February 22, 2024

Most of us have grown up eating cheese as part of our typical Western diet and for many of us we love our cheese. We can be slim or not so slim, or even very overweight, but life without cheese does not seem like an option.

We frequently get asked “Can I eat cheese on a weight loss plan”? The answer is yes as many dairy products are high in protein and relatively low in fat and carbohydrates, however many cheeses can be very high in fat.

Be careful if you’re thinking of adding cheese to bread or crackers. This adds up to a high fat high carb mix. If you do eat cheese, try it alone, or added to celery.

Not all cheese is created equal. There are hundreds of cheeses with varying ingredients, production methods and nutritional profiles.

Most cheeses are also extremely rich in nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. Many cheeses are a good source of vitamin B12, an essential element for blood, nerve, and cellular health, as well as zinc for strong immunity and good metabolic health. Of course, you should also be getting these nutrients form protein foods like, meat, fish, and eggs.

Let’s explore what cheese you can eat while you are losing weight and why some cheese is best to be avoided, at least until you have reached a weight that you’re happy with and have learnt what foods and drinks can maintain your weight.

Remember the first rule – prioritising protein in all meals and snacks is key to being at your best weight and health.

Look for cheeses that have a high protein serving of 15 – 20+ gm per serve.

Ricotta and cottage cheese, plain Greek yoghurt, Skyr and Quark are the lowest calorie options as they are lower in fat (and calories). When checking the serving size (normally 100g) ensure that the grams of protein per serve is more than 10gm and even better if closer to 15gm.

Cottage cheese, feta and plain Greek yoghurt contain probiotics which aid in gut health, increased immunity, reduced inflammation, and better metabolic health.

Other cheese options that are higher in fat (and calories) would be optional with a smaller serving size around 60gm. Make sure when checking the serving size which is normally 100gm that you adjust to 60gm to get the correct grams of protein.

These higher fat cheese options include:

  • Parmesan
  • Mozzarella
  • Cheddar and Tasty
  • Edam
  • Halloumi
  • Brie
  • Feta

The best options are to combine protein from dairy with other high protein foods such as meat, seafood, eggs, legumes and tofu and spread over the week.

Enjoy cheese in moderation but if it is a trigger food for you to continue eating then you’re best to avoid it. If you can’t eat just a small amount while you are losing weight, then make it something to look forward to when you have learnt how to maintain your best healthy weight.

Other dairy products that can be included in your weight loss program include butter when you have low fat proteins and a small amount of cream. These have very little protein but provide a source of healthy fats. Adding a few teaspoons of cream in your black coffee or cooking an egg omelette in a small amount of butter will provide healthy fat and satiety and very little carbohydrate. Be aware that the fat in cheese and butter adds calories.

Having a flat white and a savoury muffin could have more than 40gm of carbohydrate with very little protein so not a good choice for weight loss.

Eating some dairy products can help in your dream of a slimmer waist.

The main weight loss reason for staying away from cheese is its calorie content, and for some once they start eating cheese it’s hard to stop.

Follow these few tips and you can continue enjoying cheese and other dairy products while you lose weight.

  1. Portion control higher fat cheese to smaller serving sizes.
  2. Mix up meals and eat other high protein foods.
  3. Eat more of the lower fat cheese while losing weight.
  4. If you can’t limit portion size then best to do without.
  5. Use the ‘one-plate’ rule. Put your allocated cheese serve on a plate. Enjoy it, and don’t go back for seconds.

Remember this: Cheese has lots of protein for building muscle mass and burning fat, and it’s loaded with other vitamins and minerals that aid metabolic health and can even lead to weight loss. Just stick to small portion sizes.

If you would like more help in learning how to lose weight and still eat cheese our coaches would love to coach you through this process.

Reach out to learn more.