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Cottage cheese vs Cream cheese - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Cottage cheese
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Cream cheese

Introduction

Cottage cheese and cream cheese are dairy products that are obtained after processing milk with an acidic product, also known as the curdling process. The difference between them is that cream cheese retains most of the water and keeps its spreadable texture. On the other hand, cottage cheese is drained after the processing and solid chunks remain in the form of curdles

Taste and flavor

Cottage cheese is solid and curdled, however, the texture is soft and has a creamy flavor, it often has a milky taste. Whereas, cream cheese has a spreadable texture with a creamy flavor. Cream cheese is often found mixed with herbs and garlic. 

Uses in the culinary world

Cottage cheese and cream change have a wide range of versatility and are often used in the culinary world. They are used in baking, breakfast preparations, sauce and dip preparations, desserts, and main dishes like pasta, sushi, and soups.

Baking 

Cream cheese and cottage cheese are good alternatives to use during baking. They are often used to alter the flavor and texture of cookies and cakes. The difference between cream cheese and cottage cheese is that cottage cheese is the low-fat alternative between them, and it tastes closer to milk.

Breakfast preparations

Cream cheese is a famous spread that goes along with bagels. On the other hand, cottage cheese can go along with a healthy avocado and toast breakfast.

Desserts

Cream cheese is the main ingredient in the preparation of cheesecakes. On the other hand, cottage cheese is often used to prepare a dessert bowl, which can also be used as a breakfast alternative. A wide range of toppings can be added to a bowl of cottage cheese, like honey, fruits, and syrup.
However, when it comes to the toppings that are added, the extra calories, sugars, and additives contents must be taken into consideration. 

Crepe filling

Cream cheese and cottage cheese are often used in crepe fillings. They are mixed with vanilla and sugar to add a sweet flavor to them. The difference between them would be in the texture and taste. Cream cheese being creamy and denser whereas cottage cheese is less creamy with a taste close to milk.

Sauces and dips

Cream cheese is a famous base for dipping sauce preparations that are often used to dip in vegetables and chips. However, cottage cheese can also be used as an alternative to it. 

Taco dip

Cream cheese and cottage cheese can be used to prepare the famous taco-layered dip. It is a popular snack that has various layers of different elements such as beef, avocados, etc… The main element is the taco and the sauce. The sauce is often prepared with cream cheese,, and cottage cheese can be added to give the sauce a more solid texture.

Main dishes

Pasta

Cream cheese and cottage cheese can be used in preparations of pasta. In this case, the difference between them is taste and texture related.

Soup

Cream cheese can also be used as a base in the preparation for creamy soups.

Lasagna

Cream cheese makes lasagna even better than it actually is. It can be used in between the layers and it will provide a creamier taste with a wider range of flavors. It can also be used on the top layer instead of mozzarella or other cheeses to provide a melting creamy flavor and texture. Also, cottage cheese is often used as an alternative in between the layers. 

Home preparation

Cottage cheese can be prepared at home. It is quite easy to make. While heating milk, acids are added (vinegar, citric acid) which causes the protein elements of milk to curdle up. This is then rinsed so that any acidic flavors are removed. Afterward, starch is added to keep the curdles from crumbling or sticking to each other.

Cream cheese can also be prepared at home. Acid is added to a combination of milk and cream, or only milk. The curdling process starts taking place. The curdled mixture is then taken and processed into a creamy texture. Various herbs and spices can be added to make it more flavorful.

Shelf life

Cream cheese, if opened, has a shelf life of 10 days, on the other hand, it can last up to 1 month in the fridge when not opened.

On the other hand, cottage cheese lasts for up to 7 days in the fridge. However, if frozen it can last for 3 months

Nutrition

In this part of the article, the nutritional data of cottage cheese and cream cheese are assessed.

100g of each will be taken into consideration while comparing their nutritional data

It is important to note that cottage cheese and cream cheese have different water contents. Cottage cheese constitutes 80% water, meaning that 80g of the 100g is water. On the other hand, cream cheese has only 52.6% water, meaning 52.6g of the 100 is water.

Calories

Cottage cheese contains 95 calories. On the other hand, cream cheese contains much higher calories compared to cottage cheese. It contains 350 calories. Cream cheese has 368% more calories than cottage cheese.

Carbs

Cottage cheese has lower amounts of carbs compared to cream cheese. Cottage cheese contains 3.38g of carbohydrates compared to cream cheese which contains 5.52g.

Proteins

Cottage cheese is richer in protein compared to cream cheese. Cottage cheese contains 11.12g of proteins compared to cream cheese which contains 6.15g.

Fats

Cottage cheese is lower in fats compared to cream cheese. Cream cheese has its consistency due to its higher amounts of fats.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fat amounts are higher in cream cheese.

Cream cheese has high amounts of cholesterol, 101mg. This is 34% of the recommended daily values. 

Glycemic index

Cottage cheese and cream cheese have equal glycemic indices which are equal to 10.

Vitamins

Cottage cheese is richer in vitamin B12. On the other hand, cream cheese is richer in vitamins A, B2, and E.

Minerals

Cottage cheese is richer in sodium and phosphorus. Whereas, cream cheese is richer in selenium.

Calcium

Cottage cheese and cream cheese are considered among the top 25% of foods that are rich in calcium. Yet, there is a slight difference between them, cream cheese is slightly richer in calcium compared to cottage cheese.

