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Cream cheese vs Ricotta - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on July 20, 2022
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Cream cheese
vs
Ricotta

Summary

Ricotta is richer in proteins, selenium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Cream cheese is higher in calories, fat, saturated fats, and sodium. Cream cheese is richer in vitamins B2, B5, A, and E.

Introduction

This article compares two types of dairy products: ricotta and cream cheese. We will discuss their differences according to their general aspects, nutritional content, and health impacts.

By the end of the article, the reader will understand the difference between ricotta and cream cheese and have a clearer decision about consuming these foods.

General aspects

Ricotta is prepared from leftovers of cheese making by reheating and acidifying the whey product. In comparison, cream cheese is directly prepared from milk.

Ricotta is less creamy and has a granular texture than cream cheese; however, it has a slightly sweeter taste. On the other hand, cream cheese is a creamier texture than ricotta and has a saltier taste.

Nutritional content comparison

In this section, we are taking into consideration 100g of each.

Calories

Cream cheese contains double the amount of calories as compared to ricotta. There are 350 calories in 100g of cream cheese.

Carbs

Cream cheese is higher in carbohydrates compared to ricotta.

Fats

Cream cheese contains higher amounts of fats compared to ricotta. There is nearly 35g of fat in cream cheese compared to 13g in ricotta.

Saturated fats

Cream cheese contains 2.5 times more saturated fats compared to ricotta. This difference is significant. Cream cheese contains 20g of saturated fats.

Proteins

Ricotta contains double the amount of protein compared to cream cheese. There are nearly 12g of protein per 100g of ricotta.

Minerals

Ricotta is richer in selenium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. In comparison, cream cheese is high in sodium.

In the visual diagram below, we can visualize the difference in their mineral distributions.

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 Potassium +25.7%
Contains more Calcium +113.4%
Contains more Iron +245.5%
Contains more Magnesium +22.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +47.7%
Contains less Sodium -73.2%
Contains more Zinc +132%
Contains more Copper +16.7%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 30% 5% 7% 46% 12% 41% 14% 6%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 63% 15% 8% 68% 10% 11% 32% 7%
Contains more Potassium +25.7%
Contains more Calcium +113.4%
Contains more Iron +245.5%
Contains more Magnesium +22.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +47.7%
Contains less Sodium -73.2%
Contains more Zinc +132%
Contains more Copper +16.7%

Vitamins

Ricotta is richer in vitamin B12. Cream cheese is richer in vitamins B2, B5, A, and E.

In the visual diagram below, we can visualize the difference in their vitamin distributions.

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 A +149.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +681.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +76.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +142.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +90.9%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +14.3%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +54.5%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 67% 18% 0% 0% 6% 54% 2% 32% 13% 7% 28% 6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 27% 3% 6% 0% 4% 45% 2% 13% 10% 9% 43% 3%
Contains more Vitamin A +149.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +681.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +76.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +142.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +90.9%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +14.3%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +54.5%

Health impacts

Both dairy products share common health impacts; however, we will focus on the different health impacts in this section.

Cardiovascular health

Cream cheese contains higher amounts of LDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. (1)

Antioxidant 

Ricotta is richer in selenium which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Selenium maintains a healthy immune system. (2)
Cream cheese is richer in vitamin E, which also provides antioxidative properties. (3)

Cancer

Calcium-rich foods, in this case, ricotta, are associated with increased risks of prostate cancer in males. It is essential to keep dairy consumption to moderate amounts. (4)

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34649831/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10963212/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22081693/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: July 20, 2022

Infographic

Cream cheese vs Ricotta infographic
Infographic link

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.
Cream cheese Ricotta
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cream cheese Ricotta Opinion
Net carbs 5.52g 3.04g Cream cheese
Protein 6.15g 11.26g Ricotta
Fats 34.44g 12.98g Cream cheese
Carbs 5.52g 3.04g Cream cheese
Calories 350kcal 174kcal Cream cheese
Starch 0.35g g Cream cheese
Fructose 0g g Cream cheese
Sugar 3.76g 0.27g Ricotta
Fiber 0g 0g
Calcium 97mg 207mg Ricotta
Iron 0.11mg 0.38mg Ricotta
Magnesium 9mg 11mg Ricotta
Phosphorus 107mg 158mg Ricotta
Potassium 132mg 105mg Cream cheese
Sodium 314mg 84mg Ricotta
Zinc 0.5mg 1.16mg Ricotta
Copper 0.018mg 0.021mg Ricotta
Vitamin A 1111IU 445IU Cream cheese
Vitamin E 0.86mg 0.11mg Cream cheese
Vitamin D 0IU 10IU Ricotta
Vitamin D 0µg 0.2µg Ricotta
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0.023mg 0.013mg Cream cheese
Vitamin B2 0.23mg 0.195mg Cream cheese
Vitamin B3 0.091mg 0.104mg Ricotta
Vitamin B5 0.517mg 0.213mg Cream cheese
Vitamin B6 0.056mg 0.043mg Cream cheese
Folate 9µg 12µg Ricotta
Vitamin B12 0.22µg 0.34µg Ricotta
Vitamin K 2.1µg 1.1µg Cream cheese
Tryptophan 0.069mg 0.125mg Ricotta
Threonine 0.233mg 0.517mg Ricotta
Isoleucine 0.324mg 0.589mg Ricotta
Leucine 0.657mg 1.221mg Ricotta
Lysine 0.567mg 1.338mg Ricotta
Methionine 0.191mg 0.281mg Ricotta
Phenylalanine 0.291mg 0.556mg Ricotta
Valine 0.395mg 0.692mg Ricotta
Histidine 0.175mg 0.459mg Ricotta
Cholesterol 101mg 51mg Ricotta
Trans Fat g g
Saturated Fat 20.213g 8.295g Ricotta
Monounsaturated Fat 8.907g 3.627g Cream cheese
Polyunsaturated fat 1.483g 0.385g Cream cheese

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

People also compare

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
19
Cream cheese
14
Ricotta
Mineral Summary Score
20
Cream cheese
26
Ricotta

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
37%
Cream cheese
68%
Ricotta
Carbohydrates
6%
Cream cheese
3%
Ricotta
Fats
159%
Cream cheese
60%
Ricotta

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Ricotta
Ricotta is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.49g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Ricotta
Ricotta contains less Sodium (difference - 230mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Ricotta
Ricotta is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 50mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Ricotta
Ricotta is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 11.918g)
Which food is cheaper?
Ricotta
Ricotta is cheaper (difference - $1)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Ricotta
Ricotta is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cream cheese
Cream cheese is lower in glycemic index (difference - 27)
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.

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. Cream cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173418/nutrients
  2. Ricotta - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170851/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.