Cheddar cheese is a popular favorite for many, but can it really be considered healthy? While this type of cheese does have some nutritional value, there are also some potential downsides to consider.
In terms of nutrition, cheddar cheese is an excellent source of protein, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains healthy fats that can help promote heart health. However, it is important to note that cheddar cheese is high in saturated fat and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation. Additionally, many types of pre-packaged cheddar cheese contain added ingredients and preservatives which can decrease its nutritional value.
In terms of dietary concerns, it is important to note that cheddar cheese may not be suitable for those with certain food allergies or intolerances. For example, some people may have trouble digesting lactose, the primary sugar found in milk-based products such as cheddar cheese. Additionally, those with gluten allergies may need to be cautious when eating certain brands of pre-packaged cheddar cheese, as some contain added wheat proteins.
Cheddar Nutrition Information
Overall, cheddar cheese can be a nutritious choice for those looking to increase their calcium and protein intake. However, it is important to bear in mind that it is also high in fat and sodium, so moderation is key.
According to the USDA FoodData Central, a cup of shredded cheddar (105g) contains:
- Energy – 429 kcal
- Fat – 36 g
- Saturated fat – 20 g
- Cholesterol – 105 mg
- Carbohydrates – 2.6 g
- Sugar – 0.3 g
- Protein – 25 g
- Moisture – 38%
- Calcium – 742 mg
- Phosphorus – 481 mg
- Sodium – 687 mg
- Vitamin A – 332 mcg
The bright/good side of cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium. A slice (1 ounce) of cheddar cheese provides about a daily need of 14% of protein and 20% of calcium. Whereby protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, and calcium is essential for bone health.
It also contains other key nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc and vitamin A, vitamin B12 and more. Vitamin A is important for vision and immune function, while vitamin B12 is important for red blood cell formation and neurological function. Phosphorus and zinc are important for bone health and immunity, respectively.
If you have tooth cavities problem, consuming cheddar cheese may have anti-cavities properties as it’s linked to increase pH levels; and various compounds may adhere to tooth anemal to protect teeth from acid (1).
Additionally, cheddar cheese is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes to make them more flavorful. It pairs well with many other ingredients and its meltable texture makes it ideal for use in grilled sandwiches or melted on top of salads and baked dishes.
Similar to parmesan, cheddar cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) omega-6 fatty acid, which boosts several health benefits including fat loss, reduced risk of diabetes, strengtening heart health and immune system. Also, the sharp cheddar tends to have higher CLA than medium cheddar (2).
One step further to make cheddar cheese more healthy is to choose raw, organic varieties which are free of additives. For example, you can try raw organic grassmilk cheddar like this one, where It’s also vegetarian and non-GMO.
Cheddar cheese can be bad/unhealthy too
Despite the many health benefits of cheddar cheese, there are also some potential downsides to consider.
Cheddar cheese is high in fat and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation. A single slice (1 ounce) contains roughly 10 grams of total fat and 180 milligrams of sodium – this can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Eating too much cheddar cheese may also raise your cholesterol levels and contribute to weight gain. Thus, you may want to consider to opt for lower-fat varieties.
Cheddar cheese is high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat in the diet is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. Together with sodium, it can increase your blood pressure too.
Cheese is usually okay for people with lactose intolerance. For cheddar, the amount of lactose is 0-3% which is very low compared to other types of cheese, but if you are particularly sensitive, it is best to avoid it or read my article about lactose-free in cheddar.
Finally, those with gluten allergies may need to be cautious when eating certain brands of pre-packaged cheddar cheese, or vegan cheddar, as some contain added wheat proteins. So be sure to read the label. Some individuals may experience adverse reactions, such as bloating and gas, after eating cheddar cheese. People with milk allergies or sensitivities should avoid it altogether.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to cheddar cheese, there are some options. One option is to opt for lower fat varieties of cheddar, such as reduced-fat or light versions. Additionally, other types of cheese like cottage cheese and mozzarella contain less fat and calories than cheddar. Also, they usually are less salty. Read cheddar vs mozzarella here.
You can also try plant-based version of cheddar, such as those made from soy, nuts and starches. It offer a great way to get the same cheesy flavor with much lower fats and cholesterol content. Read my article about vegan cheddar cheese — overview.
For healthy cheddar snack, try to avoid cheese products like the Goldfish or SunChips even it says 100% real cheddar. It’s usually have cheese, flour, vegetable oils, and other additives. Therefore, they are also high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. However, you can switch to a much healthier snack option like cheddar crisps, which is made from just one ingredient. Check the ingredient list to make sure the only ingredient is cheese, and maybe with salt. You can even create your own baked cheddar crisps in just 20 minutes or less, try this one.