Light cheeses

Cheeses and fats

There are different types of cheeses on the market. In the country above all, the dairy mapping is fantastic: from north to south you can find endless examples of cheeses: cow's, goat's, sheep's, buffalo's, soft and fresh or aged, tasty or delicate. From Castelmagno to burrata, cheeses have a bad name: they put on pounds because they contain a high percentage of fat.

But is it really so? What can be done to remedy this problem? Can the so-called “light” cheeses really help?

First of all, it must be said that cheeses are normally divided into three categories, based on the percentage of fat they contain: i fatty cheeses they are those that have a quantity of fatty substance higher than 42%; the semi-fat cheeses are those that have a fatty substance between 20% and 42%; while they are defined thin those cheeses that have a percentage of fat less than 20%.

Among the cheeses taken as they are, the leanest and therefore less dangerous for diet and health are: the cow ricotta, with 146 Kcal per 100 grams; the quartirolo typical Lombard, also called chalk-cheese due to its particular consistency, the Feta, the traditional Greek cheese, which has 250 Kcal per 100 grams, the classic parmesan or the cow's milk mozzarella, with 253 Kcal per 100 grams. If you want to be even more precise, you can also see the complete list and the cheese-cholesterol ratio on the Cheese Portal.

Why can a cheese hurt us? We must not forget that cheese fat is not a good fat, quite the contrary. Contrary to the polyunsaturated omega-3 contained in fish, with its antioxidant and cardioprotective power, the fat in the cheese is saturated, therefore dangerous for the cardiovascular system, a dear friend of cholesterol. But eliminating cheese from the table is wrong, as cheese is also a valuable source of protein, minerals and calcium.


Light cheeses, a myth to dispel

And if we consider “light” cheeses? That of light cheeses, often mistakenly considered more than lean, is above all a myth to dispel: considering that most cheeses contain a rather high amount of fat (from 15 to 60%) and that the reduction that is made by removing cheese fats of a certain percentage (let's even 40%), making the lean version of a normal cheese, will always have a high quantity of fats, unless you choose to consume ricotta, feta, quartirolo in the light version. Furthermore, some studies show that if you think that a product is "light", you are psychologically led to consume a greater quantity, thus ending up taking rich doses of the product, contrary to what you would do with the normal version.

The doctor Claudia Conti reports of interesting Australian dairy research. For this research, a group of kids abandoned whole milk products for a while. At the end of the trial, neither weight nor BMI appear to have undergone significant changes. As the doctor herself writes on her website, the mechanism of light products can even have the opposite effect: defatted and skimmed dairy products give a lower sense of satiety, therefore they make you feel hungry earlier than whole dairy products.

In conclusion, those with weight problems should try to limit the consumption of cheeses, without necessarily eating only the light or lean ones, but generally decreasing the doses, above all, avoiding combining them with other main courses, such as meat or fish. Cheese in itself is a full-fledged second course, rich in proteins and minerals, as well as fats. Speaking of weights and measures, one should not, in practice, consume more than 150 Kcal of cheese at each meal.


Find out what and what are light foods


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