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The Truth about Cheese and Weight Loss

Do you love cheese?

If so, you are not alone!

According to a report from the Agricultural Marketing Center, Americans have been eating more and more cheese each year.

The average person in the U.S. eats more than 30 pounds of cheese every year!

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may think that cheese is off your list, but that’s not the case. Depriving yourself of a food that you love is always a recipe for disaster.

What’s more, studies have shown that eating more than 3 servings of dairy per day can reduce the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. In fact, if you’ve ever visited France, you know that good quality cheeses (always made with grass-fed milk in France) are served at the majority of meals, and despite their daily consumption of full-fat cheeses, the French are considerably leaner than Americans in general.

Instead of giving up on cheese, you are much better off finding a healthy way to include it in your diet.

Cheese is full of protein and calcium. No matter what type you choose you will get at least 6 grams of protein by eating just one ounce.

Protein helps keep you feeling full. It keeps your blood sugar level where it needs to be and keeps you from eating too much. In addition, as long as you choose cheeses made from pasture-raised milk, the fats in cheese are actually very healthy, control your appetite and prevent cravings, and are loaded with beneficial fats such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and even the hard to find vitamin K2, which has been shown to keep your arteries healthy..

The Secret to Eating Cheese and Still Losing Weight

The secret is all about learning which cheeses work against you, and which will help you in your goals.

There are plenty of cheeses that can actually assist your weight loss as long as you don’t overdo the quantity… Calories still matter, but that’s why the QUALITY of calories is so important in terms of your hormonal response and nutrient density. With that in mind, always try to choose cheeses that are grass-fed (pasture-raised) and full-fat, as the fat in grass-fed cheese actually aids your weight loss efforts through healthy CLA fats (proven in studies to benefit fat loss), and controlling your appetite. In general, European cheeses are higher quality most times than US-based cheeses, although there are exceptions, and some companies in the US (such as Organic Valley) always use pasture-raised milk in all of their cheeses.

Below are 4 examples of cheeses that can be fine for your weight loss diet plan, as long as you don’t overdo the quantity:

4 Cheeses that Fit into Your Weight Loss Plan

1. Mascarpone is in every tiramisu and cannoli recipe, but it can be used as a spread instead of butter. You can also make a sweet treat by mixing a couple of tablespoons of it with fresh berries.

2. Cottage cheese is a great, high protein addition to any diet. You can add it to smoothies or use it in place of sour cream in dips to eat with fresh vegetables.  Or just have a bowl with berries and nuts for a healthy protein-packed meal.

3. Feta cheese is full of vitamins and minerals. It is made from goat’s or sheep’s milk. It can have a high sodium content so you need to be careful not to eat too much of it, but it is so full of flavor that a little goes a long way. Feta is perfect for topping salads.

4. Mozzarella cheese is fairly high in quality protein, and as long as you find a brand that is grass-fed (or labeled pasture-raised), then the fat content is actually healthy too, as long as you don’t go too crazy on calories. Pair it with fruit for a healthy snack that will control your appetite for hours, or use mozzarella in any traditional Italian recipe, but use vegetables instead of pasta to save on gluten and excess blood-sugar spiking wheat starch.

This is all not to say that cheese is the ideal go-to for every meal. You still want to eat cheese in moderation and be mindful of portions but you can enjoy it and still be able to “say cheese” when you look in the mirror

Lastly, I will say that there are plenty of other healthy cheese options beyond the examples I listed above… for example, Gouda is one of the best cheeses for high vitamin K2 content, which is important for your body to use calcium correctly and prevent calcification of arteries or other soft tissues. Also, hard cheeses can be even easier to digest for some people because of the extra fermentation and aging time dedicated to making hard cheeses.

With all of this said though, if you’re a person that has gotten tested and found you have a dairy intolerance, then cheeses may not be good for you specifically, even if others do fine with them.  Some people can tolerate goat or sheep cheeses better than cow cheeses.

Yours in health,

Danette

P.S. Please help me spread the word to the cheese lovers you know and I love hearing from you in the comments below. Have you been avoiding cheese to lose weight?

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