Is Sour Cream Healthy? Nutrients and Benefits

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sour cream
sour cream

Sour cream is produced with lactic acid bacteria by fermentation of dairy milk cream. Sometimes used as a top topping for tacos and baked potatoes or as a bakers, sauces and stews, to thicken this thicker, lightly tarted condiment.

However, many people wonder whether it can be included in a healthy diet.

This article addresses whether sour cream is good, its nutrients, advantages and disadvantages.

a bowl of sour cream with various taco fixings
a bowl of sour cream with various taco fixings

Sour cream nutrition facts


Sour cream contains several nutrients, but it typically contains smaller serving sizes. Therefore, it typically does not give large nutrient quantities.

A 2-tablespoon (30-gram) serving of regular sour cream provides:

  • Calories: 59
  • Total fat: 5.8 grams
    • Saturated fat: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 1.3 grams
  • Protein: 0.7 grams
  • Calcium: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Phosphorus: 3% of the DV
  • Potassium: 1% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 1% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 3% of the DV
  • Choline: 1% of the DV

As you can see, regular sour cream is fairly high in fat and calories.

Reduced fat sour cream has a similar nutrient profile but with fewer calories and about 38% less fat

Meanwhile, fat-free sour cream is made with skim milk and ingredients such as food starch and gums that keep it creamy. Its inadequate fat decreases the calorie level by 60 percent, but depending on the brand it may have slightly more carbohydrates

Because sour cream is primarily a garnish, it isn’t typically eaten in the same volume as other dairy products like yogurt or milk.

Plus, since other dairy products are made with all milk components — not just the cream — they provide significantly more protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals than regular sour cream.

Potential health benefits of sour cream

Although you shouldn’t rely on sour cream as a primary source of nutrients, it may still support your health in several ways.

May promote absorption of fat-soluble vitamins

Certain vitamins require a source of fat to be absorbed most effectively in your digestive tract.

Known collectively as fat-soluble vitamins, they include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Deficiencies in these vitamins are associated with diseases like diabetes, cancer, and immune disorders.

Fat-soluble vitamins are found in a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, but not all of them provide fat on their own. 

Low in carbs

Although nothing is inherently wrong with carbs, low carb diets are quite popular.

Thus, many people may be pleased to know that regular sour cream is compliant with a variety of low carb diets, including keto and Atkins.

Sour cream may help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and some types harbor probiotics to boost your digestion and immune health.

Potential downsides of sour cream

Bear in mind that sour cream has its fair share of drawbacks.

High in saturated fat

Saturated fat is the predominant fat in sour cream. In fact, about half of the calories in regular sour cream come from saturated fat.

Excess intake of saturated fat may cause some people to produce more LDL (bad) cholesterol. If these levels become too high, your risk of heart disease may increase over time.

In addition, there is evidence suggesting that replacing saturated fats in foods including nuts, beans, olives and fish with unsaturated fats will minimise your risk of heart disease.

Not appropriate for all diets

Since sour cream is made from cow’s milk, it doesn’t work for all diets.

You should avoid it if you have an allergy to cow’s milk or intolerance to lactose, the sugar found in milk.

Moreover, sour cream is inappropriate for anyone following a vegan or dairy-free diet.

Sour cream is high in saturated fat and should only be eaten in moderation. It’s not suitable for anyone following a dairy-free diet.

Can it affect your weight?

When consumed in moderation, sour cream will generally not change the body’s weight dramatically and can even accelerate the loss of weight. However, the same is true for excessive quantities.

Weight loss

fats — such as those found in sour cream — help slow stomach emptying, which may make you feel full and more satisfied at mealtimes. In turn, this may lead you to eat fewer calories.

Weight gain

Keep in mind that overconsuming any food — sour cream or otherwise — may result in weight gain.

If your sour cream habit is consistently causing you to ingest more calories than you burn each day, weight gain is entirely possible.

Because sour cream is a calorie-dense food, it may be easy to eat too much.

The bottom line

Sour cream is a thick, tangy, fermented cream seasoning. It contains some essential nutrients, but because it’s just a garnish, in one serving you don’t get a lot of nutrients.

This dairy product will increase your absorption and some forms also pack probiotics of fat-soluble vitamins. Nevertheless the fat and calories are heavily saturated.

It may be included in the healthy diet, but consume moderately alongside a selection of whole foods to maintain optimum health.

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