Fat-free sour cream contains some beneficial nutrients.
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Consumed in moderation, sour cream contributes to a balanced diet. Opting for fat-free sour cream allows you to avoid the very high calorie and fat content associated with full-fat sour cream and helps you follow USDA dietary guidelines, which recommend opting for low-fat or fat-free dairy products over full-fat versions. Fat-free sour cream also offers some nutritional value, and it contributes to your daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Basic Nutrition Information
A 1/2-cup serving of fat-free sour cream contains just 85 calories -- significantly fewer than the 222 calories found in an equivalent portion of full-fat sour cream. Approximately 85 percent of these calories come from fat-free sour cream's carbohydrate content. These carbs provide energy that fuels your brain and other tissues, but the lactose sugar found in sour cream can cause digestive upset if you have lactose intolerance. Fat-free sour cream provides a small amount of protein -- 3.5 grams per serving -- and, like the name implies, contains no fat. Full-fat sour cream, in contrast, contains 23 grams of fat per serving, including 13 grams of saturated fat.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Sour cream offers some nutritional value thanks to its calcium and phosphorus content. You rely on phosphorus to make DNA and cell membranes and use both calcium and phosphorus to synthesize new bone tissue. Calcium also helps regulate your blood sugar level by controlling the release of insulin, and it supports nerve cell communication. A 1/2-cup serving of fat-free sour cream boasts 109 milligrams of phosphorus and 144 milligrams of calcium -- 16 and 14 percent of your daily recommended phosphorus and calcium intakes, respectively.
Vitamins A and B-12
Eat fat-free sour cream and you'll also increase your vitamin intake, particularly vitamins A and B-12. Each 1/2-cup serving contains 0.34 microgram of vitamin B-12 -- 14 percent of the recommended daily intake -- along with 293 international units of vitamin A, which makes up 10 and 13 percent of the daily vitamin A intakes set for men and women, respectively. Vitamin B-12 activates an enzyme, called methionine synthase, whose function is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamins A and B-12 also help your body produce new red blood cells, a process essential for healthy oxygen circulation.
Selenium and Riboflavin
Fat-free sour cream also significantly boosts your selenium and riboflavin intakes. Your body uses riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, to activate a family of enzymes needed for liver function as well as to convert food into energy. A serving of fat-free sour cream offers 172 micrograms of riboflavin, which is 16 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 13 percent for men. The selenium in fat-free sour cream helps regulate cell growth, plays a role in muscle cell function and protects your blood vessels from damage. Each serving of fat-free sour cream offers 6 micrograms of selenium, or 11 percent of your daily needs.