Discover which cheeses can help you burn fat and which unhealthy cheeses to avoid..
Americans have a love affair with cheese, and we’re not the only ones. Melted cheese is the star of many Mexican meals, the French love their fromage, cheese makes pasta and other Italian dishes delicious, Indian food features yummy cheese—okay, this list is never going to end.
The world’s literally addicted to cheese. Some of the wonderful American foods (or recipes we’ve borrowed from other countries) that we crave include grilled cheese, disco fries, fondue, cheese and crackers, mac and cheese, potato gratin, cheeseburgers, pizza, mozzarella sticks, chicken parmesan, nachos, tacos, burritos, loaded potato skins, quiche, perogies, blintzes, Danishes and cheesecake.
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That list made you really want to eat something cheesy, right?!
According to Wisconsin Cheese, there are 18,000 types of cheese. They vary a great deal nutritionally. Many cheeses have calcium that helps make and keep your bones strong.
However, some actually contain extremely unhealthy ingredients.
How To Choose Healthy Cheeses
Here are 10 cheese facts that will help you choose healthy cheese—or at least ensure that you know if the cheese you’re purchasing is good for you or full of bad chemicals.
- If you’re like I am, you feel pretty guilty purchasing cheese that isn’t low fat. It turns out that the number of ingredients is actually the most important consideration when determining which cheeses are healthy and which aren’t.
- Another fun fact: When fat is removed from cheese, additives, thickeners, and sweeteners are added in to enhance the flavor.
- One crucial characteristic of cheese that decides its nutritional value is whether it’s natural or processed. Natural cheese’s main ingredients include milk, salt, enzymes and natural colors.
A major difference between the two types of cheese is that whey (which is the watery part of the milk that is left after cheese is curdled and strained) is pressed out of natural cheeses.
Purchasing organic whole fat cheese is your best bet for consuming the healthiest cheeses.
Cheeses To Avoid At All Costs
Now for a few disgusting and disturbing cheese factoids that you might not be aware of.
- Shredded cheese contains cellulose, which is actually wood chip powder, to prevent the cheese from caking. Get out your grater unless you like wood chip powder in your baked ziti.
- Shredded cheese isn’t a good choice. If it’s bright orange, it probably contains artificial color. Remember to check for artificial color and sodium content when looking at labels. Shredded cheese isn’t looking too good right about now.
- Vegan cheeses might resemble cheese visually or even taste like the real thing, but they can be full of processed junk and may be devoid of nutrients. As always, study the label before buying it.
- Watch out for phrases like “pasteurized process cheese foods” and “cheese product.” Pasteurized process cheese food slices are only required to have 51% cheese in it! It might look appetizing in its package, but you’re eating processed additives, milk protein concentrate, and whey.
- Don’t buy cheese with carrageenan in the ingredient list. It’s made from seaweed, but can cause abdominal inflammation and leave you feeling ill.
- Some of the less savory ingredients in processed cheese are
- Emulsifiers (comprised of two insoluble liquids)
- Artificial colorings
- Whey (hard to digest and linked to acne)
- Extra salt
- Milk fat
- Sodium citrate (makes it smooth and prevents curdling)
- Sorbic acid (a preservative)
- Cheese culture
- Saturated vegetable oils
- Calcium phosphate (anti-caking)
Processed cheese is normally made by melting natural cheese and emulsifying it (forcing liquids that don’t normally mix together to bond with preservatives).
When you opt for processed cheese, you’re consuming twice as much salt as the amount found in natural cheese. Processed cheese also has artificial ingredients.
Processed cheese is the type of cheese used in products containing cheese. A couple of examples are American cheese and cheese spreads made by blending multiple cheeses.
Sadly, the following types of cheeses are processed:
- Gorgonzola cheese
- Muenster cheese
- Camembert cheese
- Stilton cheese
- Brie cheese
- Brick cheese
It’s okay to consume them occasionally, but you might want to avoid eating them all of the time. Like other foods that aren’t particularly beneficial to your body, they are okay for a treat now and again.
Many processed cheeses are very fattening, contribute to high blood pressure, and are not good for your heart.
Which Cheeses To Indulge In
On a happier note, here’s a list of healthy cheeses recommended by Healthline that you can literally and figuratively eat to your heart’s content (in moderate portions/separate sittings):
- Feta cheese is low in fat (but high in sodium).
- Ricotta cheese has a lot of whey which they say is good for muscle growth, helps reduce blood pressure, and decreases cholesterol.
- Cottage cheese is loaded with protein, low in calories, and filling.
- Goat cheese is easy to digest, not stored as fat, and doesn’t cause inflammation.
- Mozzarella cheese contains less sodium than some other cheeses and has probiotics that may be good for your immune system and fight infections.
- Blue cheese has more calcium than most cheeses, so it’s good for bone health.
- Parmesan doesn’t have a lot of lactose, and it’s high in phosphorous which is good for bone mass.
- Swiss cheese is lower in sodium and fat than other cheeses.
- Cheddar cheese contains vitamins K and K2, prevents calcium build up, and prevents blockages which is great for heart health.
Blue cheese, parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar are processed; but according to “Eat This Not That” their beneficial ingredients make them somewhat healthy.
Put your own fruit into cottage cheese (or yogurt). Store-bought cottage cheese with fruit in it usually has lots of added sugar.
A label on a processed cheese that says “No artificial preservatives or flavors” may still contain additives and only be 51% cheese. Very sneaky! It’s vital that you’re aware of the labeling tricks.
Be careful tiptoeing through the minefield of cheese products. Some will add to your nutrition intake, but others are downright scary and unhealthy.
Labels are the best way to figure out if you should stock up on or avoid a particular cheese. Knowing how to crack the label code will enable you to avoid the woodchips, disgusting anti-caking chemicals, pretty but unpleasant fake coloring, unhealthy additives, unappetizing thickeners, and artificial sweeteners.BRAND NEW: These Delicious Desserts Can Help You Burn Fat & Lose Weight
The 3 Cheeses That Burn The MOST Fat Off of Stubborn Problem Areas…
Now even though a cheese may be considered ‘healthy’…
…that doesn’t mean it’s the best idea to sit down and eat a whole wheel of it… especially if you are trying to lose weight.
That’s because there are cheeses that are “healthy”… and then there are “Super Cheeses”.
“Super Cheeses” are unique because they actually boost your metabolism… and help your body burn fat… especially in stubborn problem areas like your belly, hips, and arms…
(And best of all… you can eat as much of these “Super Cheeses” as you want without guilt… knowing you’re helping your body burn more fat in the most delicious way possible 🙂
You can easily find these cheeses at your local grocery store… and they definitely won’t have questionable giant sticker labels such a “low-fat” or “diet-friendly” plastered on them…
Because these cheeses are “true blue” whole foods… with as few ingredients as possible.