A luscious, rich dessert with multiple layers, cheesecake remains one of the most popular sweet treats around the world. However, you have to watch the serving size because cheesecake's calorie count is high, and the confection is full of fat from heavy doses of cream cheese, ricotta or sour cream.
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A slice of cheesecake contains 274 calories and up, depending on how the food is made and what toppings are added. A restaurant-purchased cheesecake will contain far more calories than one you can make at home.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database distinguishes between commercially-prepared cheesecake and a no-bake cheesecake made from a mix. A serving of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory Bakery Inc. (which contains 123 grams of cake) contains 430 calories, 34 grams of fat and 130 milligrams of cholesterol. Other cheesecake macronutrients you'll get from this commercially-prepared dessert include the following:
- 100 milligrams of calcium, for bone strength
- 6 grams of protein, to build and repair tissues
- 1,250 international units of vitamin A, to help your organs work
- 1.2 milligrams of vitamin C, for a healthy immune system
A no-bake cheesecake prepared from a mix, per the USDA, contains 274 calories. For comparison, you will consume 230 calories in a slice of pizza, according the USDA. A no-bake cheesecake also has 12.7 grams of fat, 29 milligrams of cholesterol and more macronutrients than the restaurant-prepared version. It also contains:
- 172 milligrams of calcium
- 5.5 grams of protein
- 366 international units of vitamin A
- 0.5 milligrams of vitamin C
You'll also get 19 milligrams of magnesium for bone growth, 234 milligrams of phosphorus to help with protein synthesis, 211 milligrams of potassium for muscle contraction, and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamin B-12.
Adding toppings and flavorings will increase the calorie count. For example, according to the Cheesecake Factory's Nutritional Menu, a Hershey's Chocolate Bar Cheesecake tops out at 1,380 calories per slice. If you do want extra toppings on your cheesecake, sticking to fresh fruit can keep calorie counts down, and add at least a few additional nutrient benefits to this high-fat dessert.
Ingredients in Cheesecake
You will find as many different recipes for cheesecake as you will find flavor options, but they all contain a few essential ingredients. According to a recipe from the BBC, a New York-style cheesecake contains butter, breadcrumbs, white sugar, cream cheese, flour, eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.
When you make cheesecake at home, you can control some of the high-calorie ingredients. The Food Network offers a low-fat cheesecake recipe that uses fat-free cream cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, egg whites and Neufchatel cream cheese — a soft cheese offering similar texture and flavor to cream cheese. You can use 1 cup of Neufchatel to replace 1 cup of cream cheese in recipes. You can also substitute low-fat graham crackers for regular graham crackers when making the crust.
Not everyone should indulge in cheesecake, however. People with egg allergies might want to avoid this dessert. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, second only to milk. The allergy is specific to the eggs' whites, but because you can't completely separate an egg yolk from the white portion, you should avoid any food products that include eggs. It's a good idea to speak with a medical professional if you have any concerns.
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- United States Department of Agriculture: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 452856040, Cheesecake, UPC: 785397121391”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Basic Report: 18148, Cake, Cheesecake, Prepared from Mix, No-Bake Type”
- BBC: “New York Cheesecake”
- Food Network: “Low-Fat Cheesecake”
- Cheesecake Factory: “Nutritional Guide”
- Food Allergy & Education: “Egg Allergy”
- United States Department of Agriculture: "Full Report (All Nutrients): 45190712, Sliced Pizza, UPC: 041735157652