheese is very low to none. We crossed references with other brands and varieties, which also gave similar (0-40 mg) low data. The reason is that high acidity (low pH) will dissolve calcium which also affects the cream cheese melting ability. Similar to Feta (read comparison) and Cottage cheese (read comparison).
Cream cheese contains protein, but it’s considered low when compared to the protein content of other cheeses. For example, parmesan contains about 5-6x the amount of protein per serving (2g vs. 11g).
Cream cheese is lower in lactose – below 1 gram as in carbohydrate – than regular milk and other dairy products, so it may be easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance or lactose sensitivity.
Is Cream Cheese Bad for Your Heart? Clog Your Arteries?
Cream cheese is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which may increase the risk of heart disease in some people. It’s also a source of sodium, which can raise blood pressure.
If you have heart disease or are at risk for it, cream cheese should be consumed in moderation.
However, some studies have a contradicting opinion and suggest that dairy products, including cream cheese, may actually protect against heart disease.
Is Cream Cheese Healthier Than Butter?
Cream cheese is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than butter. It also contains carbohydrates and protein, while butter contains almost no carbohydrates and only trace amounts of protein.
For these reasons, cream cheese could be a healthier choice than butter.
Cream Cheese vs Cheese: Which Is Healthier?
While cream cheese might be a healthier choice than butter, it may not as healthy as other cheeses. In terms of calories and fat per serving, most types of cheese have fewer calories and less saturated fat than cream cheese does.
Mozzarella nutrition, for example, has about 18% lower calories and 51% lesser cholesterol. In addition, it has a much higher protein and calcium content.
Is Cream Cheese Healthy for Weight Loss?
A two-tablespoon serving of cream cheese contains about 100 calories and ten grams of fat.
This amount can fit into a calorie-controlled diet, but it’s probably not the best choice for weight loss since most people tend to eat more than that at once.
Are Cream Cheese Cookies Good?
Cream cheese cookies are a popular type of dessert that is made with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and cream cheese.
They are generally high in fat and calories and may not be the choice for weight loss. But they sure are good!
Is Philly Cream Cheese Healthy? What About Plant-Based Cream Cheese?
Philadelphia cream cheese is a popular brand of cream cheese that is made with milk, cream, and other gluten-free ingredients.
Some vegan people may choose to eat plant-based cream cheese instead. This type of cheese is made from nuts, seeds, or legumes and does not contain dairy. May contain allergens such as coconut, soy, and cashews.
Both Philly cream cheese and plant-based cream cheese are high in fat and calories, so they should be eaten in moderation. One example would be the Violife brand of vegan cream cheese, which has about 30% fewer calories than Philly cream cheese.
There are several brands of plant-based cream cheese alternatives, such as Wayfare, Trader Joe’s, Daiya, and Go Veggie.
Cream Cheese for Diabetics
Some people with diabetes may be able to include cream cheese in their diet, but it should be eaten in moderation.
It is a good source of micronutrients. The low carbs and high-fat content of cream cheese may also help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels as it doesn’t raise the blood sugar directly.
Which Cream Cheese Has the Lowest Carbs? Sodium?
Cream cheese is generally low in carbohydrates, but some brands are even lower than others.
For example, out of 4 popular cream cheese brands (Philadelphia, Prairie Farms nutrition, Organic Valley nutrition, and Great Value nutrition), Philadelphia and Prairie Farms both contains lower carbohydrate than the rest.
They both contain about one gram of carbs per tablespoon.
In terms of sodium, they were not many differences among the brands mentioned above – at around 100 mg (4% DV) per ounce.
Which Cream Cheese is the Healthiest?
The healthiest cream cheese choice depends on what you’re looking for and how it fits into your diet plan, but in general: all-natural, organic, and vegan cream cheeses are ideally the healthier options.
They’re slightly lower in fat and calories than most other types of regular cream cheese. However, these tend to be higher in carbs than dairy cream.
The brand that is best for you may depend on your dietary preferences or needs.