Keto Cheese: 17 Best Low
- 8 minute read
Cheese is a great food option for those following the keto diet because it is naturally high in fat and low carb.
It is also a good source of calcium!
So if you werent sure before, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you will still be able to enjoy some of your favorite foods such as keto pizza.
Not only can cheese be made into many delicious keto recipes, just grabbing a few cubes of plain cheddar cheese can be a quick and easy low-carb snack.
Keto cheese is a great item to have on hand, but you need to be careful when you are picking it out at the grocery store.
Some keto cheese choices are better than others, so lets take a closer look at how to include cheese into your low-carb diet.
In this article, Ill discuss the best low-carb keto cheese that you can eat.
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A Key Factor To Remember Is That Percentages Arent Everything You Should Be Considering The Actual Grams Of What You Are Eating
Your carb grams are a limit, your protein grams are a goal and you then use fat as a lever to help you feel more full.
For example, if you have eaten up to your carb limit and met your protein goal, but are still hungry, you should have eaten more fat.
So if you had a chicken breast and some salad for dinner, perhaps you could put some olive oil on your salad and cook your chicken breast in butter.
Or you could swap the chicken breast for chicken thigh, which is naturally higher in fat.
Starting this simple way on Keto is the best way, because it means you wont get overwhelmed with trying to track every single thing.
Start like this for a few weeks, or a few months, and just eat from the green list.
This can seem a little overwhelming in the beginning. Ill be covering this in more depth and with video help in my Keto Community.
Which Cheeses Should You Avoid
While high-quality cheese is a healthy choice, highly processed cheese foods are not.
Avoid refined cheese foods, cheese spreads, and imitation cheeses because they are homogenized and pasteurized.
Theyre also made in large batches in factories and usually contain unhealthy ingredients like artificial flavoring, dyes, preservatives, and even sugar.
In the United States, the FDA requires that manufacturers label these fake foods as pasteurized process cheese, pasteurized process cheese food, or pasteurized process cheese spread. So avoid anything with those labels.
Here are other cheeses you dont want in your shopping cart:
- Pre-sliced cheese singles
- Soy cheese, cheese analog, and other vegan cheese substitutes
- Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Cheese singles and pre-shredded cheese contain artificial preservatives and added starches to keep them from sticking together. Its best to slice or shred cheese yourself.
While almond milk, coconut milk, and other non-dairy milks are usually keto-friendly, most vegan cheeses are not. Thats because theyre often made with soy, which isnot a healthy choice for a keto diet. Typically, cheese substitutes also contain less fat and more carbs than real cheese. One ounce of cheese analog has 70 calories, 3.2 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbs, and 3.7 grams of fat.
As mentioned, low-fat and reduced-fat cheese is highly processed and usually made with skim milk . Stick with full-fat cheeses only.
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Hard And Soft Cheeses
Cheese gets the green light on the keto diet. But if youâre worried about your lactose intake, then Keatley says youâll want to go for harder cheeses, like Parmesan, which typically have fewer carbs than soft cheese, explains Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, of the Nutrition Twins.
Semi-hard cheeseslike Swiss are keto-friendly too, Lakatos adds. Take a cue from Jenna Jameson and melt some semi-hard cheese over some eggs for breakfast . And while, yes, hard cheeses do have fewer carbs than soft cheese, that doesnât mean all soft cheeses are off the table.
Brie cheese, for example, has less than a gram of carbs per ounce, per the USDA. Mascarpone and creme fraiche are good options too, says Lakatos, since they give you tons of added flavor and creaminess for very few carbs.
General keto cheese recommendations:
- Parmesan. One tablespoon of the stuff has less than a gram of carbs, according to the USDA.
- Swiss. Another good pickit has less than 2 grams of carbs per cup of shredded cheese, per the UDSA
- Brie. Itâs the perfect spreadable cheese and less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce,per the USDA.
- Mascarpone and creme fraiche. Lakatos recommends these two for a cheese that will give you tons of added flavor and creaminess for very few carbs.
Choose Fat Bombs For Dessert
If you’re going to go for a dessert, choose an option that helps you to get more fat into your diet. Fat bombs are good for this too, giving you plenty of fat but avoiding too many carbs. Of course, desserts shouldn’t make up a big portion of your daily or even weekly calories. But if you do decide to treat yourself, there are some great keto-friendly desserts that you can enjoy. Another easy way to make yourself a high-fat dessert is to add some whipped cream to some berries or other fruit.
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Tips For Making Keto Ham And Cheese Bites
- Use brick-style cream cheese for this recipe. Full-fat or light will both work, but it must be brick-style.
- If you dont follow a keto diet, you can likely use regular all-purpose flour to make this recipe. However, we have a gluten allergy in our household so Ive never tried this myself.
