Is Cream Cheese Healthy?

Who don't like cheese? Americans are in a completely same league as they consumed about 10.6 billion pounds of cheese in 2011. In 2013, the United States produced more than 11.1 billion pounds of cheese. You will know how much Americans love the cheese, and it's not all that bad, considering cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. What's more, it also makes you feel full after snacks and meals, so it is a great choice for anyone trying to lose weight. However, it has high fat content, which makes people especially skeptical about eating cream cheese. So is cheese healthy? And among different kinds of cheeses, is cream cheese healthy?

Is Cream Cheese Healthy?

Derived usually from the milk of buffalo, cows, sheep or goats, cheese is produced in a variety of textures, flavors and forms. It is important to acidify the milk and include the enzyme rennet to cause coagulation. They separate the solids and press them into final form. Thus, cheese has the combination of fat and proteins from milk. Different countries are now in the production of cheese and they produce different forms of it, but cream cheese is considered one of the freshest cheeses that people often eat. Although cream cheese is a mild-tasting fresh cheese, it comes with a very high fat content.

So, you may want to know "Is cream cheese healthy?" Well, the answer depends on the type of cream cheese you select.

If you choose the regular cream cheese, a tablespoon of your regular cream cheese will have about 3.5g fat and about 35 calories with 11mg cholesterol, 2.2g saturated fat, and 30mg sodium. It means that the regular cream cheese is high in saturated fat, which is not that healthy, especially for your cardiovascular health. It also contributes toward arthritis, type-2 diabetes, and memory loss. It is not going to help you achieve your fitness goals either.

If you choose fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese, a tablespoon of reduced-fat cream cheese will have fewer calories because the calories in cheese cream come from its fat content. And the fat-free cream cheese will have less. It's much healthier and is a good choice even if you're trying to lose weight. You may have a hard time finding the best fat-free cheese though, because different brands will use preservatives to replace the fat. So, choose it carefully.

Are There Any Healthy Cheeses?

If you're searching for an answer to the question, "Is cream cheese healthy?" it is important to learn more about different types of cheeses to be able to select the best one for you. Below are some relatively healthy cheeses you can choose from.

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: Made from skim milk, it has fewer calories and very little fat. You can grate it with ease and add to your salads and pastas.
  • Feta Cheese: Pure white feta is made using goat's milk, which is the reason why it is a good choice for anyone who is lactose-sensitive. It has lower fat and calories than other cheeses, but it has a strong flavor, which is actually a good thing because it keeps you from eating more.
  • Italian Ricotta Cheese: Made from whey instead of whole milk, it has low fat content and is a rich source of protein and calcium. You can make it a part of your diet, especially if you choose fat-free or reduced-fat varieties. Ricotta is also a great source of an antioxidant called selenium that helps prevent arthritis.

Healthy Tips to Choose and Eat Cheese

Is cream cheese healthy? The answer to this question depends on how you select and eat the cheese, and you will be able to select a healthy cheese if you keep the following tips in mind.

  • Don't opt for hard cheeses because they will have the highest calories. They contain less water per bit as compared to fluffy cheeses.
  • Opt for soft cheeses because they have a lower sodium content, and are even healthier when are made from skim or part-skim milk.
  • Avoid buying cheese with sodium content higher than 400 grams.
  • Buy cheeses with a strong flavor because it will limit the amount you eat.
  • Opt for organic cheese varieties made specifically with milk from animals that eat food without any insecticides and pesticides.

In case you want to add cheese to your diet, there are a number of ways to do it in a healthy manner.

  • Grate the cheese to limit the amount you eat. Don't eat more than a slice of cheese at one time.
  • Don't use cheese in fillings when baking dishes to keep fat content on the lower side. Use it only as a topping.
  • Opt for a combination of pureed non-fat cottage cheese and reduced-fat cream cheese to limit the amount of saturated fat and calories you eat. 
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