There has been much confusion among the weight loss experts over the years about carbohydrates in cheese. Do low-fat or non-fat cheeses contain carbohydrates? And do they make any significant contribution to weight loss? In this article we will answer both questions. Then you can decide whether cheese makes any contribution to weight loss.
First, carbohydrates in cheese are not a carbohydrate, because they are not made up of sugar by the process of glycolysis (breakdown of glucose). Cheese is a milk product, made from fat and extracted from milk, generally by hydrolysis of casein protein by coagulation. It contains fat and proteins from dairy, usually cow, goat, or buffalo milk, normally the casein protein of cows. The per gram of carbohydrates in whole milk is 5.5 grams, a comparable amount of carbohydrates in many carbohydrates in vegetables.
The confusion about carbohydrates in cheese stems from the commonly held belief that low-carbohydrate diets lead to loss of body weight because energy is used more efficiently at lower carbohydrate levels. While there is some truth to this, the underlying cause of weight loss is not lowered calories but the substitution of high calorie sources for low-fat sources. So, technically low carb diets do result in weight loss, but most of it is water and muscle tissue rather than fat. Also, while many carbohydrates in whole milk are converted into glucose and stored as body fat, some fats that are unsaturated are stored as energy. This means that, contrary to popular beliefs, unsaturated fats are actually healthy fat and do not contribute to weight gain.
Another myth is that cream cheese is high in calories because it contains large amounts of fat and protein. To be accurate, calories are equal and the percentage of calories in a product is not as important as the amount itself. Although cheese contains a small amount of fat, it is still considered a high-fat food by most nutritionists. High-fat foods have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and other health risks, so the cholesterol found in many types of fat is not good for your health. However, in moderation, fat is a good thing.
Other myths about carbohydrates in cheese include that unsalted or low-fat spreads are healthy because they contain low-fat proteins. These proteins can be a good thing, however. Unsalted spreads tend to have a higher content of sodium and other additives that are bad for the body. Low-fat or unsalted spreads are high in proteins, which are essential for building healthy muscle and tissues.
Carbohydrates in cheese is a delicious part of a cheese spread or a handful of crackers. They provide a good source of protein and carbohydrates without increasing the total fat in your diet. Cheese also contains calcium, which is important for bone health. Be sure to select high-quality cheese and eat it sparingly to avoid excess fat. Low-fat cream cheese and spreads are equally healthy, but you may want to choose one of each to help get the amount of carbs in your diet that you need without eating too much fat.