Whether you love a creamy mustache from your hot cocoa or a milky-white cloud on your dessert, you probably turn to a “whipped topping” to get your fix.
Though numerous brands compete for our spoons, the most common duel pits Cool Whip against Reddi-Wip. Neither can claim to be whipped cream due to their various additives, but they both do their darndest to imitate it in strikingly different ways. Let’s find out once and for all who’s quicker to the draw.
Calories (2 tablespoons)
Cool Whip: 15 Reddi-Wip: 25
Cool Whip: Water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (including coconut and palm oils), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skimmed milk, light cream, less than 2% sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene.
Reddi Wip: Nonfat milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, inulin (chicory extract), cellulose, mono- and diglycerides polysorbate 80, artificial flavors, carrageenan.
Consistency and Taste
Cool Whip: Hefty on a spoon, resembling the precise middle ground between sour cream and cream cheese, with a taste more akin to butter than cream. Still, it manages to find the balance between sweet and savory that freshly whipped cream naturally creates.
Reddi-Wip: Creamy and cloud-like with a noticeably sweet aftertaste. Foam from a well-shaken can has a similar texture to most homemade whipped cream.
What’s Killing You
Cool Whip: On a physical level, anything that is mysteriously flavored and needs more than one emulsifier should send up a few red flags. The oils and syrups, however, are the main antagonists. On an emotional level, we all find it disturbing to watch little oil globules dissolve into your hot cocoa. Bulletproof cocoa, anyone?
Reddi-Wip: The higher calorie count hurts you in two ways: the obvious bump in caloric intake and the natural act of repeatedly squirting far more than two tablespoons from the can directly into your mouth. No one’s taking a spoon and a lack of self-control to a container of Cool Whip. Also, the version of polysorbate used in this topping is typically used to emulsify cosmetic products.
What’s Making You Stronger
Cool Whip: Coconut oil gives the topping a little bit of credibility, even though its popularity boom has brought some attention to coconut oil’s negative effect on cholesterol. In an attempt to make something about the product healthy, it appears as though each batch gets infused with a minor amount of natural beta-carotene, so you can see your blood test results more clearly.
Reddi-Wip: Excluding the polysorbate, the rest of the multisyllabic ingredients are made from naturally occurring foods like corn, wheat, and algae. While still processed, these components can all be easily digested.
As a society, we shouldn’t settle for “whipped topping” at all. But since very few humans fancy themselves pastry chefs and possess the kind of time during which one could make fresh whipped cream, us mere mortals must stick to the dairy aisle.
Reddi-Wip shares more qualities with the ever elusive whipped cream than Cool Whip, in all its oily glory. Despite its higher calorie count, Reddi-Wip’s ingredients are friendlier to our digestive systems. So don’t be afraid to grab a can at your local grocery store and squirt some sugary foam wherever you please. Well, pay for it first or you might have to find a new place to shop.