Is half and half bad for you?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is half and half bad for you?” and will discuss the fat content of half and half.

Is half and half bad for you?

No, half and half is not bad for you. When consumed sensibly, half-and-half is not unhealthy for you. The toxicity of flavored and sweetened varieties of the condiment, on the other hand, can be increased.

What is half and half?

Whole milk and cream are used to make the popular American coffee creamer, half-and-half. Half-and-nutritional half’s worth and health effects are being questioned, especially by those who are vegan food consumers, and people that avoid lactose and cholesterol or are allergic to milk proteins (3), even though it is a fundamental ingredient in our morning brew.

Milk and cream are the basic components in traditional half-and-half. It is a blend of equal amounts of milk and fat, giving a total fat content of ~10% milk fat, 3.3% of protein and about 85% water (1). 20 calories and almost two grams of fat are included in a single tablespoon portion, according to the USDA. Traditional half-and-half seems to have little harmful effects on health when used in small amounts regularly.

How can half and half be harmful?

Using too much processing may lead to problems with half-and-half. Many consumers choose fat-free half-and-half because it has the same rich, creamy flavor and texture as full-fat half-and-half, but with fewer calories. A common coffee ingredient must undergo a significant amount of processing before mimicking that feel. The substitution of milk through dairy-free alternatives is a trend and helps lactose intolerant and allergic people to consume milk (3).

The thickening agent in fat-free half-and-half is a substance called carrageenan. There has recently been a lot of debate in the food business over the possible health risks associated with the usage of carrageenan. Other additives may be present, such as flavoring and coloring additives (4).

What are the ingredients of half and half?

Fat-free half and half also reduce calories by omitting milk fat but substituting it with corn syrup and other preservatives. However, even if the fat-free alternative reduces the calorie intake by half, the sugar and salt content are rough twice the usual amounts. Additives include also minerals, sweeteners, flavorings, salt, oils and stabilizers, such as mono- and diglycerides, glyceryl monostearate, guar gum and carrageenan (4).

Recently, research has shown that full-fat dairy products have a lower effect on health compared to non-fat dairy products. Many types of bioactive components, milk enzymes, bioactive peptides, immunoglobulins, oligosaccharides, organic acids, lactoferrin, nucleotides, milk vitamins, and minerals are present in cow milk and are not found in non-dairy substitutes (3).

Corn syrup

Corn syrup was introduced in the 1960s-70s as an added sweetener substituting for sucrose. This sweetener contains 42–55% fructose (with the remainder as glucose), and is commonly used in many food and beverage products (5).

Corn syrup has been related to weight gain, diabetes, and even cardiovascular concerns (5), so substituting half-and-half for corn syrup is a bad idea. Sugar substitutes may be used to enhance the taste of other types. When we substitute sugar replacements for natural foods, we face unfavorable health effects.

Sugar

Sugar is a carbohydrate, which means that it may be swiftly converted into energy by our bodies, which can be achieved with a moderate to low consumption of sugar. As a result, our systems consume the bare minimum sugar for energy and store surplus sugar as fat via a process known as lipogenesis when we eat too much corn syrup. Over time, fat storage leads to weight growth and the myriad of health issues that come with it. Epidemiology shows that the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has paralleled the rise in childhood obesity (5). 

Carrageenan

The traditional half-and-half is a better alternative than non-dairy creamer. Non-dairy creamers contain many additives, including Carrageenan (3). Carrageenan is a family of marine polysaccharides isolated from seaweeds, and is generally recognized as safe. It is widely used as a thickener, emulsifier, stabilizer or gelling agent (6).

and “Naturalnatural” tastes are also included in several non-dairy creamers. Even though “natural” tastes may seem attractive, these chemicals have a problematic history. The FDA does not presently regulate the word “natural.” This “natural” flavor, Castoreum, is often used to mimic vanilla tastes. The castor sacs of North American beavers are the source of castoreum. Naturally occurring castor sacs might be a little unappetizing for certain people, because it is a creamy brown substance that is extracted from sacs on the hind end of a beaver, typically harvested from the pelts, not from live animals. The beavers mix the castoreum with urine and apply it to their fur to increase its water repellence, as well as to mark out their territory (7).

What is conventional full-fat half-and-half? 

The conventional full-fat half-and-half is the finest choice when it comes to half-and-half. Buying organic versions of the product ensures that the product is made only of milk and cream, as opposed to other ingredients. You should avoid fat-free and flavor-enhanced products since they include more sugar and oil than the standard full-calorie product. Non-dairy creamer should never be substituted for half-and-half if you want to limit your intake of unhealthy additives. Most commonly used ingredients of non-dairy milk products include thickener (guar gum and carrageenan), sweetener, flavorings, stabilizers, coloring agents etc (4).

Are there any advantages to using half and half as a fat source?

Half-and-Half, As a result, it has a higher fat content than whole milk (which has 3.5 percent fat), but it is still less fattening than a cup of light cream. This makes it a popular addition to coffee since it provides a bit more richness to the cup than whole milk does, but not as much as the cream does. This makes it popular. Milk contains high levels of short and medium chain fatty acids, which are important for human nutrition and wellbeing, including hypocholesterolemic action (3).

Is half & half better for you than milk?

The protein content in the whole milk is higher (3.8%) compared to half-and-half (3.3%). The fat content in half and half is about 10%, while whole milk contains 3.5 – 3.8% fat (1). In terms of non-dairy creamers, which are made of soy, oat or almond, the benefits of its consumption are that they are lactose free, cholesterol free and low calorie.  both half and half and one percent milk are superior options. More vitamins and minerals are found in them since they are less processed. Half and half milk is a healthier alternative than 1 percent milk since it has less saturated fat and cholesterol. On the other hand, numerous scientific evidences and reports have demonstrated that the natural milk possesses more beneficial nutrients and bioactive components than artificially manufactured plant-derived milks (3).

The fat content of  half and half

In cow’s milk, more than 98% of fats are triacylglycerols, but monoacylglycerols and diacylglycerols, free fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, carotenoids, fat-soluble vitamins and flavor compounds are also found. Half-and-half is a mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream, hence the name, “half-and-half”. The cream products could be classified according to the milkfat contents, such as heavy cream (>36%), light cream (18 – 30%) and half and half (>10.5%) in United States (2).

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is half and half bad for you?” and discussed the fat content of half and half.

References

  1. Peyronel, Fernanda, Alejandro G. Marangoni, and David A. Pink. Using the USAXS technique to reveal the fat globule and casein micelle structures of bovine dairy products. Food Res Int, 2020, 129, 108846.
  2. Lee, Chia-Lin, et al. Standards and labeling of milk fat and spread products in different countries. J food drug anal, 2018, 26, 469-480.
  3. Park, Young Woo. The impact of plant-based non-dairy alternative milk on the dairy industry. Food sci anim resour, 2021, 4, 8.
  4. Yadav, Deep N., et al. Plant based dairy analogues: An emerging food. (2017).
  5. Patterson, Mary E., et al. Acute metabolic responses to high fructose corn syrup ingestion in adolescents with overweight/obesity and diabetes. J nutr intermed metab, 2018, 14, 1-7.
  6. David, Shlomit, et al. Revisiting the carrageenan controversy: do we really understand the digestive fate and safety of carrageenan in our foods? Food func, 2018, 9, 1344-1352.
  7. Francl, Michelle. Molecular backstories. Diss. Nature Publishing Group, 2021

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.