The ketogenic diet is one of the popular health trends that people follow for weight loss and also to maintain their blood sugar levels. This diet is a very efficient and healthy way of changing an unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy and balanced one that mainly focused on diet rather than exercising or medicines. You just shuffle the meal’s nutrient content to a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb profile which stimulates the fat burning process of ketosis. In this article, we will discuss if we can eat cheese on keto.
The whole procedure requires you to include and also exclude a lot of food items from your regular eating meals. Some people think that they have to restrict all the flavorful foods from the diet which also involves cheese but in reality, cheese is allowed on the keto, particularly it is one of the best additions to the diet plan due to their nutritional values.
What is Cheese?
Cheese is categorized as a dairy product made from the milk of goat, cow, sheep, or buffalo. The main ingredients of this dairy product are fat and protein which are derived from milk.
The cheese-making process is very simple and also unique;
- You fermented the cheese by using naturally occurring bacteria and also sometimes by adding vinegar or lemon juice. With this addition of acidified products, the milk sugar lactose gets converted into lactic acid which causes the preservation of cheese.
- Then you add an enzyme know as rennet which is found in the digestive system of ruminant animals such as cows which cause the curding of cheese.
- When the cheese curds are formed, you strain or press them to remove extra moisture and liquid.
Semi-hard and hard cheese like parmesan or cheddar has low moisture content and takes more time to get aged however soft or semi-soft cheeses like mozzarella have a high moisture content and take less time to get aged. The cheesemaker has to be more careful with the soft or semi-soft cheeses as they can get ruined easily.
There are hundreds of varieties of cheeses are available throughout the world with their own identity and flavor. The distinction of these cheeses depends upon various factors like animal milk, fat content, pasteurization, ageing, use of bacteria, and formulation method.
Some cheesemaker uses various seeds or fruit pulps to give color to cheese and different herbs, wood smokes or spices, etc. to give flavor to this dairy product.
Can You Eat Cheese on Keto?
Yes, you can eat cheese on keto it is one of the foods which is perfect for this diet plan as the nutrient percentages of cheese are;
- High fat
- Moderate protein
- Low carbohydrates
It meets all the requirements necessary for the keto diet, so as result, it promotes the metabolic process of ketosis and does not try to affect it negatively. Cheese also contains different micronutrients such as vitamin A, B12, K2, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acid, etc. which is very beneficial for body functioning and maintenance.
What Type of Cheese is best for Keto?
You will find a lot of cheese varieties in the market which will feel appropriate for the diet plan, but natural or simple organic does not mean that it is qualified for keto.
The best and right type of cheese that you can include in the diet without getting stress about carbs or disturbing the ketosis process is the 100 % grass-fed cheese, this is the one that contains additional nutrients or unhealthy ingredients since it is the purest form of this diary product. The grass-fed cheese means that it is made without any kind of pesticides, added sugars, unhealthy fat, etc.
The Best Cheeses to Eat on Keto
This is the best keto cheese due to its great nutritional profile as 1 tablespoon of cream cheese contains about 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 0.6 grams of carbs. It is a perfect addition to various keto meals and snacks.
Cheddar is a cheese that aged for a long time and contains very little carbs, a half-cup serving of cheddar cheese contains about 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and only 0.8 grams of carb which is equals to nothing.
Hard cheese is also known as parmesan is a very healthy option to add to the keto diet, as 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan contains about 0.2 carbs, 1.5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of protein. It provides a nutty and salty flavor to your favorite keto meals.
Pepper jack is another best cheese option for keto as it contains 0.1 gram of carbs which is the first and foremost requirement of the diet plan. It adds a great flavor to the meals which makes them more appetizing and tasteful.
Mozzarella is a very common cheese that contains a very low carb amount, 1 slice of mozzarella contains about 0.9 grams of carbs which is very appropriate for the keto diet. This cheese adds a very creamy and delicious taste to your diet meals.
