But how do they actually compare nutritionally and in terms of health benefits?
Nutrition Profile: Macros, Vitamins, and Minerals
When comparing the nutritional profiles of cream cheese and mozzarella, there are some clear differences that stand out:
So we can see that mozzarella contains much more protein than cream cheese, while cream cheese is higher in total fat, saturated fat, and unsaturated fats. The carb content is similar.
Key Takeaway: Mozzarella has way more protein than cream cheese, while cream cheese contains a lot more fat.
Looking at vitamins, cream cheese contains a lot more Vitamin A than mozzarella (34% vs 16% DV). It also has slightly more Vitamin E.
Mozzarella is richer in some B vitamins like Vitamin B2 and B12. It also contains a small amount of Vitamin D, which cream cheese lacks.
For minerals, the calcium content really stands out in mozzarella, providing a whopping 123% of the daily recommended intake per serving! Cream cheese only contains 11% DV of calcium by comparison.
Mozzarella also has way more phosphorus (63% vs 11% DV) and zinc (23% vs 3% DV). It's higher in copper and selenium as well. The only mineral cream cheese wins in is sodium, containing much higher amounts than mozzarella.
Health Benefits and Uses
Beyond basic nutrition, cream cheese and mozzarella also differ in some of their potential health benefits and common uses:
Cream Cheese Health Benefits
- Provides energy and calories
- Contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which may have cancer-fighting properties
- Rich source of Vitamin A needed for healthy vision and immune function
Common uses: spreading on bagels and toast, making dips, cheesecake, frosting, dessert fillings
Mozzarella Health Benefits
- Excellent source of calcium for building strong bones
- Contains probiotics that support digestive and immune health
- Rich in protein for maintaining muscle mass
- Source of phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins
Common uses: pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, stuffed breads, caprese salad
So while cream cheese makes a tasty spread, mozzarella excels nutritionally with plenty of protein and bone-strengthening calcium.
Key Takeaway: Mozzarella is richer in protein and calcium, while cream cheese provides more Vitamin A and makes a popular spread.
Comparing Calories, Price, Storage, and More
Here are some other head-to-head comparisons between cream cheese and mozzarella:
- Calories: Cream cheese is higher in calories with 100 calories per 1 oz serving compared to 80 calories in mozzarella
- Price: Mozzarella tends to be less expensive than cream cheese
- Storage: Both need refrigeration but mozzarella lasts longer around 2 weeks compared to 1 week for cream cheese after opening
- Allergies: Both contain dairy so those with milk allergies need to avoid completely
So in most areas, mozzarella seems to come out slightly ahead—it's lower in calories, costs less, and keeps longer than cream cheese. However for those who are lactose intolerant or need to avoid milk products, neither food is suitable.
Which Cheese is Healthier: The Verdict
When weighing all the nutritional pros and cons, mozzarella emerges as the healthier choice between the two. Here’s a quick recap:
- Higher in protein: Mozzarella contains 6 times more protein than cream cheese, providing a more filling option.
- Excellent source of calcium and phosphorus: Mozzarella delivers abundant bone-strengthening minerals including over 100% DV of calcium.
- More vitamins and minerals overall: Mozzarella contains Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, zinc, selenium and others absent in cream cheese.
- Lower in fat, calories, and price: Mozzarella cheese beats out cream cheese in these areas.
The only advantages for cream cheese nutrition-wise are slightly more Vitamin A and Vitamin E. But on balance, mozzarella cheese delivers better all-around nutrition.
So if you're looking for the healthier cheese choice to add to your diet, nutrient-dense mozzarella is likely the better bet. That said, cream cheese still tastes delicious and can be enjoyed in moderation!
What's the difference between cream cheese and mozzarella?
Cream cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese with a rich, tangy flavor. Mozzarella has a mild milky taste and squeaky texture which melts well. Cream cheese is higher in fat while mozzarella contains more protein.
Is cream cheese just as healthy as mozzarella?
No, mozzarella is considered the healthier option with way more protein, calcium, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals. Cream cheese is higher in calories and fat. But it still can be included as part of a balanced diet.
Can you use cream cheese instead of mozzarella?
In some recipes you may be able to substitute cream cheese for mozzarella or vice versa. But the texture and meltability will be quite different. For best results, use the exact cheese called for.
Is mozzarella better for you than cheddar?
Both cheeses have their merits. Mozzarella is lower in fat and calories and higher in protein. But cheddar contains a good amount of bone-strengthening calcium. For overall nutrition, mozzarella may have an edge over cheddar.
Mozzarella beats cream cheese in many aspects of nutrition. It really shines when it comes to high protein, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins and more.
Cream cheese puts up a good fight with lots of monounsaturated fat and Vitamin A though.