Is cheese keto? Find out the answers to all your cheesy keto questions including the macros, the flavors, which cheese is lowest carb and which cheese is the most keto friendly.
How many carbs are in cheese?
Full fat cheeses will always have a certain level of carbohydrates and are generally considered to be low-carb food. Some cheeses, such as highly processed cheese contain flavor enhancers and added sugars.
Why is Cheese a Great Keto food?
The energy intake of a ketogenic diet consists mainly of high quality fats aiming for 70 to 80 percent. In most cases, cheese is a great keto food is consider as it is high in fat and protein, low in carbs, and can add flavor and texture to any meal plan.
Plus, there are so many different types of cheese to choose from! Just be sure to stick with full-fat cheeses and watch your portion sizes. In addition, some cheeses like camembert cheese and blue cheese can also provide a good source of calcium.
One weight loss a study, which followed more than 2,500 men over a ten year period suggested that BMI did not increase with the consumption of cheese. Indeed, the study suggested that cheese consumption had the beneficial effects of lowering BMI. For keto dieters, eating keto friendly cheese may help with weight loss or weight management.
There are a number of possible reasons for this given that cheese are naturally rich in protein and essential micronutrients, including calcium, potassium and Vitamin A – essential for a healthy diet.
Health Benefits of eating Cheese
Eating cheese in moderation can provide a range of health benefits. It is a good source of calcium, which is important for bone and dental health. Cheese from grass fed cows also contains beneficial higher levels of unsaturated fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid a fatty acids that may help to improve cholesterol levels.
Additionally, certain types of cheese from grass-grazed cows like Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, Blue cheese, Provolone and Mozzarella cheese have been shown to have potential anti-cancer properties. In addition they are abundant in the form of bioactive peptides that have can play multi-beneficial effects such as:
- Anti-hypertensive effects
However, it is important to note that cheese can also be high in saturated fat and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
What to look for in a Keto friendly cheese
As a general rule, soft cheeses may be less keto friendly than hard cheeses as they are high in lactose, a naturally occurring sugar. This is a key reason why some people avoid milk on keto, too. Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are some examples for soft cheese. They can still be used on a keto diet, but eat them alongside foods with more protein and fat to balance your macros.
Best Keto Cheeses List: Top Keto Cheeses for a Ketogenic diet
Is Mozzarella Cheese keto?
Soft and creamy, moist mozzarella is commonly used for melting cheese on pizzas or sandwiches. Try it on your favorite keto base or cauliflower pizza base. It also adds a tasty touch to salads or as a topping on low-carb vegetable dishes.
One cup of Mozzarella cheese (86 grams/3 oz) contains:
- 257 calories
- 17 grams of fat,
- 20 grams of protein,
- less than 4 grams of carbs per serving.
Is Cheddar cheese keto?
This sharp and tangy cheese adds flavor to burgers, casseroles, and omelets. It can also be enjoyed as a tasty snack on its own.
There are many different types of cheddar cheese, from smoked to low fat cheddar.
A serving of cheddar cheese (28 grams/1 oz) contains;
- 114 calories
- 6 grams of fat,
- 7 grams of protein,
- less than 1g of carbs per serving.
Cheddar cheese is a versatile cheese perfect for adding to salads, topping low carb burgers and sandwiches, or as a snack with some nuts. Remember to always choose full fat varieties and watch your serving sizes when including cheddar on your keto diet plan.
is Parmesan cheese keto?
Grated parmesan adds flavor to soups, salads, and pasta dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs in low-carb recipes.
The great thing about this cheese is that you don’t need a lot of it to make the meal super yummy.
Under USDA 100 grams of Parmesan cheese contains:
- 431 calories with 29 grams of fat,
- 7 grams of protein, and
- Less than 4 grams of carbs per serving.
Is Colby Cheese keto?
This soft creamy cheese is delicious on low-carb crackers or added to salads. Colby Cheese can also be baked for a gooey and decadent treat.
Under USDA a typical serving of Colby Cheese (28 grams/ 1 oz) contains;
- 461 calories
- 9 grams of fat,
- 7 grams of protein, and
- Less than 1 gram of carbs per serving.
Is Feta Cheese Keto?
Feta cheese is a salty, crumbly delicious cheese option that can add some flavor to salads or be used as a topping on low-carb vegetable dishes. It adds a Mediterranean flair to salads, omelets, and vegetable dishes. It is also delicious as part of a cheese board with some olives and low-carb crackers.
A serving of feta cheese (28 grams) contains:
- 75 calories with 6 grams of fat
- 4 grams of protein
- 1 gram of carbs per serving.
Is Blue cheese keto?
Creamy and strong in flavor, blue cheese can be crumbled on salads or added to your favorite keto burgers for a burst of taste. It also goes well with in salads with low-carb fruits such as rocket and strawberries.
Under USDA a serving portion (28 grams/1 oz) of blue cheese contains:
- 100 calories,
- 8g of fat,
- 1 grams of carbs,
- 6 grams of protein.
Any easy to include blue cheese by incorporating blue cheese into a salad dressing. Below is a simple recipe that add to a keto diet.
Blue vein cheese dressing
There are many varieties of blue cheese to choose from. Chose one with a sharp flavor to enhance the taste of your dressing. Blue cheese dressing is one of the best salad dressing for keto dieters.
Ingredients for keto blue vein cheese dressing:
- ½ cup egg mayonnaise
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions for keto blue vein cheese dressing
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined.
Serve with salads or as a dip
This is such a great keto cheese hit.
Is Cream Cheese keto friendly?
Cream cheese is excellent for a person on a keto diet. It’s high in fat and low in carbs, making it a great choice for spreading on low-carb bread, seed crackers or adding to recipes. It also adds creaminess to dishes without the need for added dairy products like heavy cream. Be sure to check the ingredients list for added sugars.
