The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that is commonly used to promote weight loss.
The diet traditionally limits carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day in order to maintain ketosis, a state in which your body uses fat as its main source of fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Because of this, certain foods are better suited to the keto diet than others. Cheese, in particular, is an ideal keto food because of its high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate content.
This article describes some of the best and worst cheeses to eat on a keto diet.
Those on a keto diet limit their carbohydrate intake severely.
Additionally, keto dieters typically prioritize high fat foods to make up for the calories they miss out on while restricting carbohydrates.
This means cheese is an excellent food option as most types are high in fat, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates.
However, some types of cheese are more suitable than others due to fluctuations in fat content and processing level.
Cheese is an ideal keto food because of its high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate content. However, some varieties may be better than others due to variations in fat content and processing levels.
These cheeses are high in fat and minimally processed, making them perfect for the keto diet.
Cheddar is a popular yellow cheese.
The varieties range in flavor from hot to mild, so most people can find a variety that suits their taste preferences.
For every 1-ounce serving (28 grams), a mild cheddar cheese provides 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of carbohydrates. This means that it goes well with the keto diet (1).
With a perfect balance of acidity and creaminess and a relatively low melting point, it’s great for melting on sandwiches, lettuce-wrapped burgers, low-carb bread and casseroles.
Gouda is a slightly sweet, creamy, yellowish cheese made from cow’s milk.
With 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and just 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1-ounce (28 grams) serving, it fits well on the keto diet (2).
Gouda has a fairly low melting point so it can be used as a topping on burgers or added to your favorite keto mac and cheese recipe.
Goat cheese, also called chevre, is a creamy cheese made from goat milk. It has a tart taste that is sometimes described as wild or earthy.
A 1 ounce (28 gram) serving contains 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and minimal carbohydrates, making it an excellent cheese to enjoy on the keto diet (3).
While not particularly good for melting, goat cheese works well with starters, salads, casseroles, and omelets.
Goat cheese also contains less lactose than many other cheeses made from cow’s milk. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance may be able to digest them better (4).
Blue cheese is a unique cheese. It is made using cultures of a specific type of mold to develop deep flavors and a creamy texture.
Its keto-approved nutritional profile includes 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1-ounce (28 gram) serving (5).
Blue cheese is great when freshly added to salads, mixed into a dip, or made into a sauce to enjoy with vegetable noodles or steaks.
Some of the best cheeses for the keto diet are cheddar, gouda, blue cheese, and goat cheese due to their high fat and low carbohydrate content.
Some of the cheeses to avoid on the keto diet include high-carb and processed types.
Cottage cheese is a cream cheese made by separating broken casein and liquid whey – the two most important milk proteins.
While cottage cheese is generally considered a healthy cheese option, its nutritional profile doesn’t work well with the keto diet.
A 1/2 cup (114-gram) serving of full-fat cottage cheese contains 5 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 5 grams of carbohydrates (6).
While it’s not particularly high in carbohydrates, even small amounts add up quickly. Hence, it is best not to overeat cottage cheese while on a keto diet.
Low fat cheese
Given that the keto diet focuses on high-fat, low-carb foods, it’s best to avoid low-fat cheeses.
Regular cheddar provides 9 grams of fat per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. For comparison, the same serving size of low-fat cheddar or Colby cheese has about 2 grams of fat. You can even buy fat-free cheese that doesn’t contain any fat (1, 7, 8).
If your goal is to keep your body getting fat through ketosis, stick with full-fat cheese.
Another category of cheese that you will likely want to avoid while following a keto diet is processed cheese.
This includes varieties like American cheese, aerosol cheese, and other products that contain a mix of cheese and non-cheese ingredients.
Although they are usually high in fat, they also usually contain ingredients that you would not find in naturally made cheese. This can include whey powder, rapeseed oil, added colorings, and preservatives (9, 10).
A high intake of processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. That said, you should limit the number of processed foods you eat whether or not you are on the keto diet (11, 12).
While most cheeses fit well on the keto diet, some types are not ideal because of their nutritional balance and processing level. These include cottage cheese and low-fat and processed cheeses.
The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. It requires strict adherence to ketosis, a condition in which your body uses fat as its primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates.
To make up for the calories lost from carbohydrate restriction, keto dieters eat many high-fat foods, such as cheese.
Some cheeses go better with the keto diet than others. This mainly depends on their carbohydrate and fat content and the degree of processing.
The best keto cheeses include cheddar, gouda, goat cheese, and blue cheeses, while cottage cheeses and low-fat and processed types are the worst.
If you are following the keto diet or you know someone who is, these cheeses should be kept in mind to promote ketosis and meet nutritional goals.