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What’s in Panera’s Cream Cheese?

In this series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Panera Bread.

 

 

 

1. Check the menu

In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.

Examples:

  • “S/M 360/670 cal”     — this could be found right after a salad, indicating that the small bowl is 360 calories, while a medium is 670.
  • “SF,” “EF,” or “GF”     — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy free, egg free, gluten free)
  • “low sod”     — your food or drink has a low amount of sodium per serving

These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.

 

 

 

2. Go online

If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.

In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Panera Bread’s products.

 

  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu hover over “Menu Items” and select Bagels & Spreads
  3. Find the “Cream Cheese Spreads” subsection. Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.

 

 

 

Summaries- Nutrition (per 2oz cup):

  • 190 calories- Plain Cream Cheese
  • 130 calories- Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese
  • 130 calories- Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
  • 110 calories- Reduced-Fat Roasted Vegetable Medley Cream Cheese
  • 150 calories- Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese
  • 150 calories- Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese

The reduced-fat cheese has less calories as well- some products that have reduced fat make up lost calories in added sugar.

 

 

  • 18 grams of fat, 11 of which are saturated, 1 gram trans fat
  • 12 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated, 1/2 a gram of trans fat
  • 11 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated, 1/2 a gram of trans fat
  • 10 grams of fat, 6 of which are saturated, 0g trans fat
  • 11 grams of fat, 6 of which are saturated, 0g trans fat
  • 10 grams of fat, 6 of which are saturated, 0g trans fat

The trans fat content is surprising- that’s usually associated with more “fast food” joints.

 

 

  • 55mg of cholesterol, and 210mg of sodium
  • 35mg of cholesterol, and 230mg of sodium
  • 35mg of cholesterol, and 430mg of sodium
  • 30mg of cholesterol, and 250mg of sodium
  • 30mg of cholesterol, and 200mg of sodium
  • 30mg of cholesterol, and 190mg of sodium

This does have a bit of sodium in it, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.

Some cholesterol, which can be expected in most animal products.

 

 

  • 2g of carbs, 0 of which are fiber, and 1 of which is sugar (the remaining is a combination of starch and rounding)
  • 2g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, 1 of which is sugar
  • 3g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, 2 of which are sugar
  • 3g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, 2 of which are sugar
  • 8g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, 8 of which are sugar
  • 11g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, 9 of which are sugar

You won’t find much fiber in cheese.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

 

 

  • 3g protein
  • 5g protein
  • 5g protein
  • 4g protein
  • 5g protein
  • 4g protein

Also pretty average for cheese.

 

 

  • Lastly, 15% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
  • 10% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
  • 10% of the DV for Vitamin A, 4% of your daily Vitamin C, 6% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
  • 15% of the DV for Vitamin A, 15% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
  • 8% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
  • 8% of the DV for Vitamin A, 2% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron

An OK source of Vitamin A.

 

 

  • 0mg of Caffeine

Oh man!

 

 

Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass):

  • 85% fat, 9% carbs, 6% protein
  • 83% fat, 2% carbs, 15% protein
  • 76% fat, 9% carbs, 15% protein
  • 82% fat, 3% carbs, 15% protein
  • 66% fat, 21% carbs, 13% protein
  • 60% fat, 29% carbs, 11% protein

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?

 

 

 

Summaries- Ingredients:

 

Our ingredients (to avoid confusion, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and ingredients that are not found in all 6 are blue. Vocab words are red):

 

Plain Cream Cheese

  1. Cream Cheese
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese CultureThis refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
    3. Salt
    4. Carob Bean Gum"Locust (carob) bean gum is primarily the macerated endosper... More
  2. Water
  3. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum"The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
    2. Guar Gum
    3. DextroseA form of glucose, a basic sugar.
  4. NatamycinA mold/yeast inhibitor commonly used in meat and cheese. Whi... More

Contains milk.

 

 

Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese

  1. Neufchatel
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Stabilizers
      1. Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gum
  2. Water
  3. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum
    2. Guar Gum
    3. Dextrose
  4. Natamycin

Contains milk.

 

 

Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

  1. Neufchatel
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Stabilizers
      1. Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gum
  2. Water
  3. Chive And Onion Seasoning
    1. Dried Onion
    2. Sugar
    3. Salt
    4. Torula Yeast
    5. Spices
    6. Dried Garlic
    7. Lactic Acid"Lactic acid, the chemical 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, occurs n... More
    8. Palm Oil
    9. Canola Oil
    10. Citric Acid"Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
    11. NaturalThis term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Flavor
    12. Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking)
  4. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum
    2. Guar Gum
    3. Dextrose
  5. Natamycin

Contains milk.

 

 

Reduced-Fat Roasted Vegetable Medley Cream Cheese

  1. Neufchatel
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Stabilizers
      1. Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gum
  2. Roasted Vegetable Blend
    1. Red Bell Peppers
    2. Yellow Bell Peppers
    3. Onions
    4. Green Bell Peppers
    5. Carrots
    6. Garlic
    7. Canola And Olive Oil Blend
    8. Parsley
    9. Thyme
    10. Spices
    11. Salt
  3. Caramelized Onion And Garlic Blend
    1. Onion
    2. Garlic
    3. Caramelized Sugar
    4. Canola And Olive Oil
    5. Salt
    6. Natural Flavors
    7. Lemon Juice Concentrate
    8. Spice
  4. Water
  5. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum
    2. Guar Gum
    3. Dextrose
  6. Natamycin

Contains milk.

 

 

Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese

  1. Neufchatel
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Stabilizers
      1. Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gum
  2. Honey Walnut Seasoning
    1. Honey Granules
      1. Cane Refinery Syrup
      2. Honey
    2. Walnuts
    3. Light Molasses Granules
      1. Refinery Syrup
      2. Cane Molasses
    4. Coconut Oil
    5. Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking)
  3. Water
  4. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum
    2. Guar Gum
    3. Dextrose
  5. Natamycin

Contains milk and tree nuts.

 

 

Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese

  1. Neufchatel
    1. Pasteurized Milk And Cream
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Stabilizers
      1. Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gum
  2. Wild Blueberry Seasoning
    1. Powdered Sugar
    2. Dehydrated Blueberries
      1. Blueberries
      2. Sugar
      3. Sunflower Oil
    3. Sugar
    4. Blueberry Flavor
      1. Gum Arabic
      2. Natural Flavor
    5. Sunflower Oil
    6. Color Blend
      1. Vegetable Juice
      2. Glucose Syrup Solids
      3. Citric Acid
    7. Malic Acid
    8. Natural Flavors
    9. Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking)
  3. Water
  4. Stabilizers
    1. Xanthan Gum
    2. Guar Gum
    3. Dextrose
  5. Natamycin

Contains milk.

 

 

 

 

Breakdown:

 

Nutrients

  • Not outstanding in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least.
  • No trans fats.
  • The macros are mostly fats. The reduced fat cheeses have less fat and therefore less calories per unit volume.
  • Some fiber, but the carbs are mostly sugar. Also not enough protein in my opinion (but it is, after, cream cheese).
  • Some cholesterol and a moderate amount of sodium.

Ingredients

  • It seems that the only difference in the reduced fat cheeses is the use of Neufchatel instead of plain cream cheese.
  • The sources of carbs and fat are not fantastic; they are mostly added sugars.
  • There are preservatives across the board and “flavors” added to most.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients

 

 

 

Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

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