SOURCE OF PROTEIN AND CALCIUM
Unless you are vegan, you probably consume dairy products on a daily basis. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, they are all delicious and have their health benefits. However dairy food is also a source of sodium and it’s highly inflammatory so it’s best to be consumed in a balanced way. Dairy products and eggs are also a source of protein and other nutritional vitamins. Here is some useful information about the fat values in the different kinds of cheese and how to spot the unhealthy yoghurt on the shelves of your store. For milk itself we have a lot to talk about so I have created a separate guide for it.
WHY CHOOSE ORGANIC DAIRY PRODUCTS?
- Animals from organic farms produce much more nutritional milk.
- Organic animals are fed organically without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or fed with animal by-products and pesticides.
- Organic animals produce “cleaner” milk, so you avoid any chemicals that can be absorbed by your body.
It may not be easy to find organic varieties of cheese but aim to buy when possible and affordable. Further below are some links to organic dairy products.
The variety of cheese is so large that it is not possible to list them all! Cheese is rich in protein and calcium and very tasty! Unfortunately it is high in salt but the different types of cheese have different nutritional values and some have less fat and salt than others.
WHO SAID LOW FAT CHEESE?
Supermarkets usually have a range of low fat cheddar which has 30% or even 50% less fat but the truth is these low fat versions are not necessary healthier. Yes, they contain less fat but if fat was extracted, the food has undergone even more processing so you end up losing nutritional value from the fatty cells. I think a lot of people are starting to realise that the “low fat” craziness is proving to just be a myth. Many experts argue that saturated fat is falsely being linked to heart diseases and full fat dairy is good for you. An example is the Mediterranean diet, south Europeans eat daily full fat mozzarella, feta and other kinds of cheese and yet the majority is healthier than the Americans. Full fat cheese is more natural and it actually tastes better. Some may find this confusing at first but think about it, has anyone lost weight because of eating low fat cheese? As long as you eat it in moderation then full fat cheese should not be a problem for you, enjoy it, it’s delicious!
If you are watching your fat intake
Choose a type of cheese that is by itself lower in fat like Mozzarella, Brie and Camembert instead of low fat Cheddar. .
If you are watching your salt intake
Choose Mozzarella and Emmental. In general choose mild cheeses as the more mature the cheese, the higher the salt content.
If you are looking for more protein
Choose Parmesan and Emmental as they have higher protein levels.
WHICH KINDS OF CHEESE ARE LOWER IN FAT AND SALT?
So instead of buying the highly processed low fat cheese, just choose other kinds of cheese when you want low-fat. See the below table for information on the main nutritional values in the different kinds of cheese.
The above nutritional information is for guidance only and can vary depending on the age and brand of the cheese. Always read the label of the product.
What’s in our stores?
Unfortunately going organic with cheese is difficult. Although most retailers offer organic cheddar choices, they are often in very small packages and cost more.
Sainsbury’s Mild Cheddar, So Organic 270g
Tesco Organic Medium White Cheddar 180G
You can also find a great selection of organic cheese online from Abel & Cole
CREAM CHEESE SPREADS
Cream cheese is something we often eat as it is an easy base for a sandwich, nobody likes a dry sandwich so adding cream cheese or other spreads, makes it tastier. We often think of cream cheese as just soft cheese but in reality most cheese spreads have many other additives and preservatives to add texture and make it creamy.
There are many popular “low fat but creamy” brands as well, manufacturers reduce fat in their products and label it ‘low fat’ to deceive the consumer that this is a healthy spread. If you read the ingredients list on most products, you will see that there is much more to it than just low fat cheese. Look for products that contain milk only and nothing else, usually the supermarket’s own brand cheeses are clean. In general we should stay away from cream cheese as it is highly processed cheese but it’s difficult to completely avoid it as it is easy and delicious.
What’s in our stores?
Sainsbury’s Soft Cheese, So Organic 250g
Yoghurt is amazing as we can have it in so many ways and it is a naturally healthy dairy product! We have it for breakfast, in our smoothie or add it as a key ingredient to a recipe. The variety of yoghurt and ‘pot desserts’ out there is enormous so you have to carefully examine your options. If you want to eat real yoghurt, there is only one easy rule – always buy the simple natural yoghurt that has no added flavours and sugar.
So why is yoghurt good?
Unlike milk, yoghurt is easier to digest because of its culturing process. The main benefit is that it has live “probiotics”, which are different friendly bacteria that can help deactivate harmful substances in your body, although there isn’t enough evidence to confirm this for sure. Yoghurt is also rich in calcium and protein.
Can yoghurt cause weight gain?
Most of the fat in yoghurt is saturated but it also has healthy fats that should be part of a balanced diet. If you are concerned with weight gain, don’t worry too much about the fat in yoghurt as it is unlikely to affect your weight if you are eating it moderately. The creamy, sour taste of yoghurt is the best part of it so feel free to enjoy a proper probiotic pot. Truth is 0% fat yoghurt really doesn’t taste the same
What’s in our stores?
Yeo Valley Natural Yogurt 500G
Sainsbury’s Low Fat Natural Yogurt , SO Organic 500g – It’s skimmed but it’s organic.
Eggs are rich in protein and only one boiled egg gives you 26% of your recommended daily value of protein. They are also rich in vitamin B2, B12 and D. Most of us have them for breakfast or lunch but unfortunately many people add too much extra fat when cooking them. When you prepare your eggs, make you sure you are not adding huge amounts of oil. The healthiest option is to boil them but if you want them fried, add just a bit of olive oil in the pan and make sure you don’t have any meat in the pan as it releases fat as well.
Eggs and cholesterol explained
Let’s talk a little bit about cholesterol. Eggs are very, very high in cholesterol and in particular the egg yolks, that’s why a lot of people eat ‘white’ eggs. There is a popular understanding that if you eat eggs too often your cholesterol levels will raise and this is associated with heart diseases.
However many studies suggest that most people’s cholesterol levels are not affected by whole eggs even if eaten daily. Only diabetics and a few individuals from those observations appear to have their cholesterol levels affected. This can be explained with the fact that our body produces cholesterol daily but it also has the ability to adjust the amount of cholesterol it produces if your food has supplied you with it.
So in simple terms if you have eaten two eggs today than your body is going to produce less cholesterol. All different types of foods need to be eaten in moderation and that applies to eggs too but if you happen to eat a few more than usual, you shouldn’t worry about your cholesterol unless you are a diabetic. If you want to read more about eggs and cholesterol, have a look at this very informative post from Authority Nutrition.