Weight loss and diets

Keto

Cottage cheese and cream cheese are considered low-carb foods. They are keto diet foods

However, it is important to note that in the case of cottage cheese, it has to be consumed without additional toppings and syrups. 

Vegan

Cottage cheese and cream cheese cannot be consumed for vegan diets because they are dairy products - animal derivative.

Lactose intolerance

The low amounts of carbs (lactose) in cottage cheese and cream cheese do not trigger an intolerance response in most lactose-intolerant individuals. However, this is on the individual level and not a standard that applies to all lactose intolerant individuals. In cases of need, lactase enzymes can be taken to facilitate the consumption of cottage cheese and cream cheese.

Health impacts

Health benefits

Cardiovascular health

Consumption of cottage cheese and soft cheeses, such as cream cheese, has no correlation with the development of hypertension. (1)

This study shows that the consumption of moderate amounts of cream-based dairy products has positive effects on cardiovascular health. (2)

Diabetes

There is a direct relationship between the reduction of developing type 2 diabetes and moderate consumption of dairy without the addition of additives and sugars. (3)

Studies highlight the association between the reduction of risks of developing metabolic disorders and diabetes. (4)

Downsides & Risks

Cancer

This article shows a positive association between the development of breast cancer and the consumption of cream cheese and cottage cheese when consumed in high amounts. (5)

There is a direct association between the development of prostate cancer and the consumption of high calcium diets. (6)

Diabetes

Full-fat dairy consumption is associated with pre-diabetes development. If pre-diabetes is not controlled in the long run it develops into diabetes. (7)

Summary

In summary, cottage cheese is richer in proteins, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and sodium. It is lower in calories, fats, and carbs. On the other hand, cream cheese is richer in calcium, selenium, vitamins A, B2, and E. 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003316/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25476191/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719038/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5367265/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998914/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22081693/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29498341/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: March 26, 2021

Infographic

Cottage cheese vs Cream cheese infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Copper +61.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +48.6%
Contains more Iron +57.1%
Contains more Calcium +16.9%
Contains more Potassium +26.9%
Contains more Magnesium +12.5%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains less Sodium -13.7%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 3% 25% 10% 6% 10% 11% 69% 48%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 5% 30% 12% 7% 6% 14% 46% 41%
Contains more Copper +61.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +48.6%
Contains more Iron +57.1%
Contains more Calcium +16.9%
Contains more Potassium +26.9%
Contains more Magnesium +12.5%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains less Sodium -13.7%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.4%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +95.5%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin A +693.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +975%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +41.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +21.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.091
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.517
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 9% 2% 3% 7% 38% 2% 34% 11% 54% 0% 9%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 67% 18% 0% 6% 54% 2% 32% 13% 28% 6% 7%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.4%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +95.5%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin A +693.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +975%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +41.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +21.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.091
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.517

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
14
Cottage cheese
19
Cream cheese
Mineral Summary Score
22
Cottage cheese
20
Cream cheese

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
67%
Cottage cheese
37%
Cream cheese
Carbohydrates
3%
Cottage cheese
6%
Cream cheese
Fats
20%
Cottage cheese
159%
Cream cheese

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Cottage cheese Cream cheese
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cottage cheese Cream cheese
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cream cheese
Cream cheese contains less Sodium (difference - 50mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 84mg)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.09g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 18.495g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in glycemic index (difference - 10)
Which food is cheaper?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is cheaper (difference - $1)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cottage cheese Cream cheese Opinion
Calories 98 350 Cream cheese
Protein 11.12 6.15 Cottage cheese
Fats 4.3 34.44 Cream cheese
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 3.38 5.52 Cream cheese
Cholesterol 17 101 Cottage cheese
Vitamin D 3 0 Cottage cheese
Iron 0.07 0.11 Cream cheese
Calcium 83 97 Cream cheese
Potassium 104 132 Cream cheese
Magnesium 8 9 Cream cheese
Sugar 2.67 3.76 Cottage cheese
Fiber 0 0
Copper 0.029 0.018 Cottage cheese
Zinc 0.4 0.5 Cream cheese
Starch 0.35 Cream cheese
Phosphorus 159 107 Cottage cheese
Sodium 364 314 Cream cheese
Vitamin A 140 1111 Cream cheese
Vitamin E 0.08 0.86 Cream cheese
Vitamin D 0.1 0 Cottage cheese
Vitamin B1 0.027 0.023 Cottage cheese
Vitamin B2 0.163 0.23 Cream cheese
Vitamin B3 0.099 0.091 Cottage cheese
Vitamin B5 0.557 0.517 Cottage cheese
Vitamin B6 0.046 0.056 Cream cheese
Vitamin B12 0.43 0.22 Cottage cheese
Vitamin K 0 2.1 Cream cheese
Folate 12 9 Cottage cheese
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 1.718 20.213 Cottage cheese
Monounsaturated Fat 0.778 8.907 Cream cheese
Polyunsaturated fat 0.123 1.483 Cream cheese
Tryptophan 0.147 0.069 Cottage cheese
Threonine 0.5 0.233 Cottage cheese
Isoleucine 0.591 0.324 Cottage cheese
Leucine 1.116 0.657 Cottage cheese
Lysine 0.934 0.567 Cottage cheese
Methionine 0.269 0.191 Cottage cheese
Phenylalanine 0.577 0.291 Cottage cheese
Valine 0.748 0.395 Cottage cheese
Histidine 0.326 0.175 Cottage cheese
Fructose 0 0

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cottage cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172179/nutrients
  2. Cream cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173418/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.