Known as the delicious spread for bagels, bread and other breakfast treats, cream cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used for different recipes — from pasta to cake, cream cheese is the must-have ingredient in your pantry. In line with this, cream cheese nutrition offers important vitamins and minerals too.
Depending on the type of cream cheese you choose, your favorite cheesy schmear may also come with plenty of healthy benefits. Cream cheese nutrition profile contains antioxidants, vitamin A and beneficial bacteria strains plus it’s also low in lactose. There’s no doubt that these cream cheese nutrition facts can make the most dedicated cream cheese enthusiast happy.
But is it 100 percent good for your health? What if you’re on a diet? And how much cream cheese is too much cream cheese?
What are the Nutrition Facts of Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese comes in different types, which includes regular, whipped, double-cream and flavored. Therefore, cream cheese nutrition profile depends on the type of cream cheese and the brand. So store-brand regular cream cheese nutrition is different from Philadelphia Cream Cheese nutrition.
In general, however, an ounce of cream cheese has the following nutrition facts (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central):
- Calorie content. 99 calories
- Carbohydrates. Two (2) grams
- Fiber. Zero (0) grams
- Fat. 10 grams
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2). Five (5) percent of the daily recommended value
- Vitamin A. 10 percent of the daily recommended value
“Is cream cheese a carb?” you may ask. Yes, technically. Cream cheese contains a small number of carbs and is high in fat. Whipped cream cheese contains fewer calories and less fat per serving. Also, American cream cheese is nutritionally complete since it has almost all the nutrients, including vitamin B 12.
What are the Health Benefits of Cream Cheese?
Carbs in cream cheese pose no problem (as long as you consume them in moderation). Plus, your favorite spread is chock full of health benefits.
Consider the following:
High in Vitamin A
Each serving of cream cheese comes with a good chunk of vitamin A, an important fat-soluble vitamin that regulates cellular immune responses, protecting you from infection and illnesses. Vitamin A is also essential in promoting healthy vision. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause serious side effects like impaired vision, night blindness and complete blindness.
Gut Health Support
During cream cheese production, certain bacteria strains (e.g. lactic acid) are added to enhance the flavor and texture of the final product. Like other dairy products, cream cheese has probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria strains that reduce inflammation, increase nutrient absorption and support gut health.
Keep in mind, however, that not all cream cheese types have probiotics. Look for cream cheese options that contain active and live cultures so you can benefit from probiotics.
Low in Lactose
Lactose intolerance is a common condition that affects many people. When you are lactose intolerant, you’re unable to digest lactose, which is a type of milk sugar present in most dairy products like cheese, ice cream, milk and yogurt. Lactose intolerance can cause digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea and cramps.
Cream cheese is low in lactose, which makes it a good cheese treat for people with lactose intolerance. Also, certain cheese brands offer lactose-free options.
Rich in Antioxidants
Cream cheese contains several carotenoids and antioxidants, which are compounds that neutralize dangerous free radicals to prevent cell damage and oxidative stress. Also, antioxidants play a pivotal role in protecting your body from chronic conditions like autoimmune disorders, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Cream Cheese Consumption Reminders
Although cream cheese nutrition passes even the most stringent diets, there are still things to consider when you consume them.
For instance, cream cheese has low protein levels. Other dairy products offer higher protein content, as well as boost a wider variety of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. Cream cheese’s nutrition profile, on the other hand, boasts only a small amount of protein and micronutrients.
Also, there’s the issue of cream cheese going bad faster compared to other cheese types. Cream cheese does have a shorter shelf life compared to other dairy products. It should be consumed within two weeks after opening. Once expired, the cheese may develop a lumpy texture, sour smell or taste and mold.
Finally, cream cheese may not be advised to people with certain dietary restrictions, especially those who are on a low-lactose diet. People with allergies to dairy products must stay away from cream cheese, as well.
Cream cheese and nutrition are two terms that get along, as long as you consume the cheese in moderation. Enjoy your favorite breakfast spread without worrying much about the calories and the carbs.