Is A Bagel With Cream Cheese Healthy? Find Out The Truth Here!

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It’s a well-known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Despite this, many people tend to grab something quick and easy on their way out the door in the morning – often opting for a bagel with cream cheese. While it may be delicious and convenient, the question arises – is a bagel with cream cheese healthy?

The answer to this question may surprise you. On one hand, a bagel with cream cheese can provide some nutritional benefits, such as carbohydrates for energy and protein from the cheese. However, it also contains high amounts of saturated fat and calories which can be detrimental to your health if consumed excessively.

“Everything in moderation” is a key principle when it comes to food choices. This means that while enjoying a bagel with cream cheese occasionally won’t hurt, making it a daily habit could have negative consequences on your weight and overall health.”

In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the pros and cons of eating a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, exploring its specific nutritional content and how it can affect your body. By reading on, you’ll get a better understanding of whether this popular breakfast staple is worth incorporating into your diet or not.

What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Bagels?


Bagels are known for their high carbohydrate content, making them a great source of energy. One medium-sized plain bagel contains about 56 grams of carbohydrates, which can provide the body with enough fuel to get through the day.

It’s important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Refined carbohydrates like white flour, which is often used in bagels, can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and may contribute to health problems if consumed in excess. So, while bagels can be a good source of carbs, it’s best to choose whole grain or multi-grain varieties whenever possible for added nutrition.


In addition to being a good source of carbohydrates, bagels can also provide fiber which is essential for digestive health. Fiber is found mainly in grains, fruits, and vegetables, and helps to keep our bowel movements regular, lower cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar control.

A medium-sized whole wheat bagel provides approximately 4 grams of fiber, which is around 16% of the daily recommended intake. Choosing whole grain options over refined varieties can substantially increase your fiber intake each day.

“Whole wheat bread products, including bagels, contain fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients”

-Audrey Laurelton Hall RD, CDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

When it comes to choosing a bagel with cream cheese as a healthy breakfast option, it really depends on the individual’s nutritional needs and dietary goals. While it’s true that bagels can offer some nutritional benefits, they should ideally be paired with nutrient-dense toppings like avocado, nut butter, or egg whites to create a more well-rounded meal.

Is Cream Cheese Good For You?

Cream cheese is a popular spread that is often used on bagels, toast, or as a dip. But the question remains: Is cream cheese actually good for you? Here we’ll take a closer look at its calories and fat content, nutritional value, potential health benefits, and potential health risks.

Calories and Fat Content

Cream cheese is made from milk and cream which are high in saturated fats. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of regular cream cheese contains about 50 calories and five grams of fat, with almost three and a half grams being saturated fat. This means it should be enjoyed only sparingly if one needs to watch their caloric and fat intake.

Nutritional Value

Cream cheese may not have many vitamins or minerals, but it does contain some essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A. In moderation, these nutrients can provide numerous health benefits such as promoting bone strength and improving eye health.

Potential Health Benefits

The combination of milk and cream provides cream cheese with some important health benefits. Calcium, an essential ingredient found in cream cheese, plays a crucial role in maintaining good bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Vitamin A, another key nutrient, helps improve eyesight and boosts immune function. Additionally, eating small amounts of cream cheese can bring pleasurable experience to food choices when consumed sensibly within your daily calorie limits.

Potential Health Risks

Eating excessive amounts of heavily processed foods like cream cheese carries some health risks. It has already been discussed that cream cheese is high in fat – particularly saturated fat. Regular consumption of this kind of fat can increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol and heighten heart disease risk factors. However, there are good alternatives such as low-fat cream cheese or non-dairy spread options with similar flavorings that may reduce the unhealthy effects of regular cream cheese.

“Even though nobody has complete control over their health outcomes, lifestyle choices can prevent much illness.” – Gavin Andresen

Cream cheese can have potential health benefits but should be consumed in moderation given its high calories and saturated fat content. Moreover, eating healthier alternatives or choosing low-fat options is a simple way to minimize any negative effects on your health while still enjoying this tasty spread.

