Is Mozzarella Cheese Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Cheeses are often ketogenic-diet-approved food but some are better than others. Find out whether mozzarella cheese is keto-friendly.

Something to note first is that different brands and styles of mozzarella cheese can vary in carb content. This will also influence how keto-friendly each option is.

That being said, one example of mozzarella cheese contains around 3.1 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.

Since this is relatively low, you can say that mozzarella cheese is generally keto-friendly.

One important thing to note is that sometimes even low-carb foods like mozzarella cheese can kick you out of ketosis if you already ate a lot of carbohydrates in other foods.

Additionally, for some health goals like losing weight, it may be smart to keep your portions of mozzarella cheese under control anyway.

Besides these things, it is worth noting there are more low-carb cheeses than mozzarella too. These can make it easier for you to stay in ketosis with a diet that includes cheese.

Carbs in mozzarella cheese

When figuring out whether a food like mozzarella cheese is keto-friendly and in what amounts, you want to take a look at how many carbohydrates what amounts contain.

As mentioned, keep in mind that different types of mozzarella cheese can vary in carbs. You may want to check the nutrition label of the one you are considering.

100 grams of one example of mozzarella cheese contains the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 3.1 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.1 grams

It is possible that even small amounts of net carbs like 3.1 grams kick you out of ketosis in combination with certain diets.

That being said, because this is relatively low, it is fair to say that mozzarella cheese is generally keto-friendly.

One cup of shredded mozzarella cheese is about 113 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 3.5 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.5 grams

By consuming bigger amounts of mozzarella cheese you will also eat more carbohydrates which makes it a bit more challenging to stay in ketosis.

That being said, you should still be able to fit a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese into a keto-friendly diet.

Other nutrition information mozzarella cheese

It can be easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on carbohydrates when following a ketogenic diet.

However, other nutrients in mozzarella cheese like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals can still play a role in whether you stay in ketosis and more importantly, how good this food will be for your health.

100 grams of the example mozzarella cheese contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 280
  • Protein: 27.5 grams
  • Carbs: 3.1 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 17.1 grams
  • Calcium: 73% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Phosphorus: 52%
  • Selenium: 22%
  • Zinc: 21%
  • Riboflavin: 20%

And other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Mozzarella cheese is not just low in carbohydrates. It can also provide you with a variety of important nutrients in good amounts.

This can make mozzarella cheese a great option for healthy ketogenic diets. Especially if you struggle with eating enough micronutrients, protein, and calories.

Why mozzarella is not always keto-friendly

You have not heard that mozzarella is always keto-friendly. That is because sometimes even small amounts of carbohydrates can kick you out of ketosis.

To understand why this is and to avoid overdoing it with mozzarella cheese, it can be helpful to quickly go over the ketogenic diet fundamentals.

Any way of eating where you get and stay in ketosis is a ketogenic diet. Ketosis is a state where you mainly burn fat for energy (2).

To achieve this state, you have to keep your carbohydrate consumption below a certain level. Where this level is depends on details like your genes, body weight, muscle mass, workout habits, etc.

One example of a general guideline for staying in ketosis is getting 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

These ratios are not perfect for everyone but they can help you get an idea of how many grams of foods like mozzarella cheese would still fit in your ketogenic diet.

In practice, the percentages above will mean that most people can eat around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day (not including fiber).

How much mozzarella cheese can you eat on keto?

With the amounts of carbohydrates above and the nutrition details of the other things you eat, you can get an idea of how much mozzarella cheese you can eat on keto.

The first thing to note is that there are individuals who are intolerant to cheese. If this applies to you, you likely want to avoid mozzarella cheese anyway even though it is generally keto-friendly.

That aside, let’s say you can eat 23 grams of net carbohydrates a day on a ketogenic diet. Additionally, you already ate 19.9 grams of net carbs in other foods.

In a situation like that, you can estimate that you can eat just a bit less than 100 grams of mozzarella cheese while keeping your diet keto.

Again, keep in mind that these guidelines are not always perfect. Your personal situation could allow less or more mozzarella.

Next, different mozzarella recipes like for example mozzarella sticks contain different amounts of carbohydrates. These are not always as keto-friendly.

Something else to note is that the calories in mozzarella still matter for goals like losing weight even if you don’t go over your daily carb intake.

Mozzarella is one of the better cheeses for weight loss but you may still need to limit your potions.

Mozzarella cheese substitutes on keto

Mozzarella cheese sounds and is relatively low in carbohydrates but it is not unique in this. There are actually a variety of cheeses that are even more keto-friendly.

If you prefer these substitutes over mozzarella cheese anyway, they could make it easier for you to fit other foods into your ketogenic diet.

The numbers next to these substitutes are the amounts of net carbs per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • Gruyere: 0.4 grams of net carbs
  • Brie: 0.5 grams of net carbs
  • Camembert: 0.5 grams of net carbs
  • Muenster: 1.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cheddar cheese: 1.3 grams of net carbs
  • Fontina cheese: 1.5 grams of net carbs

Something important to note is that while these substitutes are lower in carbs than mozzarella cheese, they are also higher in calories.

For goals like losing weight, it can be smart to stick to mozzarella when following a keto diet.

Why do you follow a ketogenic diet?

While it is not that likely, mozzarella can still kick you out of ketosis in certain situations because it still contains some carbohydrates.

To what extent this is an issue depends on why you are trying to follow a ketogenic diet.

For example, there are people who need/want to stay in strict ketosis 24/7. If you are in this category, you can likely still consider mozzarella cheese but you may need to be careful about your portions.

On the flip side, mozzarella cheese can be decent/good for weight loss and good for health. Even if it raises your carbohydrate consumption to a level that is not keto-friendly.

Ketogenic diets have their benefits but they are typically not the only ways to achieve the health goals above.

As mentioned, if losing weight is your main goal, you may still need to be careful about how much mozzarella cheese you eat.

Does mozzarella cheese have carbs?

Yes, mozzarella cheese has carbs. Exactly how many can vary from brand to brand but 100 grams of one example of mozzarella cheese contain 3.1 grams of carbs.

Are mozzarella sticks high in carbs?

Different recipes can vary but one example of mozzarella sticks contains around 25.1 grams of carbohydrates (including 2 grams of fiber). In turn, it is fair to say that mozzarella sticks are typically high in carbs.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.