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Which Types Of Cheese Are Best For A Low Carb Fat Loss Diet?

I received a question over the weekend from a reader who wanted to know if cheese was acceptable on her low-carb fat loss diet?

This is one of those topics that you’ll undoubtedly hear different answers depending on who you ask. Personally, I don’t view cheese as strictly off-limits like some Paleo purists or hardcore bodybuilder dieters.

I tend to follow more of a Primal Blueprint type diet and agree with Mark Sisson that consuming cheese should be an individual choice, but to remember that not all cheese is created equal.

In today’s post I’ll provide you with my preferred choices for cheese if you’re going to include it in your diet. Yes, it can even be included in moderation in your diet if you’re looking to lose fat as well.

The right type of cheese can be low-carb and a great way to add some flavor to meals while providing a source of protein and dietary fat.

More after the jump…

But I can’t have cheese as I’ve got lactose tolerance issues…

A lot of individuals will avoid cheese products altogether out of concerns over lactose. This is unfortunate as not all cheeses will likely pose a problem unless you’re extremely lactose intolerant.

Aged cheese is NOT like traditional dairy products due to a difference that a lot of people aren’t aware of.

Here’s why…

When aged cheese is made, the lactose in the milk gets converted into lactic acid by bacteria. This lactic acid is what begins the curdling process. The longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it contains.

This is why rule #1 is to look to include primarily aged cheeses in your diet. There are a few exceptions, but in general you want to avoid softer cheeses and those which haven’t aged for very long.

Here’s a list of some of my preferred aged cheeses:

- Cheddar
- Parmesan
- Asiago
- Swiss
- Gouda
- Brie
- Goat Cheese
- Crumbled Blue Cheese

From a carb counting standpoint, the longer a cheese is aged, the lower it’s carbohydrate content will be. Most of the above listed cheeses have less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce.

The best type of cheese in my opinion (once again I agree with Mark Sisson here) is raw cheese from grass-fed milk. The problem is it’s hard to find except at a local farmer’s market or specialty grocery store.

Grass-fed cheese that’s not raw, but has been pasteurized is next on my list, and much easier to find. You can find grass-fed cheese at most health food grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes, etc.

Even if it’s not grass-fed, your aged cheeses will be your best bet. Just look to get a good quality cheese.

Cheeses to avoid or minimize in your diet…

While the occasional mozzarella cheese stick isn’t going to derail your diet, I’d recommend you look to stick primarily with the aged cheeses. In general you want to minimize your consumption of processed and packaged cheeses.

Yeah, those Kraft Singles American cheese, that’s not your best bet.

Chances are if it’s in an individual wrapper or pre-sheddred in a plastic bag, you can find something better. Invest in a cheese grater, chances are you already have one in your kitchen, and start grating your own high quality aged cheese.

Don’t be lured into buying processed and packaged cheese with tempting “low-fat” and “fat free” claims on the label. The more natural the cheese the better, you don’t want something that’s been overly processed.

Natural cheese will contain saturated fat since it’s coming from an animal source so moderation will be in order. A little bit of cheese in the diet can contribute to fat and protein intake, but you’d want the majority of your fat intake coming from unsaturated sources.

Think along the lines of olive oil, flax seed oil, raw almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, cold water fish, fish oil, avocado, etc.

If you’re on a low-carb diet for weight loss you’ll want to monitor your cheese consumption. Not so much for the carb content, especially if you’re sticking with the aged cheeses, but because of the fat content.

The fat grams can add up in a hurry so make sure to know how much you’re consuming. Track and measure a few times and you should be able to eyeball after that.

So my final verdict on cheese in a low-carb fat loss diet?

While this will be individual specific, I do believe that aged cheese in moderation can often be included.

Are there better sources of fat and protein? You betcha, but there’s a very important reason why I’m open to a little bit of cheese in the diet.

The “stick-to-it-ness” factor.

From my experience people tend to do far better in a weight loss program in the long-run when they’re on a diet they can live with. Sure there’s a time and place for strategic approaches and specific diets, but in general you want to be following a day to day routine that suits you.

If you’re more likely to have that broccoli if you sprinkle some aged cheddar over top, then let’s do it. Just don’t go overboard and start dumping cheese on everything.

In the end the fat grams and calories all add up. This isn’t rocket science folks so just listen to your body and adjust consumption or cut out if necessary depending on your unique needs.

My best advice on cheese…if you’re going to eat it, get the good stuff. Spend a few extra bucks and avoid the pre-packaged varieties.

Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Nutrition.