Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about cheese, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Cheeses are dairy products made from milk that come in a wide variety of flavors, forms, and textures. You can look at cheese in general but it can be helpful to look at the nutritional values of the specific type of cheese you are interested in.
Cheese is often high in vitamins, minerals, and protein but also calories. That means some cheese can benefit weight loss but you have to see for your individual situation exactly how much.
Certain cheeses like cottage and ricotta cheese can be especially helpful when trying to lose weight. The differences between the types of cheese can really matter.
Even with these things in mind, there are many foods that can be considered more weight loss friendly than most cheeses.
Example nutritional values of cheese
To get a nutrition content that is more or less a good representative we will show the three middle options out of our list of cheeses for weight loss and use the median cheese, brie cheese, for the rest of this article.
Below you can find a table with these three options with the most relevant nutrients for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for gouda cheese (1), brie cheese (2), and blue cheese (3) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Gouda Cheese||Brie Cheese||Blue Cheese|
|Calories||356 calories||334 calories||353 calories|
|Protein||24.9 g||20.7 g||21.4 g|
In the rest of this article you will find out how chees generally compares to other whole foods for weight loss.
Micronutrients in cheese
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in cheese.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of brie cheese provides you with approximately (2):
- Riboflavin: 31% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin B12: 28% of the DV
- Sodium: 26% of the DV
- Selenium: 21% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 19% of the DV
- Calcium: 18% of the DV
- Folate: 16% of the DV
- Zinc: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a good amount of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to a lot of other foods. Cheese in general often contains great amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams.
One thing you do have to keep in mind that overdoing it with certain vitamins and minerals is not good either. In the case of cheese the main mineral to keep in mind is sodium.
Consuming too much sodium may have negative side effects. If you already get a lot of sodium from your current diet adding cheese on top of that might not be a smart idea.
Some cheeses contain more sodium than others. Ricotta is an example of a low-sodium type of cheese.
Protein in cheese for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Brie cheese contains about 20.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (4).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
Even though the brie cheese example contains less than salmon, the amount of protein in cheese is still large compared to most other foods. Especially for vegetarians cheese can get a good food type to get enough protein.
- Parmesan cheese: 35.8 grams per 100 grams
- Mozzarella cheese: 27.5 grams per 100 grams
- Swiss cheese: 26.9 grams per 100 grams
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Does cheese help you lose weight?
To know whether or not you can eat cheese while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in cheese.
Brie cheese contains 334 calories per 100 grams. 2.1 of these calories come from carbohydrates.
Cheese is definitely suited for low carb diets like the keto diet. Do keep in mind that too much protein can also kick you out of ketosis.
The number of calories in cheese is medium to high compared to many whole foods. There are a few exceptions like cottage cheese and ricotta cheese but most are still above average.
On the other hand, most of these calories in cheeses come from protein and fat content which are both considered filling macronutrients. Consuming enough protein is also just important for weight loss in general.
Even with that in mind, there are better protein sources for weight loss. If you are already consuming enough protein, foods like vegetables and fruits may be an even better choice than cheese for weight loss.
Cheese is certainly not the worst possible food for weight loss but if you struggle a lot with overeating calories you might want to choose other foods.
Certain people want to avoid cheese altogether because of lactose and dairy intolerance problems.
If you are gaining weight while eating cheese, the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits may be the reason. Nevertheless, it’s definitely possible to eat cheese in quantities that can be fattening.
How much cheese should you eat?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Cheese can provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals but you will need other nutritious foods as well.
If you within reach of your daily vitamin and mineral goals you can see how much cheese still fits within your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.