It’s entirely possible to be able to enjoy success with the keto diet, while still enjoying all of your favorite dairy foods like cheese. As a matter of fact, cheese is indeed an incredibly popular food choice amongst keto dieters. But since there are so many different kinds of cheese, it does raise one rather specific, general question: is cheese keto? Today, we’re going to be taking an in-depth look at a few specific types of cheese to find out.
What Makes Cheese a Popular Choice for Low Carb Diets?
There are a number of reasons why cheese is such a popular choice among people following keto (or similar low carb) diet plans. Here are a few of the most popular reasons:
- Most types of cheese are very low in net carb totals.
- Cheese is an excellent source of both protein and dietary fat.
- Like most dairy products, it’s also an excellent source of calcium.
- Cheese contains trace amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals as well.
- Cheese is an incredibly versatile food (can be used as a topping, to make pizza ‘dough’ with, and as an ingredient in everything from soups to casseroles).
Is Cheese Keto?
Since there’s nothing that technically forbids the consumption of cheese (or any other dairy product for that matter) while on the keto diet, then it’s safe to say that yes, cheese is indeed a 100% keto-friendly food.
That statement comes with a couple of caveats though. There are obviously a ton of different kinds of cheeses out there, and while many of them share similar nutritional profiles, some of then can actually vary by quite a bit.
With that being said, some types of cheese will obviously work better for the keto diet than others. Not to worry though, we’re going to be sharing our top 3 picks for keto-friendly types of cheese below.
The Best Keto-Friendly Cheese Types
Since there are literally dozens upon dozens of different types of cheese, it stands to reason that not all of them were created equally when it comes to being viable for the keto diet.
With that in mind, here are what we consider to be the 7 best types of cheese to include on the keto diet:
- Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese is an excellent cheese for adding to everything from salads to keto pasta dishes.
- Cheddar cheese – Cheddar cheese is a popular keto cheese because it melts but can also be toasted into crisps.
- Mozzarella cheese – Like cheddar cheese, mozzarella melts well and is a favorite for pizza and similar dishes.
- Cream cheese – Cream cheese is popular in keto dishes for adding a subtle hint of creaminess without overpowering the dish.
- Blue cheese – Blue cheese is a rather strong cheese, but it packs a lot of flavor without having to add much to your dish. It’s excellent on salads and on pizzas as well.
- Gouda – Gouda is fantastic when melted, and is great for dipping your keto chips or vegetables into.
- Gruyere – Gruyere is commonly used for cheese fondue, and is quite mild in flavor but has excellent texture.
All three of these types of cheese are low in carbs, provide a good mix of protein and fat, and they all offer quite a distinctive flavor that makes them perfect choices for keto dieters.
Keto-Friendly Cheese Nutrition Facts
Keeping in mind the top 3 varieties of keto-friendly cheese we recommended above, a 100 gram serving size of each type of cheese would break down as follows for it’s nutritional content:
Parmesan cheese (100 grams)
- 431 calories
- 29 grams fat
- 38 grams protein
- 4.1 grams carbs
- 0 grams dietary fiber
- 0.9 grams sugar
- 88 mg cholesterol
- 1529 mg sodium
- 125 mg potassium
Cheddar cheese (100 grams)
- 402 calories
- 33 grams fat
- 25 grams protein
- 1.3 grams carbs
- 0 grams dietary fiber
- 0.5 grams sugar
- 105 mg cholesterol
- 621 mg sodium
- 98 mg potassium
- 300 calories
- 22.4 grams fat
- 22.2 grams protein
- 2.2 grams carbs
- 0 grams dietary fiber
- 1 gram sugar
- 79 mg cholesterol
- 627 mg sodium
- 76 mg potassium
11 Really Good Keto Cheese Recipes
Health Benefits of Cheese
Cheese isn’t just great for the keto diet because of its macro counts and nutritional breakdown. Here are three great health benefits that cheese also offers as well.
- Excellent source of macro and micronutrients. As you can tell from the nutritional breakdowns above, cheese is a rich source of all of the important nutrients that keto dieters are looking for. You’re getting excellent amounts of both protein and dietary fat, along with an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals; all of which work in tandem to keep your body strong and healthy.
- Can provide omega-3 fatty acids. Some cheese products are made from 100% grass-fed cows, which gives them a much higher concentration of both omega-3 fatty acids and disease-fighting antioxidants. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous cardioprotective benefits. (1)
- Protection against illness. Certain types of cheese (cheddar is one type) contain another type of acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This type of fatty acid may help to further protect against heart disease, obesity, and chronic inflammation. (2)
Keto Cheese Alternatives
If you’re trying to keep things dairy-free while following the keto diet, then you can try out the following keto-friendly alternatives for cheese:
- Cashew cheese
- Vegan-friendly cheese brands
- Nutritional yeast
(You may also like: Is Cottage Cheese Keto?)