Are There Health Benefits of Heavy Whipping Cream?

Heavy whipping cream is the result of the natural separation of raw milk. Fat-rich cream rises to the top of the milk. The raw cream is then pasteurized and homogenized to kill harmful bacteria and increase its shelf life. 

Nutrition in Heavy Whipping Cream

Heavy whipping cream is high in fat and some vitamins. One-half cup contains: 

Benefits of Heavy Whipping Cream

Heavy whipping cream contains important fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E, and K. Full-fat dairy products such as heavy whipping cream contain more of these vitamins than low-fat or nonfat dairy. Fat-soluble vitamins are better absorbed by your body when they are consumed with fat.

While saturated fat such as that found in heavy whipping cream was thought to increase the risk of heart disease, new studies aren't clear on the connection. Researchers who looked at several long-term studies discovered that there was no correlation between the use of full-fat dairy products and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. 

But full-fat dairy wasn’t found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, either. "Fat swapping," the practice of replacing high-fat dairy with vegetable fat, reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10% while replacing it with polyunsaturated fat reduced the risk by 24%.  Swapping full-fat dairy for whole grains reduced the risk of heart disease by 28%.  

Full-fat dairy may be associated with a lessened risk of obesity. A 2014 study of more than 1300 people found that those who consumed the highest amount of full-fat dairy were less likely to be obese than those who consumed the lowest. They also had less belly fat.

Another study of 3300 people found that those who contained high levels of dairy fat were less likely to develop diabetes later in life. Those with low levels of dairy fatty acids were more likely to develop diabetes.

Dairy products are a good source of calcium, which helps promote bone health and reduces the risk of fractures. Milk products are also fortified with Vitamin D, which helps maintain bone mass. The protein in dairy products can also help protect against sarcopenia, which is the loss of strength and muscle mass that occurs with aging. 

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Health Concerns of Heavy Whipping Cream

However, the news about full-fat dairy such as heavy whipping cream isn’t all good. High-fat dairy has been associated with an increased risk of dementia and worse breast cancer survival rates. 

High-fat dairy has also been associated with an increased risk of death from prostate cancer. The risk rose with increased consumption of whole-fat milk.

While full-fat dairy may not be much worse than low-fat dairy, getting the calcium and protein you need from nuts and leafy vegetables will offer more nutritional benefits.  

How to Make Heavy Whipping Cream Part of Your Healthy Diet

With studies showing mixed results on the benefits and risks of full-fat dairy, moderation is the key to making heavy whipping cream a part of your diet. You should aim to have no more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day in a 2000-calorie diet. 

The American Heart Association recommends that people with heart problems consume no more than 5% to 6% of total calories as saturated fat. For those without these conditions, calories from saturated fat should make up no more than 7% to 10% of their diet.

While having full-fat dairy on occasion can be part of a healthy diet, there's no research to suggest that full-fat dairy is always better than low-fat.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 21, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Whole Milk or Skim? The Jury’s Still Out."

Current Developments in Nutrition: "Multiple Vitamin K Forms Exist in Dairy Foods."

Encyclopedia of Food and Health: "Cream: Types of Cream."

FoodData Central: "Cream, fluid, heavy whipping."

Harvard Health Blog: "Dairy: Health food or health risk?", "Is it time to stop skimming over full-fat dairy?"

Harvard Women's Health Watch: "Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products?"

Nutrition Journal: "Dairy products intake and cancer mortality risk: a meta-analysis of 11 population-based cohort studies."

Nutrition Research: "Whole-fat dairy food intake is inversely associated with obesity prevalence: findings from the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study."

The Nutrition Source: "Study sheds light on dairy fat and cardiovascular disease risk."

ScienceDirect: "Cream: Manufacture."

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