This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge. What about parmesan cheese, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese that originates in Italy. It is made from cow milk and usually ages between 12-36 months. Parmesan is a cheese relatively low in lactose.
In Europe the name parmesan cheese can only be used for a certain cheese made in specific areas. In other areas of the world rules for using the name parmesan cheese are not always as strict.
Parmesan cheese is a rather high-calorie cheese. On the other hand, these calories are mostly of the weight loss friendly kind. That means some parmesan cheese can benefit weight loss but you have to see for yourself exactly how much.
Find out the nutritional details of parmesan cheese to see whether this food deserves a place in your weight loss diet.
Micronutrients in parmesan cheese
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in parmesan 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 parmesan cheese provides you with approximately (1):
- Calcium: 118% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Phosphorus: 69% of the DV
- Sodium: 67% of the DV
- Selenium: 32% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 20% of the DV
- Zinc: 18% of the DV
- Magnesium: 11% 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.
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 parmesan 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 parmesan cheese might not be a smart idea.
Protein in parmesan cheese for weight loss
Another part of food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Parmesan cheese contains about 35.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2).
Parmesan cheese is an amazing source of protein per 100 grams compared to most foods. In fact, parmesan cheese is number one on this list of the cheeses highest in protein.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and parmesan cheese for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Does parmesan cheese make you lose or gain weight?
You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in parmesan cheese.
Parmesan cheese contains around 392 calories per 100 grams. 12.2 of these calories come from carbohydrates (3.2 g per 100 grams).
The amount of calories in parmesan cheese is high compared to most whole foods. Even compared to other cheeses parmesan cheese is a high-calorie cheese per 100 grams which puts it low on the list of the best cheeses for weight loss.
On the other hand, most of these calories come from fats and protein which are both considered filling. Consuming enough protein is also important for weight loss.
Parmesan cheese is certainly not the worst food in the world for weight loss but if you struggle a lot with overeating calories you might want to choose other foods.
Certain people want to avoid parmesan cheese altogether because of lactose and dairy intolerance problems.
Parmesan cheese vs mozzarella cheese for weight loss
A different popular cheese is mozzarella cheese. How does it compare to parmesan cheese for weight loss.
First of all, mozzarella cheese is a lot lower in calories per 100 grams than parmesan cheese. Mozzarella cheese contains about 280 calories vs parmesan cheese with 392 calories per 100 grams (3).
In terms of protein content, parmesan cheese does have the upper hand. Mozzarella cheese has about 27.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, parmesan cheese about 35.8 grams. Parmesan cheese contains a slightly higher amount of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, mozzarella cheese is better for weight loss than parmesan cheese.
Different ways to eat parmesan cheese
You can eat parmesan cheese in different ways, some combinations are better than other when it comes to losing weight.
Some healthy ways to eat parmesan cheese are on its own, as a snack or with other healthy ingredients in for example a chicken salad.
If you want to lose weight you mainly want to avoid parmesan cheese in combination with dishes like pasta, lasagna, popcorn, and pizza.