Is cream cheese healthy? Here’s what a nutritionist wants you to know?

These are the things you should keep in mind when you decide to put schmear cheese on your bagel.

As a nutritionist, I see that cream cheese is a confusing topic. Cream cheese can be seen as a luxury indulgence, while others consider it a healthier option. This information will help you understand the health effects of cream cheese spreads and dips. I am excited to see that there are plant-based versions.

Cream cheese nutrition facts

Pasteurized milk, cream, salt, carob beans, gum and cheese culture, are common commercial cream cheese ingredients. According to the US Department of Agriculture database, a 1-ounce portion provides 99 calories, 1.74 grams of protein, 9.75 grams of fat (5.73 grams as saturated fat), and 1.56 grams of carbohydrate. Cream cheese isn’t particularly nutrient-rich, but this same-sized portion does contain 7% of the daily value for vitamin A, which supports immune function, vision, and bone health, as well as smaller amounts of calcium (3%), B vitamins, iron, and magnesium (1% each).

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Full-fat dairy and heart disease

Regular cream cheese can be considered full-fat dairy products, which means no fat content has been removed. Harvard study Publié in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition We examined the relationship between full-fat and low-fat dairy fats, as well as the cardiovascular risks. Over 200,000 individuals were followed, and the researchers found that cream cheese, full-fat dairy products, and other dairy fats did not increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Heart disease, you can also call it: Stroke. The researchers discovered that polyunsaturated oil could replace dairy fat (found in nuts and seeds).CVD risk by high-quality carbohydrates made from whole grains and 24% & 28% respectively was lower. Researchers concluded that full-fat dairy might not raise your risk of heart disease, but it was not ideal. They recommend looking at other options—heart health.

Lower fat cream cheese

This article will explain whether low-fat cream cheese can be healthier than regular cream. In a 2017 report, the American Heart Association stated that a reduction in total fat (for instance, eating a low-fat diet) is not recommended as part of an effort to lower CVD risk. However, the group strongly believed that decreasing saturated fat intake and replacing it with unsaturated fat would reduce the risk of developing CVD. In other words, simply using lower fat cream cheese may not be as beneficial as replacing saturated fat calories with those from plant fat, such as avocado or nuts. Combining cream cheese with other plant fat foods is one way to accomplish this. For example, you might use lower-fat cream cheese in a layered dip that includes guacamole or in a drop containing chopped walnuts.

Lower fat cream cheese, including Neufchatel, is widely available. A 1-ounce serving provides 72 calories, 2.59 g protein, 6.46 g fat (3.63 g saturated fat), and 1 mg carbohydrate. Commercial Neufchatel contains pasteurized milk and cream with added gums (xanthan gum, carob bean and guar gums) and cheese culture.

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Plant-based cream cheese

You can also replace unsaturated fat with nut-based cream cheeses, such as Kite Hill Plain Almond Milk Cream Cream Cheese Style Spread (Amazon.com $6). Made primarily from almonds, a 2-tablespoon portion provides 70 calories, 2 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat (with 0 grams as saturated fat), and 2 grams of carbohydrate with 1 gram as fibre. Its texture and flavour are very similar to traditional cream cheese. You can use it in many recipes, including no-bake cheesecake and nut rolled cheese ball recipes.

Use cream cheese in healthy ways.

It doesn’t matter which cream cheese you use. The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to combine it alongside whole, nutritional-rich foods like fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. You can spread it on whole-grain bread, with some bagel seasoning, and vegetables such as red onion, tomato, cucumber, and spinach. Season plain cream cheese with a touch of maple syrup, cinnamon, and freshly grated ginger as a dip for fresh fruit. Fold in savoury seasonings, like garlic and herbs or pico de gallo, and scoop up with fresh veggies like red bell pepper strips, carrots, celery, and cucumber. Add seasonings and nutritional yeast, form into balls, and roll them in chopped nuts or seeds, like chia or sesame, served with whole-grain crackers. Fill corn tortillas using cream cheese. Top with black beans and salsa. Or enjoy cream cheese in desserts that incorporate healthful add-ins, such as pumpkin cheesecake or mini fruit tarts.

Bottom line

Although regular cream cheese made from dairy may not be the best for your health, some people love it. If this is you, consider eating cream cheese with a diet high in whole-plant fats like avocado, olives, and nuts. For balance, pair it up with unprocessed natural nutrients-rich foods.

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