What Are The Health Risks Of Consuming Bagels And Cream Cheese?

Weight Gain

Bagels and cream cheese are high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain if consumed regularly. One medium-sized plain bagel contains about 280-350 calories, depending on the brand and recipe, while a tablespoon of cream cheese adds another 50-70 calories.

If you eat a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast every day, that could add up to over 2000 calories per week from just one meal alone! Over time, this excess calorie intake may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Cholesterol and Heart Health

Cream cheese is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, consuming just two tablespoons of cream cheese can provide almost half of your daily recommended limit of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Additionally, many flavored cream cheeses contain added sugars and artificial ingredients, which are linked to inflammation and other health problems. Regularly consuming these unhealthy ingredients through bagels and cream cheese may increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Bagels are made from refined grains that break down quickly into sugar in the body, leading to blood sugar spikes and crashes. This can be especially problematic for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing it.

Cream cheese contains very little carbohydrates and does not significantly impact blood sugar levels on its own. However, when combined with a high-carbohydrate bagel, cream cheese can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels and make it more difficult to manage diabetes.

“A bagel is equivalent to four slices of bread. Bagels are dense, and cream cheese is certainly not low in calories or fat.” -Dr. Elizabeth Ricanati

While a bagel with cream cheese can be a delicious treat occasionally, it should not be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet. Instead, consider healthier alternatives such as whole-grain toast with avocado or nut butter, or enjoy a bagel and cream cheese in moderation as a special treat rather than a daily staple.

Are There Any Healthier Alternatives To Bagels And Cream Cheese?

Bagels are a popular breakfast food. They’re perfect for busy mornings because they can be eaten on-the-go and provide a decent amount of carbohydrates to energize the body. However, a typical bagel with cream cheese can add up to 500-600 calories, which is not recommended for individuals trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.

If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to bagels and cream cheese, here are some options:

Whole Grain Bread and Nut Butter

Whole grain bread is an excellent source of complex carbs that provide sustained energy throughout the day. It’s also high in fiber, which helps with digestion and weight management. Nut butter like almond or peanut butter contains healthy fats and protein that are essential for overall health.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming whole grains was associated with lower risk factors for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends replacing refined grains with whole grains to improve cardiovascular health.

“Whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A diet rich in whole grains may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.” -American Heart Association

Egg and Avocado on Toast

Eggs are a great source of protein and contain nutrients like choline, vitamin D, and lutein that are important for brain function, bone health, and eye health. Avocados are rich in healthy fats and fiber that promote satiety and weight loss.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating eggs for breakfast helped promote weight loss compared to eating a bagel due to its higher protein content.

“Eggs have high-quality protein and are rich in essential amino acids. They also contain multiple vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy diet.” – Harvard Health Publishing

Yogurt and Fruit

Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D that are essential for strong bones. It’s also high in probiotics that promote gut health and boost immunity. Pairing it with fresh fruit like berries or bananas adds natural sweetness, fiber, and antioxidants.

A study published in The BMJ found that consuming yogurt was associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes due to its beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and insulin sensitivity.

“Yogurt is a nutrient-dense food that contains several key nutrients including protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B12 and riboflavin. Yogurt consumption has been linked to better bone health, weight management, and gut microbiota diversity.” -National Yogurt Association

Cottage Cheese and Berries

Cottage cheese is a good source of protein that helps keep you full and satisfied. It’s also low in calories and fat compared to cream cheese. Adding fresh berries to cottage cheese provides additional fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that support overall health.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming dairy products such as cottage cheese can improve body composition and metabolic health by promoting lean mass gain and reducing fat mass.

“Cottage cheese is a nutritious dairy product that’s high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It’s a low-calorie option that’s perfect for weight management and muscle building.” -Worldwide Food Trends

There are plenty of healthier alternatives to bagels and cream cheese that are both nutritious and delicious. Whole grain bread with nut butter, egg and avocado on toast, yogurt and fruit, and cottage cheese and berries are just a few examples of breakfast options that won’t compromise your health goals.

