Asking can you eat cheese on keto is like asking if the sky is blue.
Ok, so maybe it’s dark and gloomy when you look out your window (whenever you happen to be reading this) but you get the picture.
Cheese is a staple in mine and many others keto diets. Not only is cheese tasty on its own, but you can practically top anything with cheese to enhance the flavor. The way I like to use cheese is slathering it on my keto pizza, cauliflower nachos, or even as a side dish on its own.
And that’s not all, not only does cheese just taste good, it’s a nutrient powerhouse with many benefits, few drawbacks, and easily accessible. So sit back and let’s go over how cheese can benefit your diet, some things you want to be mindful of, and the best cheeses to consume.
Can you eat cheese on keto?
Cheese is perfectly acceptable on a keto diet. Not only are most cheeses low carbohydrate, but they are packed with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2. Cheese is also rich in calcium and protein making it a great fit for those living a ketogenic lifestyle.
Time to go over the good and the bad to finally settle the question of can you eat cheese on keto or not.
What is cheese?
If you don’t know what cheese is, you’re living under a rock!
But I imagine you know since you’ve found your way here and wondering if you can eat cheese on keto. That said, cheese is made by curdling milk, much like the process of producing yogurt where the solid (fat and protein) is split from the liquid (whey and water).
Soft cheeses have not been aged as long as hard cheeses, and for the most part hard cheeses will contain fewer carbohydrates than soft cheeses.
Benefits of cheese on keto
Besides being super tasty by itself or on top of anything, cheese has health benefits.
Rich in calcium
Cheese is rich in calcium, a one ounce serving on average will provide you with nearly 200 milligrams. We often forget calcium with keto electrolytes that people concern themselves with.
A diet rich in calcium helps ensure you’ll have strong, healthy bones. This is very important, especially for females, who are more susceptible to osteoporosis 1 as we age.
Great source of protein
On average, per one ounce of cheese will net you with ~7 grams of protein. This is the equivalent to what you would find in any other protein source such as chicken, fish, beef, etc.
Be mindful of cheeses fat content since most are also high in fat and calories unless opting for a lower fat cheese.
Packed with nutrients
Cheese is packed with many nutrients including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2.
Not only that, but they contain “healthy fats” such as EPA and DHA, even more in cheese that came from grass-fed milk
Most people associate yogurt with having a good dose of probiotics, but cheese to contains a good dose of these “good” bacteria.
While still being researched and a relatively new field of study, maintaining gut health is paramount for better overall health. It’s not just about what you eat, but what you eat AND can absorb.
The top 3 drawbacks to cheese on keto
While there are tons of benefits to eating cheese on your keto diet, there can be some drawbacks. Here are three things you want to watch out for when including cheese on your keto journey.
Not all cheeses are created equal. Many kinds of cheese that you might be used to growing up are full of additives and starches. I’m talking about the cheese you might find wrapped perfectly in individual little squares or shredded in a bag.I’m not saying you can’t eat these, but be mindful of any extra ingredients thrown in. The most important aspect for remaining in ketosis is that you keep carbs low.
While you can still enjoy these cheeses, make sure the cheese you choose isn’t high in carbs because of added sugars or they can quickly add up and knock you out ketosis.
Easy to overeat
While you may have heard some mumbo jumbo about calories not mattering on a ketogenic diet, that is false, because they absolutely matter. So, if you are eating copious amounts of cheese you might end up wondering why you’re not losing weight on keto.
Cheese is one of those foods like nuts that are calorie dense. Super tasty calorie-dense foods like cheese and nuts are easy to over-consume, so be cautious when including these types of foods in your diet.
Sometimes we expose ourselves to things we know aren’t good for us. I’m sure we all have that friend who is lactose intolerant but loves ice cream. While cheese isn’t high in lactose, certain individuals don’t respond well to casein protein, the protein found in cheese.
And like I said, cheese isn’t “high” in lactose, so there is some. Usually, the more aged cheese is the less lactose and carbohydrates there is.
The best cheese on keto
Certain cheeses are better than others in terms of health benefits and even carb count. Here are two categories of cheeses to steer towards for additional nutrition and fewer carbohydrates per serving.
Grass-fed cheeses are richer in many vitamins including B and fat-soluble vitamins. Grass-fed cheese is also high in “healthy fats” like omega-3’s and CLA. I’m sure you know that omega-3’s is good for you, but few people have heard about CLA.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a fat that has been shown to have a wide variety of health benefits, improved blood sugar regulation, and reduced body fat are two of the key ones you might be interested in.
If you look at the nutrition facts on cheese and navigate to the carbohydrate line, you’ll see many kinds of cheese contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Basically, all the sugar that’s in the cheese is in the form of lactose, so if it says 2g it has 2 grams of lactose per serving.
Natural and aged cheeses, such as cheddar or parmesan, will contain less lactose and thus less carbohydrates. If you’re looking to keep it as low carb as possible, then stick to aged cheeses, the more aged the better.
Keto cheese cheat sheet
There are few carbs in cheese making it a perfect fit for your keto diet. However, some cheeses contain a lower carb content than others.
The carb content in the below cheeses is per 1 oz serving.
The lowest carb keto-friendly cheeses are:
|Goat cheese||1 oz.||0.1g|
|Blue cheese||1 oz.||0.7g|
Some of my favorite keto cheese snacks
How to make keto cheese chips
If you’re a DIY person and rather make things from scratch wondering how to make keto cheese chips, then here are my top 3 favorite cheese crisp recipes I’ve tried.
- Basic Keto Cheese Crisps – Allrecipes
- Keto Cheese Crisps (Chips) – My Keto Kitchen
- Baked Cheddar Parmesan Crisps Recipe – Wholesome Yum
How much cheese on keto
Since there is no general rule of thumb on how much cheese on keto is acceptable, it comes down to how much you want to fit in your daily intake. Everyone is different and some people like more cheese than others.
If you can fit it within your daily caloric allotment and macros, then go right ahead.
Don’t know how to calculate your calories or macros? Try using my keto macro calculator to get a starting point based on your body and lifestyle factors.
Just remember, you can’t have an unlimited amount of cheese just because it’s “keto-friendly.” Cheese is caloric dense, and a little goes a long way. If you eat too much and weight loss is your goal, you may find yourself in a plateau or even worse… gaining weight.
Can you eat cheese on keto closing thoughts
Whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain, you can most certainly fit cheese into a well-balanced ketogenic diet. Not only is cheese tasty, but it’s packed with nutrition.
Think of cheese as a flavor enhancer rather than the main part of a meal. Or perhaps… enjoy a few small slices of cheese with a glass of wine to stay keto while out a cocktail party.
Either way, you may have cheese on keto as long as you’re mindful of not eating so much cheese you sabotage your weight loss efforts.
What’s your favorite kind of cheese?