While enjoying whipped cream as a tasty topping for fruit or ice cream every now and then is probably fine, eating too much of the sweet treat too often is bad for you.
Whipped cream is pretty much exactly as its name suggests—you take a heavy cream and then “whip it” with a whisk or mixer until it is light and fluffy. It’s also sometimes flavored with sugar and vanilla.
Once whipped cream is made, it’s generally never consumed all on its own. Rather, it’s used as popular topping for fruit, ice cream, cakes, hot chocolate and specialty coffee drinks. Whipped cream is also used as a primary ingredient in several desserts, for example as a filling for layer cakes.
Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned foods are very good for you. They might be delicious—but the bulk of them contain tons of sugar, artificial colors and flavors along with tons of excess calories for very little nutritional value.
Adding whipped cream to the mix does not help. Since whipped cream is made primarily from cream, it’s not good for you. Homemade whipped cream contains around eight calories per tablespoon, plus a gram of fat and nearly half a gram of sugar. Again, this is not terrible all on its own—but when it's used in conjunction with foods that are already heavily laden with excess sugar and calories, it just makes them worse.
Daily recommended calorie intakes vary by age, gender and lifestyle. However, on average, women need to eat approximately 2000 calories per day to maintain their current weight, while the average man needs to eat around 2500 calories. Repeatedly going over your daily recommended calories can lead to obesity, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
But while homemade whipped cream may not be the best choice... processed, pressurized whipped creams are even worse. Popular ready-made toppings Cool Whip and Reddi Whip may be more convenient than making your own whipped cream, but harmful additives make them even more unsafe.
A container of Cool Whip, for instance, lists high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils as its primary ingredients after water. High-fructose corn syrup can lead to more weight gain than plain old table syrup, reveals a recent Princeton University study. Hydrogenated oils are just as bad: the National Academy of Sciences states that there are no safe, acceptable levels of trans fats. These fats have been consistently linked to heart disease because they increase LDL (bad cholesterol) while lowering HDL (good cholesterol).
Our advice? If you have the willpower, skip whipped cream altogether. But if you do decide to treat yourself, opt for homemade whipped cream over dangerous, ready-made varieties.
Possible long-term side effects
- bodily inflammation
- heart disease
- certain types of cancer
Ingredients to be aware of
- tastes good
- versatile topping