How much fat is in cheese and cheese spread?
Today, my friends, I’m here to talk to you about the fat content of cheese. While some may shy away from the very word, I’m here to reassure you that fat is *gasp* not necessarily a bad thing. A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. In fact, fat contain various nutrients like fat soluble vitamins in various proportion depending on the origin of the fat (for example, cod liver oil contains oodles of vitamin D, and milk contains vitamin B2 and b12) – it’s only when we consume excessive amounts of fat that our body converts it into what you and I know as body fat. We just need to stay aware of what we put in our bodies and make clever food decisions. Fat is higher in calories than any other nutrients, so if we what to keep the calories down, keep the fat down, and make good choices.
The Science of Fat in cheese
Now for some science about the fat in cheese. Milk is made up of water, lactose, fats, proteins and a few nutrients (including good old calcium), and when it gets converted into cheese the milk is concentrated down – losing much of the water but keeping the fat and proteins. This also explains why as a general rule of thumb, soft cheeses have less fat per gram than hard cheeses; soft cheeses tend to have a higher water content than their more concentrated cousins. Additionally, the type of milk used can affect the fat content of cheese. The lowest fat cheeses are usually those made from skimmed milk, as this type of milk has less fat to begin with – though ultimately, it’s all down to the many different factors that go into cheese-making.
Anyway, I’ve figured out the fat content of a variety of different cheeses, both soft and hard – and of course, my cheese spread – so that you can snack mindfully. I’ve used 100g references here to help you compare, but we usually eat 20-30g of cheese in one go. (If you’re interested – you can find out about the difference between cheese and cheese spread here)
How much fat in your favourite cheese?
The Laughing Cow Extra Light – 2g fat per 100g
Let’s begin on a light note – an Extra Light note, in fact. Despite its beautifully creamy consistency, my Extra Light cheese spread is officially low in fat. In fact, even my Original triangles weigh in with half the amount of fat as cheddar, as my whole cheese spread range is made using skimmed milk powder. So go on – chow down on one of my delicious low fat cheese spread triangles, guilt-free.
Cottage cheese – 6g fat per 100g
Poor old cottage cheese has a bit of an undeserved reputation as a somewhat dull diet food. Well, I’m here to tell you that while it is a slimmer’s favourite, it’s still a champion cheese in my book! The texture of cottage cheese makes for a substantial post-dinner treat, and stirring it into pancake batter can give your brunch a brilliant bit of oomph.
Ricotta – 11g fat per 100g
Ever tucked into some creamy ricotta ravioli or sweet ricotta pancakes? Well, you can thank Italians for this beautiful cheese. Ricotta is fantastic in both sweet and savoury dishes, so why not try this versatile delight in a fresh salad for a weekday lunch or cheesecake for a weekend treat?
Babybel Light – 12g fat per 100g
First things first: Babybel® is definitely not just for kids! For those monitoring their fat intake, swap the iconic red wrapping for blue for a lighter option that’s just as tasty. One Mini Babybel Light has half the fat of its Original cousin, with 2.4g per portion! Try nibbling on one of these with a handful of dried fruit and nuts and a drink of water for a well-balanced snack.
Leerdammer Light – 16g per 100g
What’s smooth, delightful and oh so nutty? Before you cheeky lot say ‘me’, I’m referring to Leerdammer® Light! This natural, mellow cheese may have 42% less fat than the Original slices, but it still has plenty of flavour. And as it comes in handy ready-sliced portions, you can construct your speediest sandwich yet!
Paneer – 24.5g fat per 100g
Paneer is hugely popular across India as a vegetarian substitute for meat It’s an extremely versatile cheese – spongy enough to absorb bags of flavour, but firm enough to keep its shape and not melt during cooking. It’s also incredibly simple to make from scratch in your kitchen, so why not get your chef on and give it a go?
Cheddar – 35g fat per 100g
Who can say no to the wonderful versatility of this mellow delight? As a hard cheese, cheddar does have a higher fat content than many of the other softer cheeses on this list. However, as I always say, variety is key! If you’re trying to reduce the fat in your diet but just can’t keep away from this tasty treat, you can always try a reduced fat version instead.