Cream cheese is a smooth, creamy fresh cheese product made from milk and cream, often with other ingredients added as stabilizers and thickeners, such as guar gum and carrageenan. Ordinary cream cheese is available in bar form or in whipped tubs. Most supermarket shops have it in the dairy department. Cream cheese calories and fat content are affected by where you purchase it.
Cream Cheese Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 tablespoon (14.5g) of cream cheese. 1
- Calories : 50.8
- Fat : 5g
- Sodium : 46.5mg
- Carbohydrates : 0.8g
- Fiber : 0g
- Sugars : 0.5g
- Protein : 0.9g
- Vitamin A : 44.7mcg
- Choline : 3.9mg
- Vitamin E : 0.1mg
Cream cheese has very little carbohydrates. A single serving contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates (0.8 gram), most of which are sugar. 2 Nevertheless, the carbohydrate level of some varieties of flavored cream cheese will rise.
The Philadelphia brand Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Spread, for example, has 7 grams of sugar per serving. This flavor of cream cheese is whipped, so the serving size is 2 tablespoons.
Cream cheese contains the majority of its fat as saturated fat. A single serving of cream cheese has 5 grams of total fat, of which 5 grams are saturated fat. There is also a trace of polyunsaturated fat (0.2 g) and monounsaturated fat (0.1 g) (1.3 grams). 2
A single serving of cream cheese has slightly less than 1 gram of protein (0.9 gram).
Vitamins and Minerals
Cream cheese contains vitamins and minerals. You’ll benefit from a small amount of vitamin A (44.7 IU), vitamin K (0.3 mcg), folate (1.3 mcg), and choline (3.9 mg). 2
Minerals in cream cheese include calcium (14.1 milligrams), phosphorus (15.5 mg), magnesium (1.3 mg), potassium (19.1mg), sodium (45.5 mg), and trace amounts of selenium. 2
One tablespoon (14.5g) of cream cheese contains 50.8 calories, 87% of which come from fat, 7% from protein, and 6% from carbs. Whipped cream cheese has much less calories. Because the whipping process adds air to the cheese and fluffs it up, it seems like you get more cream cheese for the same size serving. Some brands also use skim milk as a component, which reduces the fat content.
Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese lists a serving size as 2 tablespoons on the package. That quantity will deliver 50 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat, according to the manufacturer.
The calories in flavored cream cheese vary depending on the brand. Sweet varieties with additional fruit or puree, such as mixed berry or strawberry cream cheese, will increase both the sugar and calorie total. Savory flavors like chive may have added salt so that the sodium content will be slightly higher, but the calories will probably stay the same.
What is a Serving of Cream Cheese?
1-2 teaspoons of cream cheese equals one serving. Popular brands like Philadelphia provide line markings on the package, so you know exactly how much to consume per serving. A single 1-ounce serving (approximately 2 teaspoons) of that brand has 100 calories.
Cream cheese does not have a lot of health benefits, and there is little to no direct research regarding the potential health benefits of cream cheese. A portion of cream cheese contains very few micronutrients that contribute significantly to daily values.
May Help Reduce Fat in Diet
For some people, cream cheese provides a benefit because it is lower in fat and calories than butter. 3 Nonetheless, the difference is not significant, and cream cheese cannot always replace butter. If you choose low-fat cream cheese, you can save even more saturated fat, which is a kind of fat associated with an increased risk of heart disease. 4 Instead of flour and butter, use low-fat cream cheese to thicken meals like soups and sauces.
Source of Vitamin A
Although cream cheese does not have a high concentration of many nutrients, it does have a high concentration of vitamin A. One tablespoon contains 5% of your recommended daily value, and a typical two-tablespoon serving contains 10%. Dairy is a good source of vitamin A, and including fat in a meal with vitamin A will help its absorption. Cream cheese is high in fat and vitamin A, making it an excellent source. 5
Vitamin A is a vitamin that is needed for several body activities, including vision, immunological response, cell differentiation and proliferation, intercellular communication, and reproduction. Since your body cannot make vitamin A, you must acquire it from your food or supplements. Main sources come from animal products such as dairy. 6
Cream cheese includes cow’s milk, thus anybody with dairy or milk allergies should avoid it. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology symptoms of milk allergy can range from mild to severe and may include wheezing, vomiting, hives, and digestive problems. 7 Anaphylaxis may also be caused by milk.
Those who are lactose sensitive should also avoid cream cheese. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Cream cheese comes in a variety of flavors and textures, including low-fat, flavored, and whipped. A comparable cheese product, Neufchatel cheese, has one-third to one-half less fat than the conventional kind. A 1-tablespoon serving contains 2.5 g of fat and 1.5 g of saturated fat. 8
Traditional cream cheese is manufactured from milk, but Neufchatel cheese is made from milk plus cream. If you’re trying to cut fat and calories in recipes you can use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese.
Storage and Food Safety
Cream cheese should be kept chilled and properly wrapped. Cream cheese may be frozen for use in recipes, although the texture will alter. When it has thawed, you probably won’t want to spread it over toast or a bagel.
How to Prepare
Cream cheese may be difficult to deal with in recipes when it is cold. The easiest approach to soften it is to leave it on the counter for a few minutes. But if you don’t have time, simply press the cheese with a pastry roller or with the palm of your hand to soften it.
If you like cream cheese, you may be creative in order to include it into your healthy diet. Greek cream cheese may be available at your local store. This kind of spread is made by companies such as Green Mountain Farm and has more protein and less fat than standard forms.
You may also use less spread to keep the fat and calories under control. For example, if you usually love to eat a bagel with jam and cream cheese for breakfast, try this healthier version instead: scoop out a bagel, then spread a thin layer of whipped cream cheese, and top with real fruit.
You’ll not only save fat, carbohydrates, and calories, but you’ll also lose sugar by substituting fresh fruit for jam.