How Can You Make A Bagel With Cream Cheese Healthier?

There’s nothing more convenient or delicious than a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast or a snack. However, the traditional version may not be the healthiest choice due to its high calorie and fat content. Making some simple adjustments can transform this classic dish into a nutritious option that will satisfy your cravings without compromising your wellbeing.

Choose Whole Grain Bagels

The first step to making your bagel with cream cheese healthier is to opt for whole grain bagels instead of their refined counterparts. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, which provide numerous essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, B vitamins, and minerals. In contrast, refined grains have had the bran and germ removed, resulting in a less nutrient-dense product.

Research shows that consuming whole grains is associated with various health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. Choosing whole grain bagels over white bagels can also help you feel fuller for longer, reducing your overall calorie intake throughout the day.

Use Low-Fat Cream Cheese

Cream cheese may be a tasty addition to your bagel but it’s high in saturated fat, calories, and sodium. Instead of cutting it out entirely, swap regular cream cheese with low-fat versions. Low-fat cream cheese contains less fat and calories than full-fat options while maintaining the same texture and taste.

In addition, opting for low-fat cream cheese reduces your intake of saturated fats, which can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. It’s worth noting that even though low-fat cream cheese is a better option, it’s still a processed food, so it’s best to consume it in moderation and pair it with nutrient-dense toppings.

Add Nutrient-Dense Toppings

The last step is to add a variety of nutrient-dense toppings to your bagel with cream cheese. Here are some healthy options:

  • Fruits: Add fresh or dried fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwis, and raisins on top of your bagel. Fruits provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that can boost your immune system, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Incorporate nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and flaxseeds into your cream cheese spread or sprinkle them over your bagel. They’re rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that promote heart health, brain function, and satiety.
  • Veggies: Use veggies such as avocado slices, cucumber, tomato, spinach, or bell peppers as a base for your cream cheese instead of more traditional fatty spreads. Veggies provide essential nutrients and are low-calorie, making them the perfect addition to this meal.

By incorporating these tips and tricks, you can transform a classic bagel with cream cheese breakfast/snack into a deliciously healthy option that will satisfy your cravings and fuel your body throughout the day!

“Healthy doesn’t mean boring” – Unknown

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the nutritional benefits of a bagel with cream cheese?

A bagel with cream cheese can provide a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and calcium. The bagel offers fiber and energy, while the cream cheese provides a source of healthy fats and protein. Additionally, the calcium in cream cheese can help support bone health.

Can consuming a bagel with cream cheese contribute to weight gain?

Yes, consuming a bagel with cream cheese can contribute to weight gain if not consumed in moderation. Bagels and cream cheese are high in calories and fat, so it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes. Choosing a low-fat cream cheese or spreading a smaller amount of regular cream cheese can help reduce calorie intake.

Is there a healthier alternative to cream cheese to pair with a bagel?

Yes, there are healthier alternatives to cream cheese to pair with a bagel. Hummus, avocado, or a nut butter can provide healthy fats and protein while being lower in calories and saturated fat than cream cheese. Greek yogurt or cottage cheese can also be a creamy and protein-rich option.

How can portion control play a role in the healthiness of a bagel with cream cheese?

Portion control is important when consuming a bagel with cream cheese to maintain a healthy diet. Choosing a smaller bagel and spreading a smaller amount of cream cheese can help reduce calorie intake. It’s also important to pair the bagel and cream cheese with other nutrient-dense foods, such as fruit or vegetables, to create a balanced meal.

Are there any health risks associated with consuming a bagel with cream cheese on a regular basis?

Consuming a bagel with cream cheese on a regular basis can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of developing heart disease due to the high levels of saturated fat and calories. It’s important to consume bagels with cream cheese in moderation and to choose healthier alternatives when possible to reduce the risk of health complications.

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