Cool Whip is a brand of imitation whipped cream named a whipped topping by its manufacturer. It is used in North America as a dessert topping and in some no-bake pie recipes. It is generally described as "non-dairy" as it contains no cream or milk and no lactose; however, it does contain the milk derivative casein. -Wikipedia
If you believe Wikipedia....people write all kinds of explanations on there and you never know if it's fact or not. I know....cynical. I'm becoming more and more disestablishmentarianist in my midlife. ha!
Here is an article on everything you really didn't want to know about Cool Whip in Wired Magazine. Scary.
It says that one of the lesser ingredients in Cool Whip is:
Chemists call this stuff synthetic wax, and it's sometimes used as a hemorrhoid cream. It's one of the magical substances that keep Cool Whip from turning to liquid over time in the fridge.
Disgusting. But it's so perky and light that we just keep topping everything with it.
I think I'm going to go real people. Real whipped cream! (after I use the 2 containers of Cool Whip in my freezer)