Mascarpone Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Mascarpone cheese

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Creamy and rich, mascarpone cheese is a go-to ingredient found in velvety sauces, cheesecakes, and tiramisu. Its mild, neutral, almost buttery flavor can slip easily into all sorts of luxurious, satiating food preparations—especially desserts.

Although mascarpone is sometimes interchanged—or even confused—with cream cheese, there is a significant difference between the two. Whereas cream cheese is made with whole milk, mascarpone’s primary ingredient is heavy cream. In fact, this Italian acid-set cheese is created simply by adding lemon juice to heated heavy cream, then cooling and draining it of its whey.

Because mascarpone is made mostly of cream, it is a high-fat food that does not come with a lot of health benefits. However, you can certainly enjoy it in small amounts as part of a nutritious diet.

Mascarpone Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition, for 1 ounce (28 grams) of mascarpone cheese, has been provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Calcium: 40mg (4% RDI)

Carbs 

Low-carb lovers are in luck—mascarpone cheese contains zero carbohydrates.

Fats

Mascarpone’s 120 calories per ounce come almost exclusively from fat. Just over 70% of the fat in one serving (10 out of 14 grams) is the less nutritious saturated variety.

Protein

A small amount of protein lies within each ounce of mascarpone. At 2 grams per ounce, a serving of this creamy cheese contributes somewhat to your daily protein goals.

Because this protein is from an animal source, it is considered high-quality, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to get from food.

Vitamins and Minerals

Mascarpone is not high in vitamins or minerals, but it does contain a bit of calcium—about 4% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) per serving.

Calories

Of the 120 calories per serving in mascarpone, about 6% comes from protein. The rest come from fat.

Health Benefits

Although mascarpone is a high-fat cheese, it does have some benefits including being satiating and a good source of calcium. Here is an overview of the benefits of mascarpone cheese.

Provides Calcium  

Other cheeses like gruyere or parmesan are calcium powerhouses compared to mascarpone—so if you are looking to bone up on this mineral, you would do better to choose one of them.

Still, a serving of mascarpone will add a small amount of calcium—about 4% of the RDI—to your diet. Getting enough calcium promotes bone health and reduces loss of bone density.

Suitable for a High-Fat Diet

Because mascarpone is a high-fat food, it is an excellent option for people on a high-fat diet. Whether you require extra calories while recovering from an illness, need to add more fat for another health reason, or are on the keto diet, you can stock your fridge with mascarpone and use it in place of lower-fat cream cheese.

May Be Satiating

Research shows that full-fat dairy products may be even more satiating than skim or reduced-fat dairy. With its heavy cream base, mascarpone can promote feelings of fullness.

May Boost Nutrient Absorption

While some vitamins are water-soluble, others only dissolve in the presence of fat. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. Mascarpone’s high-fat content provides the vehicle these vitamins need to be absorbed in the body. Serving a carrot cake with mascarpone frosting, for example, will boost the bioavailability of the orange vegetables' vitamin A.

Promotes Enjoyment of Food

A dollop of mascarpone can make both sweet and savory dishes extra delectable—and what’s life without delicious food? Some research indicates that people who savor their food may experience more pleasure and satiation from smaller portions.

Allergies

If you are allergic to milk, you will definitely need to find an alternative to mascarpone in your cooking and baking. Though this cheese gets drained of much of its whey, it is still very much a dairy product.

Some people with lactose intolerance may be able to include small amounts of mascarpone in their diet, depending on the degree of their intolerance. If you know you are able to comfortably eat some yogurt or cheese, you can try a little bit of mascarpone to see how you fare. On the other hand, if your lactose intolerance is severe, it is probably best to find a non-dairy creamy treat.

Adverse Effects

Besides the possibility of an allergic reaction to mascarpone, the most likely adverse effect is the negative impact it can have on your weight management goals. Remember, a little bit of mascarpone goes a long way, and a serving is only 1 ounce.

A small amount of this creamy stuff contains about as many calories as a tablespoon of butter. Repeatedly overdoing it on mascarpone—and recipes that contain it—could negatively impact your weight management goals.

Varieties

Unlike some cheeses like cheddar or gouda, there are not dozens of varieties of mascarpone. Typically, the plain, cream-based version is all you will find in U.S. grocery stores.

However, some food producers sell mascarpone with flavor additions like chocolate, strawberry, or herbs. If you decide to make your own mascarpone at home, you can also experiment with creating your personal favorite flavor combinations.  

Storage and Food Safety

Mascarpone should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about 5 to 7 days after opening. You can also extend its lifespan by freezing it. In the freezer, this dairy delight will stay good for about 2 months.

Use your senses to watch for signs that mascarpone has gone bad. A cheese past its prime may have an unpleasant odor or a hard, crumbly texture. Color changes are also common. Mascarpone should be discarded if its shiny, white appearance turns yellowish or if it has visible mold.

How to Prepare

If you cannot track down mascarpone at your local grocery store, you can always make it yourself! The process is surprisingly simple.

Start by bringing 2 ½ cups of heavy cream to a simmer on the stovetop. Whisk in 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice and continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken or for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and place it in an ice bath for about 10 minutes. Place a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a large bowl and pour the cooled cheese into it.

Cover and refrigerate. After about 24 hours, the contents of the sieve should be a creamy, ready-to-use mascarpone.

Recipes

Healthy Mascarpone Cheese Recipes to Try

 

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