When you reach for something to top your slice of pie, is it whipped cream or a container of Cool Whip? What’s the reason for that, exactly? Because if it has anything to do with the idea that Cool Whip is healthier than whipped cream, you’re sadly mistaken.
Cool Whip was invented in 1966, and its main selling point was that it could be shipped and stored frozen. And… that’s pretty much it. While it was originally dairy-free, making it a good choice for the lactose intolerant, it was recently reformulated to include skim milk and cream. Unfortunately, that reformulation didn’t remove two of the unhealthiest ingredients in existence: hydrogenated vegetable oil and high-fructose corn syrup. Cool Whip also includes a host of other unwholesome ingredients: regular corn syrup, stabilizers, emulsifiers, flavorings, and colorings.[related]
Hydrogenated vegetable oil is created by taking liquid vegetable oil and converting it into a solid by adding hydrogen to its chemical makeup. This chemical process (the same one used to make margarine and shortening) creates trans fat, which has been linked to heart disease. High-fructose corn syrup is a much cheaper, much sweeter alternative to real sugar, and its excessive use in candy and soda has been blamed as a contributing factor to America’s obesity epidemic.
As for whipped cream? It’s just cream that’s been whipped, with some sugar added, and it’s super-easy to make at home. Reddi Whip may be the closest thing to real whipped cream on the market — its main ingredient is at least cream, as opposed to water for Cool Whip — but it still contains corn syrup (not high fructose), emulsifiers, and stabilizers.
But the healthiest — and tastiest — whipped topping is still real whipped cream. Instead of buying your whipped topping at the supermarket, just add a cup of heavy whipping cream and two tablespoons of sugar into a cold mixing bowl and beat with your mixer for about a minute, or by hand for 6 to 7 minutes; it’s that easy. It’s still cream and sugar, so we’re not going to tell you it’s healthy, but it’s much better for you than the processed stuff.