Half-and-half is typically made from a mixture of cream and milk. There are carbs in half-and-half, though the exact amount depends on whether you're consuming regular, low-fat or nonfat half-and-half. The carbohydrates in milk and half-and-half are about the same.
There are carbs in half-and-half, but the exact amount depends on the type of half-and-half you've selected. You can find between 3.3 and 9 grams of carbs in every 100 grams of half-and-half products.
Types of Half-and-Half
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, half-and-half is a mixture of milk and cream that should contain between 10.5 and 18 percent milk fat. This amount varies since it can be made with light cream (18 to 30 percent fat) or heavy cream (36 percent or more fat). These guidelines primarily apply to standard half-and-half products; low-fat and nonfat half-and-half have different fat contents.
Half-and-half that is low in fat has between a half and a third of the fat content compared to standard half-and-half products. In every 100 grams of low-fat half-and-half, you can find about 5 grams of fat.
Nonfat half-and-half is a different type of product altogether. While most half-and-half products are made up of a blend of milk and cream, nonfat half-and-half is made from milk (primarily nonfat milk) and corn syrup. This product has 1.4 grams of fat for every 100 grams of product.
Macronutrients in Half-and-Half
Half-and-half is typically considered to be a fat-rich product. Since all half-and-half products contain milk, this means that they contain macronutrients other than fat. In fact, standard half-and-half, low-fat half-and-half and nonfat half-and-half all have roughly the same amount of protein. In every 100 grams, standard half-and-half has 3.1 grams of protein, low-fat half-and-half has 3.3. grams of protein and nonfat half-and-half has 2.6 grams of protein.
Carbs in half-and-half products differ the most between products. In every 100 grams, standard half-and-half has 4.7 grams of carbohydrates, low-fat half-and-half has 3.3 grams of carbohydrates and nonfat half-and-half has 9 grams of carbohydrates.
As a dairy product, half-and-half contains a variety of nutrients. In every 100 grams of half-and-half, you can find nutrients like:
- 11 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A
- 15 percent of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 11 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
- 8 percent of the DV for vitamin B12
- 8 percent of the DV for calcium
- 8 percent of the DV for phosphorus
- 6 percent of the DV for selenium
Reduced-Fat Half-and-Half Nutrition
Low-fat half-and-half's nutrition is about the same as standard half-and-half. However, it contains half the vitamin A content and no vitamin B5.
Nonfat half-and-half has a different nutritional profile compared to standard and low-fat half-and-half. In every 100 grams of nonfat half-and-half, you'll find:
- 5 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- 18 percent of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 9 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
- 22 percent of the DV for vitamin B12
- 7 percent of the DV for calcium
- 12 percent of the DV for phosphorus
- 7 percent of the DV for zinc
- 5 percent of the DV for selenium
Comparing Half-and-Half Products
Half-and-half products are rich in most of the same vitamins and minerals. Objectively, nonfat half-and-half has a wider variety of minerals than low-fat and standard half-and-half.
Nonfat half-and-half also has the least saturated fat: Just 0.8 grams of saturated fat in every 100 grams. In 100 grams of low-fat half-and-half, you'll have 3.3 grams of saturated fat compared to 7 grams of saturated fat in standard half-and-half.
Half-and-half's calories are just 123 calories per 100 grams. Comparatively, low-fat half-and-half has 72 calories and nonfat half-and-half has 59 calories. This means that nonfat half-and-half has the least calories, least saturated fat and most nutrients out of all three products.
Half-and-Half and Healthy Diets
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most people consume about 3 cups of dairy each day. As a dairy product, half-and-half can contribute to your dairy intake. Typically, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming low-fat and nonfat products, as these products are lower in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can be detrimental to your cardiovascular health.
Although nonfat half-and-half has very little saturated fat, minimal calories and many beneficial minerals, it also has some downsides. Nonfat half-and-half has nearly twice as many carbohydrates, some of which come from additives like corn syrup. According to a June 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, products with corn syrup may also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Low-fat half-and-half has the lowest amount of carbohydrates and still has less than half the fat content compared to regular half-and-half. Given this balance of macronutrients and the lack of additives like corn syrup, low-fat half-and-half may be the healthiest of all half-and-half products.
Half-and-Half Versus Milk
Milk and half-and-half have a lot in common, given that all half-and-half products contain some type of milk. However, given the amounts of carbs in nonfat half-and-half and the amount of fat in regular and low-fat half-and-half products, half-and-half and milk should not be consumed interchangeably. Most half-and-half is too fatty, carb-rich or calorific to be consumed as liberally as milk.
The fattiest milk, full cream milk, has a total of 3.3 grams of fat per 100 grams. The most carbohydrate-rich milks, skim milk and 1 percent milk, both have 5 carbohydrates per 100 grams. However, most people don't consume just 100 grams of milk; they typically consume cupfuls. In contrast, people who consume half-and-half may use as little as a tablespoon (15 grams) worth as creamer for their coffee or use as much as a cup's worth (242 grams) when baking with it or making soup.
If you enjoy cooking with half-and-half and use it in large amounts, you may want to consider using whole milk, instead. Whole milk has less saturated fat than both regular and low-fat half-and-half. Milk also has many more nutrients, fewer calories and the same amount of protein as half-and-half products.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "A Dose-Response Study of Consuming High-Fructose Corn Syrup–Sweetened Beverages on Lipid/Lipoprotein Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Young Adults"
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Comparison of Skim Milk, Low-Fat Milk 1%, Low-Fat Milk 2%, Whole Milk, Half and Half Cream, Cream Half and Half Fat Free, and Cream Half and Half Lowfat"
- Food Quality Preferences: "Type of Milk Typically Consumed, and Stated Preference, but Not Health Consciousness Affect Revealed Preferences for Fat in Milk"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21"