It’s not surprising that people love cheese so much. Cheese is a great standalone snack and can be used as an ingredient in many recipes worldwide. From a nutritional perspective, cheese is a source of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, D, K, B6, B12, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.[*]
For someone following a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet, you might be wondering if cheese can fit into your plan and what’s the best cheese for keto to eat and serve the whole family. We’ll look more into this below!
Is Cheese Keto-Friendly? And Reasons to Eat Cheese
In a nutshell, cheese is allowed on the keto diet. That’s because cheese (regardless of the type) is relatively low in carbohydrates while being high in protein and fat.
Recall that the keto diet limits carbs to just 50 grams per day to reach ketosis. Although keto is high in fat and moderate in protein, the amount for these macros varies depending on various factors, such as your age, goals, activity level, and daily calories. You can easily figure this out using a free keto calculator if you haven’t yet.
But generally speaking, cheese has a nutritional profile that allows you to maintain ketosis, stay satiated, and benefit your health in many ways. Here are some of the reasons why cheese may be good for you:
One of the key nutrients in the human body, calcium is essential for bone formation, growth, and strength. Women who don’t eat enough for their activity level and those in their postmenopausal stage can be at risk for calcium deficiency.[*]
Incorporating cheese into your diet can help meet your calcium needs. Your body also needs vitamin D to properly absorb calcium, and cheese provides vitamin D as well!
In case you didn’t know — cheese is actually a fermented food. That said, cheese is a source of probiotics that support your gut lining and protect it from bad bacteria. Additionally, probiotics aid in digestion and help with the absorption of nutrients from the foods and supplements you consume.[*]
Eat cheese, lose weight? Those trying to lose weight can have cheese in moderation since cheese increases feelings of satiety due to its high protein content. For example, one stick (28 grams) of cheddar cheese has 7 grams of protein.[*] Cheese only contributes to weight gain when consumed in excess, just like any other healthy food.
The Best Cheese for Keto: Top 5 Kinds of Cheese
Check out these different types of cheeses and their nutritional values from the USDA that fit a keto lifestyle:
1. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is one of the most popular cheeses. Young cheddar cheese has a mild and smooth flavor while aged cheddar cheese tastes sharp and tangy. While it’s perfect on its own, cheddar can also be shredded or sliced and added to scrambled eggs, salads, and keto-friendly sandwiches. There’s only less than 1 gram of carbs in a slice of cheddar cheese, making it a reliable keto treat.
Nutrition per serving (28g): Carbs: less than 1g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 7g | Calories: 115
2. Pepper Jack Cheese
Pepper jack cheese was invented during the 1700s. It’s a semi-soft cheese that includes spicy peppers like Jalapeños, serrano peppers, and habañero peppers. If you love spicy and tangy flavors, you should give pepper jack cheese a try. With less than 1g of carbs, it’s great for a wide variety of keto recipes like meatloaves and mac and cheese (using cauliflower florets).
Nutrition per serving (21g): Carbs: less than 1g | Fat: 6g | Protein: 5g | Calories: 78
3. Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese is a sweet and semi-hard cheese originating from the Netherlands. They’re best used to make dips or serve as a melting cheese for pasta recipes. Low-carb versions, of course! If you want a snack that uses smoked gouda, a variant of regular gouda with a nutty taste, try our smoked gouda cheese bites.
Nutrition per serving (28g): Carbs: less than 1g | Fat: 8g | Protein: 7g | Calories: 101
4. Cream Cheese
Another keto favorite, cream cheese is widely used as an ingredient in low-carb crackers, pancakes, fat bombs, no-bake cakes, and casseroles. You can even use it as a dip for your kids’ vegetable snacks. For baked goods, the best cream cheese for keto is one that’s brick-shaped. Before using it, make sure to let it rest at room temperature.
Nutrition per serving (28g): Carbs: 2g | Fat: 10g | Protein: 2g | Calories: 99g
5. Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is easy to recognize due to its characteristic blue and green spots. It also has a unique taste and aroma that are often described as smelly or funky. Regardless, blue cheese fans use it to make dips and dressings. It also pairs well with homemade low-carb chips, walnuts, and pecans during snack time.
Nutrition per serving (28g): Carbs: less than 1g | Fat: 8g | Protein: 6g | Calories: 100
All things considered, cheese is low in carbohydrates — most types have less than 1 gram of carbs per serving, such as cheddar, pepper jack, and gouda.
On the contrary, stay away from canned cheese which is highly processed. Canned cheese contains added colors, inflammatory vegetable oils (canola oil, for example), and emulsifiers that have negative health effects.
If you’re craving cheddar cheese on keto and other varieties, you might like our Käze cheese bites. They’re low-carb, gluten-free, made with real cheese, and perfect as a convenient snack or addition to your dishes.