When we hear the word mozzarella, we often think of pizza. Its elastic quality and mild taste make it blend perfectly into many dishes. In fact, mozzarella has grown to become more popular — according to statistics, its average consumption is around 12.3 pounds per person as of 2021 [*]. And perhaps the most interesting question: Is mozzarella cheese healthy?
What is Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella cheese comes from the milk of cows or water buffalo. Those who consume mozzarella from buffalo may not even realize it. History shows that this cheese was first invented during the first century AD in Southern Italy.
People describe mozzarella as supple, smooth-textured, and whitish. As for the taste, it’s milky, grassy, and slightly tangy. Many cheese shops sell mozzarella in balls (usually available in fist-sized or bite-sized chunks).
Is Mozzarella Cheese Healthy?
Due to its popularity in many dishes — from lasagna to grilled sandwiches to quesadillas and casseroles — anyone might ask: Is mozzarella cheese good for you? The answer is yes, mozzarella is a healthy option in and of itself. It’s safe to incorporate in most diets that allow dairy and other animal-based products. For example, the low-carb or keto diet.
Cheese can be beneficial for you in many ways, and that includes mozzarella. To maximize the advantages of cheese as part of your lifestyle, it’s important to consume other nutrient-dense foods, watch your serving sizes, and track your macronutrients (if that helps with your goals).
According to the USDA, one serving of mozzarella (1 oz or 28 grams) provides [*]:
- Calories: 78.4 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 0.87 grams
- Protein: 7.7 grams
- Fat: 4.79 grams
Mozzarella is also a source of many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium [*].
Note that the number of servings you can eat per day will depend on your calorie goals, macronutrient goals (for example, 70% fat and 5% carbohydrates), and personal tolerance.
Health Benefits of Mozzarella Cheese
Cheese is chock-full of nutrients that support your overall health. Mozzarella cheese benefits, in particular, include the following:
Lower in sodium
While sodium is extremely important, especially in low-carb diets, certain individuals may benefit from avoiding too much sodium. This includes those with existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease.
A 1-oz serving of mozzarella cheese contains only 4.48 milligrams of sodium, making it a low-sodium cheese. (For comparison, the same serving of cheddar has 183 mg of sodium, and parmesan has 510 mg of sodium.)
A good source of probiotics
Some cheeses are particularly rich in probiotics, including mozzarella. Research shows that Lactobacillus acidophilus — a common type of probiotic that boosts health — is the most efficient for producing mozzarella cheese [*].
Lactobacillus acidophilus benefits your health by helping with digestion, nutrient absorption, weight loss, and the prevention of the common cold. Want a gut-healthy probiotic snacking cheese? Don’t forget to add mozzarella to your list.
Packed with protein
Even if you’re not on a high-protein diet, mozzarella cheese helps optimize your protein intake. At 7.7 grams of protein in one serving, mozzarella can be used to maintain or build muscle mass without gaining body fat.
Mozzarella is also an excellent choice for nourishing the brain since it’s a complete protein source with all the amino acids needed to create brain neurotransmitters [*].
Potential Risks of Mozzarella Cheese
You know that mozzarella cheese is good for you, but does it have downsides? When it comes to potential risks, it helps to look at mozzarella from a dairy and calorie standpoint. Here’s what we mean by this:
Milk produced by mammals contains a protein called casein, which gives milk its white color. People who develop a negative reaction to mozzarella and other cheeses may be allergic to casein. Allergy symptoms include hives, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
Potential weight gain from excess calories
Mozzarella may be low in carbohydrates, which promotes weight loss, but keep in mind that losing weight can also entail being in a calorie deficit. The “calories in versus calories out” model is said to be oversimplified and misguided — but it’s not wrong to practice it either, especially if it helps with portion control and if you’re not moving a lot.
Below are common questions and answers on mozzarella cheese and health:
Is mozzarella cheese good for weight loss?
Yes, mozzarella cheese supports weight loss by helping you control your carbohydrate intake. The same goes with other low-carb cheeses like cheddar and gouda. A 1-oz serving of mozzarella provides less than 1 gram of carbs, which is extremely low. It’s also full of protein to enhance satiety.
Can I eat mozzarella cheese daily?
Yes! It’s fine to include mozzarella in your daily plan as long as it’s not the only food you’re eating. Additionally, you may want to practice portion control (along with other strategies) if you’re trying to lose weight.
Does mozzarella cheese raise blood sugar?
In a nutshell, no. Mozzarella is allowed for people who are trying to control their blood glucose levels — for instance, individuals with diabetes or prediabetes. It has a low glycemic index, meaning that it does not cause a significant spike in your blood glucose. Try mozzarella as a diabetes-friendly bedtime snack by pairing it with cucumbers and tomatoes.
The Bottom Line
All things considered, mozzarella cheese is a health-promoting food. It’s low-carb, high-protein, and packed with micronutrients and probiotics for a healthier gut. For those who need to be careful about their sodium intake, mozzarella cheese is a wonderful option.
Work this cheese into your diet by adding some to your salads and coating mozzarella with coconut flour and almond flour for keto-friendly cheese sticks!