- Store the bites in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
How To Build Your Keto Diet Meal Plan
The goal of keto is to transition your body into the fat-burning metabolic state known as ketosis. To do this, youll eat plenty of healthy, whole, high-fat foods while keeping your carb intake to an absolute minimum.
On a keto meal plan, your food groups will include low-carb vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and meat and seafood with a higher fat content, plus plenty of other sources of healthy fats . Youll limit your intake of sugar, starchy vegetables, and processed foods.
If youre looking for a complete meal plan and keto diet menu ideas, there are plenty for you to use on this site. This includes a 7-day keto meal plan for weight loss and a 3-day keto plan to help you enter ketosis. You can also use this keto meal prep guide to make cooking, shopping, and meal planning on keto a breeze.
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Dairy Is Tasty And Filling
Theres no denying that many dairy foods are delicious, and they can even help other foods taste better. For example, topping vegetables or lean steak with butter or a cream sauce can make a world of difference to the palatability and flavor of your meal.
As Dr. Bret Scher, Diet Doctors Medical Director, likes to say, Anyone who doesnt like broccoli or spinach, in my opinion, likely hasnt had them properly cooked in butter and sprinkled with real salt!
In addition to being flavorful, cheese can also be very filling. In one randomized controlled trial , cheese was found to reduce hunger and trigger the release of fullness hormones more than cream or whipped cream.21
Interestingly, a 2017 systematic review of 13 RCTs in adults found that although all types of dairy products seemed to increase feelings of fullness and decrease hunger, this didnt lead to reduced intake at meals later in the day.22 However, these studies were conducted in people consuming high-carb diets.
Unfortunately, at this time no studies have tested a dairy-containing low-carb diet against a dairy-free one.
How Much Cheese Can I Eat On Keto
You can certainly eat keto friendly cheese but its not a carb-free food. Youll need to pay close attention to serving sizes, since the small amount of carbs in cheese can add up fast.
The way you buy low carb cheese can also determine its nutritional value. Pre-shredded cheeses, for example, sometimes contain added starches to prevent sticking that will add more carbs to each serving. For the best keto diet cheese experience, buy whole blocks and slice or shred them yourself.
All cheese can be keto. However, keep fat content in mind when you look for low carb cheese. Low fat, nonfat, and full fat cheeses are all considered low carb, but lower fat varieties will generally yield higher carb counts.
Takeaway: Choose full-fat cheeses whenever possible, and steer clear of any with added starch or sweeteners.
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Best Cheeses For Keto
Two of the first questions most keto beginners ask is what can you eat on a keto diet? and can you eat dairy on keto?
While milk is too high in carbs to be keto-friendly, cheese is good enough on keto since it has a good balance of keto macros.
However, what you really want to know is which cheese is best.
Here are 9 types we believe tick all the right keto-friendly boxes: low-carb, high-fat, nutritious and healthy.
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Can I Eat Cheese On Keto
When I was first researching keto as a possible way to lose weight, one of the things that caught my eye was people saying that you could have unlimited cheese as part of this way of eating. Other than chicken wings, cheese may be one of my favorite foods, so hearing this made my ears perk up.
Obviously, the word unlimited needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If you eat endless amounts of anything, youre sure to see your weight increasing soon after. As much as I love cheese, I cant see myself sitting there stuffing myself with it for hours. After a few pieces, Im going to grow tired of it.
In moderation, cheese might be the perfect food for a ketogenic diet. Its low in carbohydrates, has a moderate amount of protein, and is high in healthy fats. It can take foods that are boring and add some flash in the form of new flavors and textures. When choosing your favorite cheeses, ensure youre picking out high-quality options that are full-fat and, if possible, grass-fed.
Its important to note that cheese isnt for everyone following keto, even if you love it. Some people find that they stop losing weight when eating too much cheese. Many people find that weight comes off faster when eliminating dairy from their diet, but if you arent having problems, there isnt really a reason not to have some cheese if you enjoy it.
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Dairy May Cause Cravings
Although dairy is often considered filling, some people find that eating it causes cravings for more.28 One piece of cheese leads to another, then another. For some, it may seem almost impossible to stop eating.
This doesnt happen in everyone, or likely even in most people. And there isnt much high-quality research on the topic.
Still, there is some debate about whether dairy has addiction tendencies.29
While the science is inconclusive, clinical experience shows that, for some, dairy may trigger a desire to keep eating more and effectively bypass hunger cues.30
Are Some Cheeses Better Than Others
The keto diet aims to achieve ketosis by reducing carb intake, so thats what we need to focus on when deciding which cheeses to include in our diet. On the whole, cheese is generally low-carb, but some varieties are going to be better than others for when following the keto diet.
As a rule of thumb, hard cheeses like parmesan, aged cheddar, swiss, and gouda are going to have a lower carb count. Hard and aged cheeses also contain less lactose for the body to break down.
