Heavy whipping cream adds a rich, decadent note to coffee, tea, desserts and even savory dishes. It’s one of the most calorie-rich dairy products, so it can definitely help you boost your daily calorie intake and aid weight gain efforts. The cream is also high in fat and cholesterol, however, which means there are far healthier options you can choose to safely put on pounds.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 fluid cup of heavy whipping cream contains 821 calories. The cream also has 5 g protein, 6.5 g carbohydrates and 88 g fat, 55 g of which are saturated. A cup of cream also has about 325 mg cholesterol. In contrast, 1 cup of skim milk has 83 calories, 8.25 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, no fat and just 5 mg cholesterol.
As a beverage, heavy cream is too high in fat and cholesterol to have prominent health advantages. Because it has such a lofty calorie count, however, it is likely to help you gain weight. Because it’s an entirely natural dairy product, heavy cream is also lower in sugar than high-calorie meal replacement drinks, and contains no artificial ingredients or additives.
Even though heavy cream can help you gain weight quickly, it isn’t healthy to drink it straight. Adding significant amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol to your diet can increase your chances of gaining fat rather than muscle and raise your risks of heart disease, diabetes and long-term health problems. MayoClinic.com recommends that healthy adults have no more than 240 mg of cholesterol daily and ideally keep daily levels below 200 mg.
When you need to gain weight, CNN.com’s physician nutrition specialist, Dr. Melina Jampolis, recommends trying to put on 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. per week with nutrient-dense foods that maximize vitamins, minerals and calories and minimize saturated fat and cholesterol. She suggests eating more whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds to your diet. Katherine Zeratsky, registered dietitian for MayoClinic.com, also encourages underweight people to drink high-calorie but nutritious smoothies before or after meals.
While drinking heavy cream will help you gain weight, it’s not the safest or healthiest method, and you may experience difficulty with trying to convert any fat you gain into muscle. Before you make any adjustments to your current eating plan, check with your physician or a registered dietitian, who can help you design a personalized diet for healthy weight gain.