Here’s How To Eat Cheese and Still Eat Healthy

Cheese is notorious for its high fat content. Do images of unctuous brie and cheese-laden pizzas oozing with oil come to mind? It will most likely come as a surprise that brie and other surface-ripened cheeses have some of the lowest fat contents of all (double and triple-crème versions aside). There are stipulations to this of course, as even though it is lower in fat, it also contains significantly less protein and nutrients, but still quite a bit of salt. The reason it is so creamy and soft is because it is a high-moisture cheese, meaning more whey remains in with the curds. Whereas when we look at a very firm, dry cheese like gouda or Parmigiano, the fat content is higher but the protein levels are much more inspiring.

And then there is the dreaded (but oh-so-loved) salt. That wonderful burst of flavour that makes cheese what it is. Without salt, I doubt anyone would even eat cheese – it is beyond bland. More importantly it plays an essential role in the development and preservation of cheese. There are certain cheeses that advertise themselves as low salt, but often this is a sneaky marketing term. What they should really state is that they are low salt for that cheese type. There is a that advertises itself as low fat and low salt. In relation to other goudas this is absolutely true, but in the grand scheme of cheese, it is that careful wording that makes consumers think they’re making the best choice when really the levels are higher than many in the case.


  • mozzarella

  • ricotta

  • cottage cheese

  • cream cheese

  • Emmental (Swiss)


  • mozzarella (skim-milk)

  • cottage cheese

  • goat’s milk cheese

  • brie (especially Meaux)

  • Pecorino Romano



  • aged gouda

  • aged cheddar

  • Parmigiano Reggiano

  • Gruyère

  • Comté

Finally, we must mention fake cheese. Although clearly not our first choice, artificial cheese is gaining popularity in the dairy-free markets. We cannot attest to the flavour (or lack thereof), only to the fact that it does contain much less fat and salt than ‘real’ cheese.

What it really comes down to is moderation, just like any other food. It is a terrible thing to deny oneself cheese just to get ready for bikini season, especially when all you need is a small amount to quell your hunger or add bang to a dish. It also requires a conscious mind when shopping – read the labels, compare brands, be smart. Just because it advertises a certain health claim, confirm what it means and ensure that it fits your needs. And remember to ENJOY your treat guilt-free, because let’s be honest, a life without cheese is no life at all.

— By Andrew Moyer and Laura Peterson

Spoiled Milk is a continuing, monthly column exploring the world of cheese. It is written in collaboration with Ottavio – Italian Bakery & Delicatessen

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