The Truth About Carbs in Cheese

What are carbohydrates in cheese? Simply put, carbohydrates in cheese are simple sugars that are naturally occurring in dairy products. Cheese is a milk product, made from curdled milk and processed in diverse manners, usually by coagulation of curdled milk with fat from the milk, to form curds. It contains both fats and proteins from milk, normally the milk of sheep, cows, or buffalo. In addition, it may contain other sugar sources, such as fruit or milk, but rarely lactose (a sugar substitute usually derived from cow’s milk).


There are two main classes of carbohydrates in cheese: solid and partially-solid. Solid carbohydrates in cheese are described as those with a definite, distinct taste, as in whole or even half cheddar cheese. These include cream cheese and Colby-Pepper Jack cheese. Partly-solid carbohydrates in cheese are generally less obvious, because many of them have a sweeter taste than their solid counterparts; i.e. cream cheese and cottage cheese.

One of the simplest carbohydrates in cheese is butter. Watery and white cream cheeses such as sour cream or cottage cheese are rich in saturated fat and therefore high in calories. However, the unsaturated fat in butter is much more beneficial – some research suggests that saturated fat may actually be good for your health, whereas the unsaturated fat in cream cheese may contribute to heart disease. Unsaturated fat contains no calories but can help lower cholesterol levels and provide essential fatty acids. Unprocessed, unsweetened butters such as raw or semi-raw butter are the best choice for diabetics or people trying to manage their diabetes; it is also an excellent source of protein.

Another carbohydrate in dairy milk that provides great benefits when broken down is protein. Whey protein is very low in fat but can help increase muscle mass, which can help with weight loss if you’re trying to lose weight. There are several different sources of whey protein, including whey protein powder, milk, and yogurt. Although milk is the top source of protein, one of the highest levels of carbohydrates in dairy milk comes from cheese – about 24% of one serving of cheese is made up of milk fat.

Yet another high level carbohydrate in cheese is lactose. Some people are lactose intolerant and cannot digest lactose, which can be found in milk, cream, and yogurt. Lactose is not absorbed well by the body, so it passes through the digestive system without being metabolized. It turns into sugar and eventually into fat when digested. Many diabetics and those on lactose-free diets are at risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, so consuming too much lactose may contribute to these health problems.

All in all, cheese is an excellent food that provides a number of nutritional benefits, including protein and several carbohydrates. Cheese is nutritious without being filled with fat, excess calories, or lactose. By choosing the type of cheese you enjoy most, you can choose one that is as close to the nutrition as possible while still maintaining a delicious flavor. You can easily add cheese to your diet while still staying healthy and happy.

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