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The Most (and Least) Healthy Cheeses

The Most (and Least) Healthy Cheeses

Let’s face it, most of us love cheese. It’s a great tasting ingredient that can liven up most meals. But being a health conscious eater means knowing which cheeses are good and which are not so good for you. Here’s a brief rundown of which queso to avoid and which you can indulge in without too much guilt.

The Healthy Cheeses

These low-fat, low-sodium cheeses taste good and are considered to be better for your health by most health experts:

  • Feta. A smart choice for health conscious cheese aficionados, this soft, white cheese is made from ewe and goat milk, so it’s ideal for lactose-sensitive eaters. Salty chunks can be soaked in cold water or milk to reduce the sodium content.
  • Italian Ricotta. Made from whey instead of whole milk, this cheese is naturally low in fat (about 5 percent). Firm, moist and a bit grainy, Ricotta is the sweet cheese you love on bagels and crackers, or with fresh fruit.
  • Cottage Cheese. Athletes and fitness gurus love this cheese. It’s not only low in fat (for weight conscious snackers), but it’s loaded with casein protein for adding muscle bulk. One caveat: cottage cheese is high in sodium, so look for low-sodium brands.
  • Gouda. Made from cow milk, this creamy yellow Dutch cheese is sweet and nutty. Look for Goudas made from partly skim milk to cut down on the fat content. Lactose sensitive eaters should stick to Goudas that have been aged at least a year.

The Unhealthy Cheeses

These cheeses are on the bad end of the high-fat, high sodium spectrum.

  • Goat Cheese and Blue Cheese. A single ounce of semi-soft goat cheese contains 6 grams of saturated fat or nearly 30% of the daily recommended value.
  • American, Roquefort and Parmesan. These processed cheeses are high in sodium. A single ounce of Roquefort cheese has over about 500 mg of sodium (more than one-third of the recommended average daily allowance). Incidentally, most American cheeses aren’t even cheeses but “cheese products,” since they contain all kinds of additivesólike whey, emulsifiers and preservatives. They’re also high in saturated fat.

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Alex A. Kecskes

As owner/president of AK CreativeWorks, Alex A. Kecskes is a national award-winning writer/blogger/journalist who has written over 2,000 published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, careers, consumer tech, arts/entertainment and many other topics. He also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Follow Alex on twitter at


+ add your own
1:35AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Yes, supermarket bulk cheeses are real junk. I also like strong cheeses and unfortunately Parmesan is loaded with salt - however one uses far less because it is packed with flavour.

7:48AM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

What is the difference between feta and goat cheese? Why do they hit both the high and the low end of healthy?

8:29PM PDT on Jul 10, 2014

Glad to see Feta and Gouda as Healthy!
I do like Blue cheese too though.

12:12PM PDT on Jul 9, 2014

Right- American "cheese" is not cheese so I don't even think about it. But most people don't eat large portions of Roquefort or Parmesan. They are usually grated onto pasta &/ or vegetables- not enough to deny yourself if you like them. Like Peter W., I like the blue cheeses- they are strong flavored and a little goes a long way.

11:51AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Love cheese!

6:36AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Article is sorta true and not true. I am very careful about my diet after successfully using diet and lifestyle to successfully combat cancer eight years ago.
I generally avoid dairy foods (milk is for baby cows) but love cheese.
So I choose the strongest, tastiest cheeses, eat them sparingly (once a week or less) and fully enjoy them without worrying.
My favorites are blue cheeses, especially Stilton, Danish blue and Roquefort.
Yes, an ounce of any of these is much higher in salt and saturated fat. But an ounce lasts me a couple of weeks. One ounce of supermarket mild chedder would taste blah and be way too little for even a single sandwich.
So, when you take into account how much you consume in a sitting, rather than how much by weight, a very different picture emerges.

6:03AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014


5:55AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

holland home of gouda kaas, has over 140+ different cheeses. I also love french goat cheese. young and old.

4:21AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014


4:13AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Good information! Drink Silk NOT Milk

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