Many clients at Team Worx Fitness in Alexandria, VA, have come to me confused. They’ve eaten dairy all their life, including cheese, thinking it was a healthy option and one good for weight loss, only to find they might be mistaken. One reason for the confusion is the variety of cheese you use and the amount. Too often people don’t consider serving size, but instead, slice the cheese thick and eat several servings at once.
There are healthier cheeses and unhealthy ones.
Read the label. If it says cheese food, prepared cheese or processed cheese, it’s not real cheese. For instance, in 2016, manufacturers of Parmesan cheese had to remove their cheese from the grocery shelves because the FDA noted that many of them were nothing more than grated cheddar and cellulose—which is made from wood pulp and used as an anti-clumping agent. Highly processed cheese food, disguised as cheese, can destroy your diet and health, particularly cheese food like nacho cheese. Unless the label reads pasteurized processed cheese, it’s not 100% cheese. If instead reads pasteurized processed cheese product or cheese food, it’s only 51% cheese.
The fat in cheese can fill you up, but too much of it can fill you out, too.
If you’re shopping for the best cheese for a diet, don’t immediately head for the low fat, no fat option. In fact, that might even make you gain weight. Like yogurt that’s had the fat removed, when they remove the fat from cheese, they add other things to improve the flavor. Your body also needs fat to burn fat, so it’s important to have healthy fat in your diet. Cheese also is high in protein, which is also filling. One study in Australia found that people who increased the amount of dairy eaten, which included cheese, also lost more weight than the control group who didn’t increase it.
Not all cheese is the same.
Some types of cheese are healthier and better for weight loss. You might not immediately think of cottage cheese when you think of cheese, but it’s a good source of protein and good for dieting. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a healthy cheese that’s also good for diets. Feta cheese is another good option and naturally low in fat, but high in protein. Goat cheese, gouda, blue cheese and cheddar are also good.
- No matter what type of cheese you choose, be aware of portion size. One ounce of hard cheese is the size of a pair of dice. A half cup of cottage cheese or ¼ C feta contains almost the same calories but is more filling.
- One of the biggest problems with cheese is often how it served, like on top of a pizza or burger. It’s more the burger and pizza that are blocking your weight loss efforts.
- Cheese offers many health benefits. It’s a good source of amino acids, Vitamins B2, B12, D and A, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s even better if it’s from grass-fed cows, since that cheese contains nutrients that boost your metabolism.
- You can actually use cheese to lose weight by using it as a replacement for higher calorie options. For instance, replacing mayo with cream cheese or substituting cottage cheese for whipped cream with fruit.
For more information, contact us today at Team Worx