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Must Know about Keto Diet & Cheese: The Best and Worst
The ketogenic or keto diet has become very popular for its effects on weight loss and blood sugar control. The diet should be short-term or need-based and constantly supervised by dieticians or doctors.
The diet focuses on high-fat, medium-protein, and low-carb eating patterns. Carbs are ideally limited to between 20- 50 grams, i.e., 5% carbs, alongside 75% fat and 20% protein content in the standard version. Protein levels may be raised to about 35% in a high-protein version, whereas carbs may increase during workout days. The cyclical version permits two highcarbohydrate days in a week after five consecutive high-fat days.
This diet prompts the body's metabolism into ketosis, which converts fats into fuel/energy rather than using carbohydrates. The breakdown of fats generates ketones in the liver, which provide energy for the body and brain. The calories burned to convert fat into energy are much higher than what is used for carbohydrate conversion; higher calorie burn translates to quicker and more significant weight loss. Fats are preferred over proteins because high levelsof the latter generate more glucose.
Intermittent fasting combined with keto-diets has shown promise in weight loss, but medical practitioners must strictly monitor such combinations to prevent adverse side effects.
What is Keto Diet?
The keto diet mainly comprises animal proteins, i.e., poultry, beef, seafood, and eggs. It also utilizes dairy products and equivalents- the best options being cheese, yogurt, and plantbased milk. Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, i.e., other than roots like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and squash, are avoided because of their high-carb content. Nuts like walnuts, macadamias, pecans, and Brazil nuts are great in moderation. Fruits are avoided due to their high glycaemic index, but berries are all right occasionally. Use healthy oils like olive oils and clarified butter that up your fat intake.
Those on a keto diet usually count overall carb intake, mainly after deducting the fiber portion, which is indigestible and doesn't contribute calories.
What is Cheese?
Cheese ticks all the boxes for a keto diet – they are high in fats, have average protein content, and have minimal carbs. Moderate levels of cheese are healthy - the saturated fats do not negatively impact heart health or cause strokes. But this is true only when eaten in limited amounts; uncontrolled eating can cause diseases rather than make you healthier. People with lactose intolerance may tolerate cheese better than other milk products since it has a lower lactose content and can be incorporated into their diet. But even so, the types and quantities of cheese need to be regulated to abide by the macros. Cheese is only one keto diet component, so it must be thoughtfully incorporated for maximum benefit.
Here is a list of the best and worst cheeses to use in a keto diet −
All values are per 100 grams or ½ a cup of cheese
Cheddar Cheese − One slice has 7g of fat, 5g of protein, and only 0.4g of carbs.
Gouda − contains 7g of fat, about 5g of protein, and < 1g of carbs. Goat's milk gouda has zero carbs plus some Vitamin A.
Blue cheese − Weighing in at 8g of fat, 6g of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates, this stinky cheese is undoubtedly having a cultivated taste but great to crumble over salads.
Goat's cheese − With zero carbs, 8g of fat, and 6g of protein, this cheese works well for a strict keto diet. It is also easily digested, giving a lower lactose content.
Cream Cheese − This is probably the most suitable cheese for keto. It has 35g of fats, only 7g of protein, and 1g of carbs, plus vitamins A and B2 and micronutrients like selenium.
Other low-carb cheeses include Camembert, Brie, Halloumi, Manchego, Gruyere, and Monterey or Pepper Jack. But these could be pricey and not suited to everyone's palate. Similarly, cheese crisps work on the fat and carb fronts, but the protein content is equivalent to fat which doesn't work in the standard version.
Those who cannot have cheese due to lactose intolerance can try nut cheeses, e.g., almond or cashew cheese. Those following this diet should limit cheese intake to 2-3 ounces per meal and snack.
Ricotta − this creamy, light cheese has 14g of fat and 10g of protein, but it also has a whopping 9g of carbs. It has to be eaten in minimal quantities to prevent the highcarb quotient from throwing off your macros. The same holds for creamy ricotta too.
Cottage cheese − this cheese has a very low-fat content at 5g, an equivalent of 5g of carbs, and 14g of protein. It isn't suitable for keto macros, so you should avoid it.
Processed cheeses − commercial cheeses like spray cheese or American cheese with added salt, sugar, preservatives, and emulsifiers aren't preferable. They are poor quality- containing surprisingly low amounts of actual cheese. The high calories and lack of nutrients, fillers, and oils cause inflammation and hypertension.
Low-fat cheese − the undesirability of this cheese is self-explanatory. With minimal fats, it doesn't fit into a keto diet.
Avoid Romano, provolone, paneer, mozzarella, feta, and parmesan cheeses. These have high carbs, between 2.5 to 3.5 grams which are too high for this diet. Parmesan has high protein that could interrupt the weight loss process unless you're on a high-protein rotation, and you will need to increase fat intake from other sources to keep your macros stable.
Cheese is a beneficial component of the keto diet when balanced and in keeping with your macro needs. The keto diet can positively impact heart health and PCOS symptoms and even reduce insulin resistance for people with diabetes. It may even be helpful for the treatment of epilepsy and for protecting neural and cognitive function. So, if you enjoy a diet that encourages cheese, go right ahead! But control your intake and remind yourself of the larger goal.
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