A Dietitian’s Picks for the Top 5 Low-Saturated-Fat Cheeses If you’re a cheese lover, you can’t live without a sharp Cheddar or a creamy Brie. It’s easy to see why so many people adore this classic dairy food, with its distinctive flavor, craveable consistency, and satiating melting effect on pizza or pasta.
Recipe in Pictures: Toast with Figs and Ricotta, but let’s say you have diabetes, heart disease, or another condition that requires you to limit your intake of saturated fat. If that is the case, you might wonder if you can eat cheese without sacrificing your health goals. According to a 2018 review that was published in Current Nutrition Reports, despite the fact that cheese is loaded with important nutrients that support our overall health, such as calcium and protein, many varieties can also contain a significant amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat is a type of fat that, when consumed in excess, is linked to a number of undesirable health outcomes, such as elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020–2025, saturated fat should account for no more than 10% of a person’s daily calorie intake. Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends that individuals adhere to a threshold that is even lower, limiting saturated fat intake to 5% to 6% of calorie intake.
In accordance with the AHA’s recommendations, no more than 120 calories should come from saturated fat for individuals who consume approximately 2,000 calories per day. This amount corresponds to approximately 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
Related: Can people with heart disease consume cheese?
Can you consume cheese while limiting your intake of saturated fat?
According to AHA guidelines, varieties of cheese such as Cheddar, Muenster, and blue contain well over 5 grams of saturated fat per ounce, or approximately 40% of the daily allowance of this nutrient. However, if you eat your cheese in moderation and as part of a well-balanced and healthy diet, you don’t have to eliminate it from your heart-healthy or diabetes-friendly diet.
Cheese was once considered a “bad” food for many people with health issues. However, new research reveals that eating cheese may support heart health due to its calcium, bioactive lipids, and peptides. In fact, data from 2020 that were published in Foods suggest that a more appropriate recommendation is to consume full-fat dairy foods in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle rather than avoiding dairy-fat sources like cheese.
Just keep in mind that, regardless of the amount of saturated fat in the cheese, many varieties contain a lot of sodium. In order to avoid adverse health outcomes, sodium consumption may need to be restricted for individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
But if you want to stick with foods low in saturated fat, here are six to have on hand for when you want cheese again.
Fat-Free Swiss Cheese is one of the best low-saturated fat cheeses. It has zero grams of fat, as the name suggests. This type of cheese typically has fewer calories than its full-fat counterpart due to the absence of fat. Just keep in mind that this type of cheese may not melt as well as the original because it lacks fat. If you want it to melt, you should stick with the original. Fat-free Swiss cheese, on the other hand, can serve the same purpose for a simple snack or quick sandwich addition.