Under USDA, a serving of (14.5 grams) of cream cheese contains:
- 49 calories with 5 grams of fat
- 0.9 grams of protein,
- 0.6 grams of carbs per serving.
Just be sure to stick with full-fat varieties and watch your portion sizes.
Gouda is a semi-hard cheese and has a caramel-like aromatic flavor. A typical serving of Gouda Cheese (28 grams) contains:
- 100 calories
- 7 grams of fat
- Moderate protein of 7 grams.
- 1 grams of carbs per serving.
Delicious sliced on low carb sandwiches or wraps – Grate over casseroles or roasted vegetables for added flavor – Enjoy as a snack with some nuts and low carb fruits Remember to always check the nutrition label to ensure it is a full-fat variety and watch your portion sizes. Enjoy!
Goat cheese is a semi soft cheese and is a great option for those following a ketogenic diet. It’s high in fat goat cheese is low in carbs per serving, making it a perfect addition to salads or as a spread on low carb bread or crackers.
A serving of goat cheese (28 grams/1 oz) contains:
- 75 calories
- 8.5 grams of fat,
- 4 grams of protein,
- Less than 1g of carbs per serving.
Goats were among the first animals to be domesticated for producing food. Goat cheese is made around the world with a variety of recipes, giving many different styles of goat cheese, from fresh and soft to aged and hard. Goat cheese is a great addition for the keto dieters.
Havarti or cream Havarti is a semi soft cheese of Danish origin. A serving of Cream Havarti (28 grams/1 oz) contains
- 110 calories with 10 grams of fat
- 6 grams of protein
- Less than 1g of carbs per serving.
Its creamy texture makes it delicious on low carb crackers or as a spread for sandwiches.
Worst Cheese on Keto?
It really depends on the individual and their specific dietary needs and restrictions, but some cheeses that may not be as keto-friendly are processed cheeses such as American cheese, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.
WHat is American cheese?
This cheese is one that must be avoided, the same goes for canned or spray cheese. This due to the higher carb content and the highly processed nature that comes with making these types of cheeses . Indeed, the FDA calls it “pasteurized processed American cheese food.” In order for a food product to be a true “cheese”, it has to be more than half cheese, which is technically pressed curds of milk. If the cheese is found less than 51% curds, which means it will not meet the FDA’s standard what constitutes.
Is American cheese keto?
American cheese is probably the worst for the keto dieter. Under USDA a serving portion (28 grams/1 oz) of American cheese contains:
- 105 calories,
- 8 grams of fat,
- 1 grams of carbs,
- 5 grams of protein.
But more importantly it is processed and packed full of artificial colors and preservatives and other unhealthy chemicals. Keto eaters are best to avoid this type of cheese.
Is Ricotta cheese keto?
This cheese, in small quantities, can be used while on a keto diet. In comparison to other keto cheeses, Ricotta is higher in carbs. Once in a while Ricotta could be used to bring variety to your keto diet. As per the USDA, a ½-cup serving of ricotta will contain:
- 204 calories
- 14 g of fat,
- 9 g of carbs per serving,
- and 10 g of protein.
In terms of percentages, Ricotta cheese, has fat 42%, moderate protein 30% and carbohydrates 28%.
Is cottage cheese keto friendly?
Cottage cheese is higher in protein but is lower in fat and higher in net carbs than some other cheeses. You can definitely fit cottage cheese into your ketogenic diet as long as you select plain (unflavored) and full-fat versions.
Try eating cottage cheese with seed crackers and avocado.
Cottage cheese should be avoided for the keto dieter as it has a higher carb content. Under USDA 100 grams of Cottage cheese contains:
- 98 calories,
- grams of fat,
- 3 grams of carbs,
- 2.6 grams of sugar
- 11.1 grams of protein.
Avoid low-fat cheese on a keto diet as these cheeses usually have added fillers or sugars to make up for the lack of fat. Stick with full-fat varieties for optimal keto success as also have micro-nutrients that will contribute to a healthy microbiome and gut health.
Anything with labels as ‘low-fat’ should always be scrutinized carefully before consuming including the following:
- Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
- Low-Fat Feta
- Low-Fat Mozzarella
- Low fat cheddar
Is Cheese keto?: The Takeaway
Is cheese keto? Yes, you can eat cheese as long as it is full fat cheese and consumed in moderation and fits within your daily macro goals. Full fat cheeses are an excellent addition to the keto diet.
As always, remember not all cheeses are good for a keto diet. It is important to check nutrition labels and ingredients lists for added fillers or sugars. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any dietary changes.
As always, with a keto diet, if you are wanting to ensure you maintain gut health and healthy gut bacteria, make sure to include a variety of low-carb containing fruit and vegetables.
Happy cheese eating!
More KETO DIET INFO
Beginners Guide to Keto: Cut the Carbs
Is Greek Yogurt Keto? How Many Carbs are in Greek Yogurt?
What is keto coffee? | Low-carb coffee + extra fat
Rafiq, S., Gulzar, N., Sameen, A., Huma, N., Hayat, I. and Ijaz, R. (2021), Functional role of bioactive peptides with special reference to cheeses. Int. J. Dairy Technol., 74: 1-16.
Corazzin M, Romanzin A, Sepulcri A, Pinosa M, Piasentier E, Bovolenta S. Fatty Acid Profiles of Cow’s Milk and Cheese as Affected by Mountain Pasture Type and Concentrate Supplementation. Animals (Basel). 2019 Feb 22;9(2):68.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov. Accessed 10/28/22.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before making any dietary changes.
Last updated 10/28/22 By Dr Tane Brunt