Who among us does not love cheese? However, it is often the first food to go when you are on a weight loss diet. What if we told you that cheese is good for weight loss? That’s right, certain types of cheese can actually help you burn fat and keep you in shape. Read on to know what types of cheese to eat and avoid when trying to lose weight, how much cheese to eat in a day, the best time to eat cheese, and more!
Nutritional Profile of Cheese
|Nutrient||Cottage Cheese, low-fat milk (2%)||Ricotta Cheese, part-skim milk||Feta Cheese||Muenster Cheese, low-fat milk||Mozzarella Cheese, low-moisture, part-skim milk|
|Energy||84 kcal||138 kcal||265 kcal||271 kcal||298 kcal|
|Water||81.1 g||74.4 g||55.2 g||50.5 g||47.7 g|
|Protein||11 g||11.4 g||14.2 g||24.7 g||23.7 g|
|Carbohydrates||4.31 g||5.14 g||3.88 g||3.5 g||4.44 g|
|Sugars||4.1 g||0.31 g||0 g||3.5 g||1.81 g|
|Total fat (lipid)||2.3 g||7.91 g||21.5 g||17.6 g||20.4 g|
|Saturated fat||1.26 g||4.93 g||13.3 g||11 g||11.7 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||0.469 g||2.31 g||4.62 g||5.09 g||4.65 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||0.072 g||0.26 g||0.591 g||0.65 g||0.744 g|
|Trans fat||0.069 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0.705 g|
|Calcium||103 mg||272 mg||493 mg||529 mg||693 mg|
|Sodium||321 mg||99 mg||1140 mg||600 mg||699 mg|
|Cholesterol||12 mg||31 mg||89 mg||63 mg||65 mg|
What are the Benefits of Cheese for Weight Loss?
Most varieties of cheese are rich in protein and healthy fats, which makes them filling. Adding a moderate amount of cheese can make your meal more satiating, which prevents overeating and snacking. This lowers your calorie intake.
The high calcium levels in cheese can also help you shed weight as calcium hinders fat production in your body by inhibiting an enzyme called Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS), which makes fatty acids.
If you are on a keto diet, cheese is an excellent addition to your meal plan due to its low carbohydrate and high fat content. Choose cheeses made of high-fat or whole milk if you are on a keto diet.
What are the Best Cheeses for Weight Loss?
Several studies conducted over the years have shown that people who eat more cheese tend to have lower BMIs (Body Mass Index). However, the key is picking the correct type of cheese.
The following are the best cheeses to include in your weight loss diet:
- Cottage cheese or paneer
- Ricotta cheese
- Feta cheese
- Muenster cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
The following cheeses can be eaten sparingly if you are on a weight loss diet:
- Monterey cheese
- Blue cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Provolone cheese
- Gouda cheese
- Gruyere cheese
When on a weight loss diet, always choose cheeses made of skim, low-fat or reduced-fat milk as they are lower in calories. Read the label carefully so you can avoid cheeses that are high in cholesterol, trans fats, and sodium.
Which Cheeses Should You Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight?
You should avoid the following cheeses if you are trying to lose weight:
- Processed cheese or cheese slices
- American cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
Commercially available American and cheddar cheeses are often highly processed, which lowers their nutritional value.
How Much Cheese Can You Eat in a Day?
Limit your cheese consumption to a maximum of 3 servings per day. Each serving should comprise 1.5 ounces or 42 g of cheese. Try to consume at least 1 serving of cheese every day.
What is the Best Time to Eat Cheese for Weight Loss?
Adding cheese to your breakfast can fill you up and keep you going till lunch. This can help you reduce snacking and overeating, which lowers your calorie intake. Eating cheese for breakfast can also kickstart your metabolism and help your body burn more fat.
As a snack
Having some mozzarella, muenster, or grilled paneer at snack time with some fruits or whole-grain crackers is a healthier and more nutritious option compared to snack foods like chips, candy, store-bought protein bars, namkeen, etc.
As an appetizer
Add some crumbled cheese to your salads to make them more filling, delicious and nutritious. Add cheeses like feta, Parmesan, blue cheese, Swiss cheese, etc., that have a strong flavor to your salads. You can also have salads or other appetizers made of grilled or roasted paneer.
Adding low-fat paneer or ricotta cheese to your post-workout snack can help your muscles recover quicker. The high protein and low carbohydrate content in these cheeses can help your body build lean muscle
How to Eat Cheese for Weight Loss?
- The easiest way to eat cheese for weight loss is to include more paneer in your diet. Instead of eating it in gravy-based dishes, try eating paneer that is grilled, roasted, or stir-fried with veggies, spices, and minimal dressing.
- Substitute butter and mayo in your sandwiches with a ricotta cheese spread to cut down on calories and cholesterol.
- Add crumbled up cheese to your salads or make a cottage cheese salad to make them more filling and flavorful.
- Try switching out red meats and high-calorie main course dishes with cottage cheese or halloumi steaks.
- Most cheeses with bold flavours like Parmesan, cheddar, blue cheese, Swiss cheese, Gruyere, mozzarella, etc., can be eaten by themselves or with fruits and whole-grain crackers as a snack between meals.
- Instead of high-calorie desserts, try eating some whipped ricotta cheese with berries or sliced fruit to satisfy your craving for something sweet.
What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Cheese for Weight Loss?
- Since most cheeses are high in saturated fat, eating too much can cause weight gain.
- Most cheeses also have moderately high sodium and cholesterol content, raising your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases.
- Too much cheese or dairy is also associated with indigestion, constipation, and stomach issues, especially if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or lactose intolerance.
What Are the Other Health Benefits of Cheese?
- Most varieties of cheese are rich in calcium, which can keep your bones and teeth healthy.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least one serving or 42 g of cheese every day to lower your risk of heart disease.
- Cheese can help stabilize your blood glucose levels due to its low Glycemic Index (GI) score, making it a great addition to your diet if you have diabetes.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Cheese is a dairy product that is rich in protein, fat, calcium, vitamins, and other essential micronutrients and low in carbohydrates and sugars.
- The high protein, fat, and calcium content in cheese can keep you full for a longer time and inhibit fat production in your body, thus helping you lose weight.
- Cottage cheese or paneer, ricotta, feta, muenster, and mozzarella are the best types of cheese for weight loss.
- Avoid highly processed cheeses, American cheese, cheddar and cream cheese if you are trying to lose weight.
- Limit your cheese consumption to 120 to 125 g a day.
- You can eat cheese at breakfast, as a snack, as an appetizer, or after a workout for the best results.
- Cheese is a versatile food and depending on the variety you are using you can add it to your salads, main course, desserts, or eat it as a spread or a snack.
- Eating too much cheese can cause weight gain, indigestion, constipation, and high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
- Regular and moderate cheese consumption can keep your heart healthy, supply your body with calcium, and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable.
Like any other food, cheese can cause weight gain if eaten in excess. However, eating moderate amounts of low-fat cheese as a part of a well-balanced diet can help you lose weight.
Low-fat cheeses that are relatively low in calories like cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, muenster cheese, feta cheese and mozzarella are some good options for weight loss.
Yes, some studies have shown that eating less than 3 servings (120 to 125 g) of cheese a day can help your body reduce the amount of fat it produces by inhibiting an enzyme called Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS).
A single serving (40 g) of feta cheese has about 106 kcal.
The number of calories in a cheese slice (28 g) can range anywhere from 35 kcal to 150 kcal based on the type of cheese being served.
Most cheeses have a low carbohydrate content and typically have less than 10 g of carbohydrates per 100 g of cheese. The exact amount of carbohydrates would depend on the type of cheese being served.