Cheese Nutrition

Most people like to eat cheese–they snack on it, have it with crackers, add it to hamburgers, caffeine pills pre workout, pizzas, even salads–usually not thinking about cheese & yoshi copper grill mat health concerns. When you decide to lose weight, oftentimes the first advice people give you is to skip the cheese if you want to reduce calories and fat.

Cheese, however, can be an integral part of a healthy diet. It is high in calcium and protein, along with phosphorus and vitamins–A, B, and beta-carotene–and if you are careful about the amounts and types of cheese you eat, this tasty milk product can be an essential nutrient in your eating plan. In addition, if you have a lactose intolerance (the inability to produce lactase, the enzyme that metabolizes milk) many times cheeses have less lactose because of their removal in the cheese-making process.

When you look at the protein content of cheese, you will find that it contains the highest amount of any milk product. Protein is important because it contains many of the essential amino acids the body needs to function. Cheese not only provides protein, it provides high-quality protein, such as casein and whey, which can help in maintaining muscles and immune system functions. Protein is even more important if you are eating a vegetarian diet and not eating high amounts of lean meat. Cheese is also a good source of CLA–conjugated linoleic acid and sphingolipids, which are in the milk fat, and have been shown to provide positive benefits in reducing the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Cheese contains very little in the way of carbohydrates so you dont have to worry about consuming unwanted calories or huge amounts of simple sugars as in many other foods. The main carbohydrate in cheese is lactose and it is in negligible amounts. It depends what kind of cheese it is as to how much lactose is present as it depends on how much whey was removed in the milk processing. On the whole, cheese products have much less lactose than regular milk and so are often tolerated by people who are unable to digest lactose. In addition, aged cheeses, like cheddar, lose what lactose they did have in the aging process. So, if you are lactose intolerant, try buying cheeses that have been aged for at least thirty days and you may not have a problem.

When you examine the health benefits of cheese–nutrition in mind, the fat content is the area you need to address and the one which tends to raise red flags in the heads of many people. The American Dietetic Association recommends including all food groups in a healthy diet and dietary guidelines recommend that no more than 30% of calories come from fat, less than 10% from saturated fat, and less than 300 mg a day of cholesterol. Because there are so many cheeses with varying fat contents, with a little knowledge it is possible to stay within these requirements and still include cheese in your diet.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established definitions that must be applied to all foods before they can be labeled as in lower fat categories, and these designations are what you need to look for when choosing cheese–nutrition can still be a high priority if you choose cheeses that are reduced fat, light, low fat, less fat, nonfat and fat free. For people who have high blood pressure and are concerned with sodium intake, there are even cheeses now that are produced to be low in sodium. When you choose lower fat and/or sodium products you can get protein, calcium, and all the other nutrients in cheese, without a great quantity of fat, plus you can continue to enjoy the taste and other ways cheese enhances meals.

Cheese also has a goodly amount of vitamins and minerals, but because cheeses vary greatly in the manufacturing process you will need to read the labels to find those with the greater quantities. You will find vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, folate and vitamin B6 in varying amounts in cheese. And, dont forget that all cheese is a high source of calcium, which is essential in maintaining bone density, especially as you age.

Cheese is a significant source of many of the essential nutrients that are needed in a healthy diet. So, instead of omitting the cheese, make some choices about modifying your cheese intake and you can still enjoy cheese as a part of nutritional meals.