- Durham OnAir
Today is National Cheese Day, and Cheese is not as unhealthy as you think!
Despite the humble cheese toastie polling as our favourite sandwich,* a new survey undertaken by low-fat, high-protein cheese brand Eatlean (conducted with 2,057 UK adults by YouGov) shows almost a third of us (30%) think of cheese as unhealthy.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital to our wellbeing, says nutritionist and dietician Juliette Kellow, who has teamed up with Eatlean to help banish some popular cheese-based myths this National Cheese Lover’s Day.
“Enjoying food sits at the core of our eating habits, which is why today (Friday 20 January, 2023) should be a celebration of all that is great about cheese,” says Kellow.
She continues: “High protein foods should be enjoyed daily by all of us, regardless of whether we’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or enjoy meat and dairy. Many people demonise cheese as high in calories and saturated fat, forgetting all about the other amazing nutritional benefits. One of the better-known facts is that cheese is naturally high in good-quality protein, making it a great option for people who follow a vegetarian, flexitarian, or mainly plant-based diet this month and throughout 2023.”
With diets being increasingly popular at this time of year, the YouGov survey shows that of those looking to lose weight this January, 50% will be taking a restrictive approach to what they eat.
Kellow says: “This is really worrying. We don’t want people to eliminate foods that are packed with nutrients. By choosing a low fat, high protein cheese, you can still enjoy your favourite food without the higher saturated fat content, too much of which is linked to increased cholesterol levels.”
George Heler, Founder of Eatlean, said: “We’ve produced a delicious cheese with 90% less fat and 40% more protein than cheddar. It’s the perfect swap for your regular cheese if you’re looking to boost your nutrition while still enjoying all your favourite foods.”
He continued: “We’ve been making cheese on the same farm in Cheshire for three generations, so know a thing or two about making the British food staple. We produce Eatlean, the leading low fat, high protein variant, in the exact same way that we make all of our cheeses, and don’t add anything else. After years of top-secret development to ensure it offered the same flavour, texture and melt as full fat cheese, we launched it in 2016 and have been proudly making it ever since.”
So, want to know why a top nutritionist says cheese can actually be good for you? Read on to hear Kellow bust the top five myths surrounding eating cheese.
Myth 1: You should ditch cheese if you want to lose weight
Because cheese tends to be quite high in calories, many people think they need to limit or avoid it if they want to lose weight. But cheese is a nutrient-rich food. This means these calories are naturally packaged with an array of other nutrients, including protein for building and maintaining muscle mass, calcium and phosphorus for maintaining normal bones, and vitamin B12, which contributes to the normal functioning of our immune system. If weight loss is a goal, swapping regular cheddar for a reduced-fat or low-fat cheese can help to reduce calories, whilst still providing all the protein and most vitamins and minerals of regular cheese – and sometimes even a little more. Plus, it means you won’t miss out on taste!
Per 30g serving
Regular Cheddar Cheese 125kcal, 7.6g protein, 222mg calcium
Eatlean Cheese 51kcal, 11.1g protein, 298mg calcium
Myth 2: Cheese must be avoided if you need a lactose-free diet
Dairy products are often considered off limits for anyone with lactose intolerance. However, hard cheeses such as cheddar contain very little, if any, lactose so can be enjoyed by most people with lactose intolerance.
Eatlean Cheese is lactose free.
Myth 3: Eating cheese in the evening gives you nightmares
There’s no robust scientific evidence to suggest that cheese causes nightmares. In fact, dairy products may aid sleep. A review of studies, published in December 2020, concluded that a well-balanced diet that includes milk and dairy products is effective in improving sleep quality.
Myth 4: All cheese is packed with fat
Different varieties and types of cheese contain different amounts of fat. There are also a wide range of reduced-fat and low-fat cheeses available, which provide an excellent alternative to regular cheeses if cutting down on fat, and especially saturated fat, is a priority. Health guidelines recommend a maximum of 70g fat and 20g saturated fat a day. This is known as the Reference Intake or RI. The nutrition panel on food labels can help identify how much fat, and saturated fat there is in a product. As a guideline, a food with 3g or less of fat in 100g is low in fat. A food with 1.5g or less of saturated fat in 100g is low in saturated fat.
Eatlean Cheese is low in fat and saturated fat
Per 30g serving
Regular Cheddar Cheese 10.5g fat (15% RI), 6.5g saturates fat (33% RI)
Eatlean Cheese 0.9g fat (1% RI), 0.4g saturated fat (2% RI)
Myth 5: Plant-based cheese alternatives are healthier
It’s important to move away from the concept of good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, foods. Instead, it’s more important to think about the overall quality and balance of our diet. Both cheese and dairy-free alternatives to cheese can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. To help you identify what best fits your diet preferences, check food labels – both the ingredients list and the nutrition panel. Many plant-based cheese alternatives are made using coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat. This means compared with regular cheddar cheese, many plant-based cheese alternatives often contain similar amounts of both total fat and saturated fat – and sometimes even more. At the same time, they may be much lower in protein and calcium (unless fortified with the latter). If you’re looking to reduce calories, fat and/or saturated fat, whilst still getting plenty of good quality protein and calcium, opting for a reduced-fat or low-fat cheese provides a great solution.
PIZZA CHEESE TOASTIE RECIPE
Short on time and in need of some warming comfort food that’s packed with protein, whilst still low in fat, then try this quick, easy and scrummy pizza cheese toastie recipe today:
· 2 slices bread
· Eatlean Grated Cheese
· 1 teaspoon Tomato Puree
- Fresh/dried basil/oregano
- Salad to serve
1. Heat a frying pan or toastie maker to a medium heat
2. Spread the bread lightly with a low fat spread
3. Turn the slices over and top one with tomato puree, followed by the Eatlean Grated cheese, and the basil/oregano
4. Place the second slice on top, buttered side up, and transfer to your pan/toastie maker
5. Cook until the cheese has fully melted, then serve hot, with a side salad.