This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Choosing the right foods for your weight loss diet can be confusing. What about ricotta cheese, is it good for weight loss?
Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese that originates in Italy made from leftover whey from cow, goat, sheep or Italian water buffalo milk. Exact nutrition values can vary from brand to brand but one example can show how good or bad ricotta cheese is for weight loss.
Ricotta cheese is a low-calorie cheese. It still has a medium amount of calories but these calories are mostly of the weight loss friendly kind. That means some ricotta cheese can benefit weight loss but you have to see for yourself exactly how much.
Find out the nutritional details of ricotta cheese to see whether this food deserves a place in your weight loss diet.
Micronutrients in ricotta cheese
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in ricotta 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 ricotta cheese provides you with approximately (1):
- Calcium: 21% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Selenium: 21% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 16% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 9% of the DV
- Zinc: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 6% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a decent amount of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to a lot of other foods. But on the other hand, not that amazing compared to a lot of other cheeses.
One benefit ricotta cheese does have over most other cheeses is that it does not contain a lot of sodium. This is a stumbling block for a lot of people when it comes to cheese.
Protein in ricotta cheese for weight loss
Another part of food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Ricotta cheese contains about 11.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2).
Ricotta cheese is a decent source of protein per 100 grams compared to most foods. That being said, if you look at the cheeses highest in protein, ricotta cheese is far down the list. It all depends on what you compare with.
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 ricotta cheese for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Does ricotta cheese make you lose or gain weight?
You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in ricotta cheese.
Ricotta cheese contains around 174 calories per 100 grams. 11.8 of these calories come from carbohydrates (3 g per 100 grams).
The amount of calories in ricotta cheese is medium to above average compared to most whole foods. Compared to other cheeses ricotta cheese is a fairly low-calorie cheese per 100 grams which makes ricotta cheese one of the better 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.
Ricotta cheese is certainly not the worst 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 ricotta cheese altogether because of lactose and dairy intolerance problems.
Ricotta cheese vs cottage cheese for weight loss
A different popular cheese for weight loss is cottage cheese. How does it compare to ricotta cheese for weight loss.
First of all, cottage cheese is a reasonable amount lower in calories per 100 grams than ricotta cheese. Cottage cheese contains about 98 calories vs ricotta cheese with 174 calories per 100 grams (3).
In terms of protein they are about the same. Cottage cheese has about 11.1 grams of protein per 100 grams, ricotta cheese about 11.3 grams. Ricotta cheese contains a slightly higher amount of vitamins and minerals but likely not enough to make that big of a difference when it comes to weight loss.
All in all, cottage cheese is better for weight loss than ricotta cheese.
Different ways to eat ricotta cheese
You can eat ricotta cheese in different ways, some combinations are better than other when it comes to losing weight.
Some healthy ways to eat ricotta cheese are on its own, as a snack or with other healthy ingredients in for example a salad.
If you want to lose weight you mainly want to avoid ricotta cheese in combination with dishes like pasta, lasagna, and pizza.