Cottage cheese has earned the reputation of being a healthy food, but is it really? Find out what’s good and bad about this popular food.
It’s so convenient to open a carton of cottage cheese and scoop out some of its creamy goodness to add to a salad or serve as a side dish. Its versatility makes it a good addition to recipes where a lower fat alternative is needed. Although cottage cheese has earned the reputation of being a healthful “dieter’s” food, does it really live up to its reputation? Is cottage cheese a healthy food?
The Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese
With between seventy and eight grams per half-cup serving, cottage cheese is a good source of bone-building calcium. It’s also an excellent source of protein with far less fat than most hard cheeses. Cottage cheese has between four to six grams of fat compared to twenty-two fat grams – most of it saturated – in a half-cup of diced cheddar cheese. Eating cottage cheese is a good way to enjoy a creamy cheese-like taste without getting excessive amounts of fat. Body builders have chosen cottage cheese as their food of choice due to its high protein and low carbohydrate content. A single half-cup serving of cottage cheese has twelve to fifteen grams of protein with only three to five grams of carbohydrates – making it a good choice for building lean body mass.
What’s Not So Good About It
Unless you make it yourself, most commercial cottage cheeses are surprisingly high in sodium. The sodium content of a half-cup serving of regular cottage cheese can run as high as 375 milligrams. Cottage cheese also contains lactose which can be a problem for people who are lactose intolerant. Some studies have also shown that diets high in lactose increase the risk of ovarian cancer due to its toxic effects on the ovaries.
It Depends on Which One You Buy
Low sodium and lactose free cottage cheese can now be purchased in some areas, although they may be difficult to find. You can also find low fat and fat-free versions of cottage cheese that have reduced calories and a lower fat content. Unfortunately, many fat-free cottage cheeses are high in sodium and sugar, so read labels carefully.
The Bottom Line
Cottage cheese can be a good, low-carb source of protein and an overall healthy choice if you select one that’s low in sodium. If you’re trying to loose weight, consider buying low fat or non-fat cottage cheese if you can find one that has less than four grams of sugar. If you’re lactose intolerant, give some of the new, lactose-free cottage cheese alternatives a try.