My husband drinks copious amounts of cream every day in his coffee, and for ages I just picked up the Kroger brand cream at Dillon’s. Then one day I noticed that the ingredients list included more than just cream…
What the… ?
Food and health geek that I am, of course I had to look all those things up.
I frequently refer to Chris Kresser’s site, because he seems to do a good job of looking carefully at what the facts say, not just passing on the latest hysteria. His take on carrageenan:
“Carrageenan has been frequently portrayed as significantly more harmful than is supported by available evidence. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a known carcinogen, and although some studies implicate carrageenan in ulceration and inflammation, some show no adverse effects…. Because the evidence isn’t conclusive either way, I recommend avoiding carrageenan, especially if you have a history of digestive problems.” (source)
(Interesting side note: Carrageenan also shows up frequently in commercially made soy milk and almond milk.)
Mono and diglycerides are synthetic fats derived from either vegetable oils (not a good thing) or animal fats. (source)
Polysorbate worries me a bit. Some mice studies have shown that “relatively low concentrations” of polysorbate-80 “induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type [mice] and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder.” (source)
In English? If the mice study holds true for humans, even a small intake of polysorbate-80 could cause general inflammation and/or pre-diabetes in anyone, and severe colitis in people who are genetically prone to colitis.
So, not conclusive evidence, and not terribly precise. But if I can find an easily accessible, not too expensive alternative, I’ll go for it.
Which of course means more research! So I hit a couple stores and gathered some intel. This isn’t exhaustive research, by any means, but it does make me feel like I’ve done my homework and can make an informed decision.
Here are various brands of cream available at Dillon’s and Whole Foods Market in Wichita KS, and their ingredients and cost per ounce.
As reader Mary O. reminded me, local dairies are almost always a better bet than national brands, and you may be able to find local cream for much less outside the grocery store. Google and ask your health-minded friends for local sources.
And, just to be thorough, here’s some info on half-and-half, as well:
Note: Disodium phosphate and sodium citrate are salts used to preserve foods or improve their consistency. I couldn’t find any research on either of them.
So, my research concludes: The most pure options are the Hildebrand cream, the Kalona cream, and the Kalona half-and-half. Of these, the Hildebrand cream and the Kalona half-and-half are the cheapest and similar in price.
Note: Hildebrand products come in glass bottles which cost an additional amount for deposit, but if you return them to the store, the deposit is completely refunded. Whether it’s worth the extra hassle is your call.