Is cheese a guilty pleasure or part of a healthy diet? This is a never ending debate and there have been both types of arguments on this – some praise the benefits of protein and calcium, others condemning high calories, saturated fat, and sodium. No matter on which side of argument you stand, you’re likely to be still nibbling it away! Today, we have got some tips, which will allow you to eat cheese effectively and make it contribute to your weight loss efforts –
1. Watch Portions to Limit Calories
If you love cheese, there is no need to eliminate it from your diet to achieve your weight loss goals. The key is to limit the portion to 1 oz and buy low-fat or fat-free brands to keep the calories and fat within your daily goals. Most available options of cheese have about 72-125 calories in a 1 oz. Fat-free brands contain no fat, which subsequently reduces the calories by at least half and sometimes more than that, depending on the type of cheese. Cheese like brie and brick, which are semi-soft have fewer calories in comparison to hard cheese options. It is advised to check the nutrient label before buying a cheese and keep a close check on calories and fat numbers!
2. Choose Cheese as a Snack
An absolute healthy way to incorporate cheese into a diet is to nosh on it between meals rather than having them as a full meal. It is a great source of calcium and protein and is easily portable. Stock up on pre-portioned options, such as The Laughing Cow wedges or mini Babybel cheeses, and enjoy them with wheat crackers, fruits, or a piece of toast with egg whites.
3. Protein Keeps You Full
Irrespective of the type of cheese, you get at least 6 grams of quality protein in a 1-ounce serving. Not only does this make a significant contribution to your daily protein requirement, the protein in cheese also supports weight loss. The main working behind this is that it slows down the movement of food out of your stomach so you feel full longer, further, “Harvard School of Public Health” stated that cheese keeps blood sugar balanced, which means blood sugar won’t drop and trigger hunger. “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” published a research in May 2013 stating that protein stimulates satiety by affecting hormones that regulate your appetite.
4. Calcium & Weight loss
There have been conflicting results in the role of dairy products and calcium in weight loss. However, “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” & “International Journal of Obesity” published reviews in 2012 stating that dairy products facilitate weight loss when they’re part of a calorie-controlled diet. In October 2011, “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” explicated that though there has been no direct relation between dairy intake and weight loss, low dietary calcium is a risk factor for being overweight. Like other dairy products, cheese is a rich source of calcium but the amount you’ll get varies from one brand to the next.
5. Other Good & Bad Nutrients
On one hand being a dairy product, cheese contains vitamin A, potassium, and is an especially good source of vitamin B-12, which you need to make normal red blood cells and maintain healthy nerves. Cheese is also a good choice for a low carbohydrate diet. On the contrary, cheese is high in saturated fat, so it’s important to choose low-fat or fat-free brands to avoid this unhealthy fat. Cheese can also be quite high in sodium ranging from 16mg-500mg.
The Bottom Line
The key is to enjoy this delicious dairy product in moderation. As per USDA, a serving as 1.5 oz (45 g), which is a good guideline per day when balanced alongside other saturated fats. Even if you’re into the real food philosophy, it’s still a good idea to show some restraint. Indulging into foods you like positively contributes in weight loss but keeping a check on portions and frequencies is the key to success.
Here are a few fresh ways to make cheese part of a healthy diet: folded into eggs, atop an open face sandwich, with fresh veggies, baked casserole, sprinkled on a salad, with a fruit, etc.!