Which Type of Cheese is Right for You?

by Erin Brown

There are more than 300 different cheeses in the U.S. Which type of cheese is right for you? The National Dairy Council recommends these cheeses if you are:

Watching the amount of fat in your diet?
Cheeses like Parmesan, Romano (grated) or part-skim mozzarella are naturally lower in fat. Also try lowfat options of cottage, ricotta, cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, colby, muenster, provolone, Mexican blend or American (process). Food for thought: scientists from Harvard have identified a component in dairy fat that may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Looking for the perfect cheese to have with wine?
Whether you prefer cheddar or camembert, gouda or gruyere, Swiss or Brie – wine is the perfect partner for the cheeses you love. Use this guide to find the right companion for your favorite cheeses.

Lactose intolerant?
For those with lactose intolerance, cheese can be an important source of calcium. Natural cheeses like Cheddar, Monterey jack, mozzarella and Swiss contain minimal amounts of lactose because most of the lactose is removed when the curds are separated from the whey in the cheese making process.

Eating gluten-free?
Good news — most dairy foods are naturally gluten free! Natural cheeses are gluten-free and in the case of cheeses that have added flavors or are processed, check the food label’s ingredient list to make sure ingredients sourced from wheat, barley or rye aren’t added.

Looking for more protein?
Swiss, cottage, ricotta, mozzarella, Monterey jack, cheddar, gouda, colby, port de salut, provolone, Mexican blend or muenster are all high in protein. Cheeses like these contribute high-quality protein as well as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A to the American diet.

Trying to lower your sodium intake?
Choose cheese based on firmness and age. In general, softer, less-aged cheeses require less salt than harder, aged cheeses. Salt is a vital part of the cheese making process, as it controls moisture, texture, taste, functionality and food safety. So, salt cannot be completely eliminated, but cheeses like Swiss, Monterey Jack, ricotta or Parmesan are naturally lower in sodium.

Trying to get your recommended three daily servings of dairy?
A serving size of cheese is about 4 dice-sized cubes — 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese to be exact. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating three daily servings of dairy foods help to improve your overall diet, get more nutrients and improve bone health.

Erin Brown

Erin is the Communication Manager for the American Dairy Association Mideast and a Jersey cow enthusiast. When Erin's not at the office or working on her parent's dairy farm in southeastern Ohio, you'll find her hanging out with her husband, a large animal vet, and their Australian Shepherd puppy.


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