The Worst Cheeses to Avoid on Keto
Processed cheese is one of the worst cheese options for keto as it is not grass-fed organic type and also contains additional oils, fillers, sugars that have no health benefits or healthy in any way. Consuming processed cheese on the diet plan is just like adding a lot of waste which has no core purpose towards the diet plan, processed cheese contains about 19 calories of carb weightage which is not healthy for the keto diet.
Some people get confused about cottage cheese is keto or not, so it is a cheese that contains high protein, moderate carbs, and not that much high-fat content which makes it less preferable for keto. A half-cup of cottage cheese contains about 12 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fat. You can eat a very minor serving of cottage cheese on keto but that is not a favorable choice as it will not fulfil your hunger.
The American cheese is not the one that contains a large number of carbs as 1 slice has 2 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein which is suitable for keto but the reason that this cheese is not recommended on the diet is that it is a highly processed cheese which is not healthy or organic.
Ricotta cheese is a full-fat cheese that is also high in protein but the downfall is that it also contains a good amount of carbs which makes it less of an ideal choice for keto. A half-cup serving of ricotta cheese contains about 12 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbs.
Benefits of Including Cheese in the Diet Plan
The health benefits of cheese are as follow:
Cheese is a great source of calcium that is very beneficial for bone structure and maintenance, it also prevents bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis, etc.
Essential fatty acids source:
Grass-fed cheeses contain a certain amount of conjugated linoleic acid which prevents heart diseases and also acts as an anti-inflammatory which is very positive for the body’s health. It also contains other essential fatty acids such as ALA, EPA, DHA that provide proper brain functioning and good for weight loss.
Cheese is an excellent source of protein which is very helpful for muscle development and cell repairing. It also reduces hunger levels and keeps you a feeling of fullness, which restricts you from mindless eating on the diet.
Cheese contains fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, K2 which are great for the absorption of other nutrients like calcium.
The Drawbacks of Cheese
Intolerance or allergies:
There are no certain drawbacks of cheese, it is a great and nutritional food ingredient to use in the keto diet unless you are allergic or intolerant to dairy products which also includes cheese.
There are two main objectives behind this diary problem which are:
- Either you are allergic to casein which is a milk protein. Or
- You are intolerant to lactose which is milk sugar, which often people addressed as lactose intolerance.
The cause why this situation happens is due to the absence of the compulsory digestive enzymes required to digest and break down these proteins and sugars. So, when you consume dairy such as cheese, the body is incapable to digest it which results in troublesome symptoms;
- Digestion problems
- Rashes and acne on the skin
- Slower metabolism
- Muscle cramps
So, this is one of the prominent drawbacks of cheese that will only be happened to those people who have these dairy issues, otherwise, there are no such problems that you can face related to cheese on the keto diet.
The person with lactose intolerance or casein allergic can consult with their doctor or dietitian, they can give the best solution for the issues.
Poor quality cheese:
The unpleasant side effects such as discomfort, digestive problems, nausea, etc. that certain people experience when they eat cheese without having lactose intolerance or any kind of dairy allergy can be due to consuming poor-quality cheese as they contain harmful ingredients which are:
- Artificial flavors
- Refined and hydrogenated oils
- Added processed sugars
- Inorganic byproducts from high heat pasteurization and homogenization.
How to Incorporate Cheese on the Keto Diet?
There are several ways to include cheese in the keto diet plan which are:
- You can have a cheese slice as a snack.
- You can sprinkle it on salads, boiled or stir-fried vegetables.
- You can make cheese chips that can be a great side dish with dinner or lunch
- You can make cheese sauce for steaks, lettuce wraps, etc.
- You can use it in various keto sandwiches and pizza.
Cheese is one the best dairy products that you can eat on keto as they contain almost no carbs and high fat, protein nutrient content which is perfect for the diet plan.
This food additive is also very encouraging and comfort food to add to a diet plan because it is a staple in the daily routine, we at least eat cheese three to four times per week, so having the similar creamy and delicious taste and flavor on keto makes us feel more normal and not like to think that we are following a strict diet plan, so you have to eat bizarre and boiled foods only.