Below are the total carbs per ounce:
- Parmesan: 1.2 g
- Swiss: 1.5 g
- Gouda: 0.6 g
If you suffer from a milder form of lactose intolerance, its still possible to eat some harder cheeses to gain the health benefits. For this reason, if youve temporarily cut out dairy to test your tolerance, youll want to start with reintroducing hard cheeses first.
Softer cheeses, like mozzarella, brie, and blue are still fine on keto but require more moderation in the face of lactose intolerance.
Additionally, you should stick to raw and organic dairy products when possible, as processed dairy can contain up to five times as many carbsobviously not great for keto.
Youll also want to make sure youre picking full-fat over either low-fat or fat-free. The other types of fat are less filling and not ideal for weight management, not to mention they also have a higher carb count.
Lactose sensitivity aside, as long as you avoid processed cheeses, youve got free reign in terms of cheese choice.
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An Overview Of The Best And Worst Dairy Products For Keto
To give you a better idea of how all the above information fits together, weve included a chart with the net carb counts for every 100g serving of the best and worst keto dairy products for keto:
Now that we know exactly what dairy products are the best, the worst, and what should be limited on keto, lets take a look at the benefits, the downsides, and other common dairy-related questions.
Watch Out For Dairy Foods That Contain High Sugars
When looking at the best dairy foods on a keto diet, it is crucial that you distinguish which dairy to avoid. These foods include low fat cottage cheeses and low-fat fruit yogurts. If you look at the carb content on low-fat yogurts, often it is enough to make your hair stand on end!
Most low-fat products contain sugar in some form or another, so it is important to be aware of the pitfalls in the dairy area. Milk is off the menu for the same reason it has sugars in it. On the other hand, full-fat Greek yogurt can be included in the best dairy on a keto diet. It can be used to enhance sauces as well as to enjoy with some berries on occasion. To learn more about what dairy foods to avoid see Keto diet foods-complete list.
I personally find that in limited quantities it can help to enhance your cooking options. It expands the diet possibilities enormously. Organic is best. Grating a little cheese on various dishes improves flavor. A good Caesar Salad is a perfect Keto option.
Adding some cheese to your breakfast omelet livens things up. Equally heavy or double cream is great for cooking sauces. Butter is particularly good on the Keto diet. Shrimps cooked in garlic butter and butter slathered liberally over asparagus are mouth-watering options that make the diet satisfying and easy to stick to!
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Can I Eat Cream Cheese On Keto
Despite being a fresh cheese, you can enjoy cream cheese on keto. Cream cheese is creamy due to its high-fat content around 33-65% of cream cheese is fat. Furthermore, a 3.5 oz serving comes with around 4.1g carbohydrates, which isn’t all too bad.
However, don’t just buy any brand of cream cheese you come across. Go for cream cheeses that list as few ingredients as possible. Some brands may include additives like carob bean gum, natamycin, and whey salt to get a more desirable texture and flavor, but these may not be best for health.
As with most dairy food, keep your intake moderate to stay within your macros. While you can definitely use it as a spread, there are other ways to incorporate cream cheese into a keto diet. Many keto recipes call for cream cheese as a thickening ingredient in place of yogurt, milk, and heavy cream. It’s also used in some smoothies. Here are other ways to use this keto staple.
- Tip 1 – Feel like classic coconut and almond flour pancakes are missing that extra something to make them tender and delicious? Add a1/4 to a 1/2 a bar of cream cheese to a blender along with a tablespoon of butter and your choice of keto-friendly sweetener, blitz until smooth and incorporate with your other pancake ingredients.
Some Dairy Products Can Raise Insulin Levels
Of the three macronutrients protein, carbs, and fat carbs have been shown to raise blood sugar levels the most, by far.23 And when blood sugar goes up, it triggers your pancreas to release insulin.
Since lactose breaks down to glucose during digestion, consuming high-lactose dairy products can raise both blood sugar and insulin levels.
So if your goals include keeping insulin levels low, its likely best to steer clear of milk, flavored yogurt, and other types of high-lactose dairy.
However, even some keto-friendly dairy foods, such as cheese, also raise insulin levels somewhat. In this case, its not the carbs but the protein or more specifically, amino acids that cause insulin to rise.
Why does this happen? During digestion, protein is broken down into individual amino acids, which are absorbed into your bloodstream. This prompts your pancreas to release insulin, which helps the amino acids get into your muscles.
In fact, this happens with all protein foods, although to a greater extent with some than others. For instance, hard cheese raises insulin more than eggs but less than fish and beef. Yet all four of these protein foods raise insulin far less than carb-containing foods.24
Additionally, the whey protein in dairy is absorbed more rapidly than the casein.25 Therefore, consuming whey-containing dairy products may raise blood insulin levels more quickly than fermented dairy products that no longer contain whey.26
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