/ Food & Drink

Reduced-fat cheese – is it worth buying?

Cheese on a cheese board with a grater and napkin

It’s hard to keep track of the number one threat to our health – is it salt, is it sugar, is it saturated fat? Some manufacturers want us to feel less guilty about indulging in ‘naughty’ foods. What about reduced-fat cheese?

Running our recent cheese taste test was like heaven for me – I absolutely love cheese and can’t imagine life without it.

My favourite cheeses have high fat contents though, which makes me wary of over-indulging. I started to wonder if I’d be better off swapping to the reduced-fat versions of the most popular branded cheeses.

Can reduced-fat cheese save me money?

When I last checked the prices of Cathedral City and Pilgrim’s Choice on mysupermarket.co.uk, there was no price difference between the full-fat and reduced-fat versions.

I’m quite a stingy person and I think that if I’m getting less fat in my cheese, it should cost less too. Someone more reasonable than me might point out that I’m getting the same weight of cheese, so maybe I should stop grumbling.

Great for grating

The lack of price difference didn’t impress me, so I asked a member of our cheese taste test expert panel for his opinion on reduced-fat cheeses. Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board said:

‘Reduced-fat hard cheeses are firmer than traditional cheddars, making them easier to slice and grate. They work well in most uses from sandwiches to grated on your spag bol. If you’re a fan of cheese on toast, you won’t get the oiling off on the surface of the cheese you sometimes get with cheddar and it will still taste great’.

Traffic light labels

So far, so versatile. But is reduced-fat cheese actually better for me? Our nutritionist and food expert, Shefalee Loth, explains:

‘A 30g portion of cheddar provides around 40% of an adult’s daily calcium needs and around half of a child’s. Although a great source of calcium, cheese is high in fat, saturated fat and salt, so you shouldn’t eat a lot of it.

‘While the lighter cheddars contain 30% less fat and saturated fat than the standard ones, they still get a red traffic light rating for fat, saturated fat and salt, so should still be eaten in moderation.’

It sounds as though reduced-fat cheeses have their place, particularly for cooking, but I think I’ll carry on eating my favourite full-fat cheeses in sensible amounts. Are you a cheese fan? Has a reduced-fat cheese earned a place in your fridge?

Comments
Member

As I too love cheese and eat quite a lot of it I always buy the lighter cheddar variety and find it just as tasty as the full fat in a sandwich. I do find the texture slightly harder than full fat but not enough for me to want to change back given the health benefits of eating a lower fat diet Because of it’s high calcium content I would much prefer to eat a nice tasty low fat cheese sandwich than ingest the alendronic acid prescribed by GP’s to prevent osteoporosis. I would emphasise however this is entirely my own opinion and would hesitate to recommend this to everyone depending on individual circumstances.

I read somewhere that a matchbox size portion of cheese on a daily basis is not considered harmful but like everything else in life, stick to the old adage that ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’ or to use a more correct terminology ‘moderation in all things’. As log as there is 30% less fat going into my system and I can still enjoy the health benefits I will continue to buy it.

Member
Dave says:
13 May 2014

Cheese is a dead food with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, your body already contains the calcium it needs with 99% in the bones and 1% just outside the cells, the problem is fluoride attacks your bones causing osteo amongst other things, the calcium released from your bones then gets stored into the soft tissue in the kidneys and brain causing kidney failure over time and other calcification issues in the brain.

Cut out fluoridated water and take a couple of drops a day of Iodine in pure water.
Instead of brushing your teeth with toothpaste try rinsing your mouth with food grade hydrogen peroxide (30 or 35%) 2 drops in one litre of pure/distilled water and shake the bottle don’t use plastic only glass or stainless steel this will remove the bleachy taste then brush with sodium bicarbonate (try and use pharmaceutical grade as food grade contains arsenic mercury and lead) this coats your teeth with bicarb and helps the calcium go straight into the teeth.

To reverse Osteoporosis or Arthritis take 30mg of Borax and 400-600mg of Magnesium through the day remember when you drink always drink 20 minutes before you eat as the bacteria in your stomach doesn’t work as well on your food also remember that protein and carbohydrates require different bacteria and only one or the other will be taken up by your stomach
this article is a good starting point but please keep checking and learning Rex Newnham has spent 40 years of his life researching this,
we all are told to trust a doctor but why when very few understand how all our medicines should be got from food and they take the hippocratic oath when hippocrates himself said let food be your medicine,
http://www.educate-yourself.org/cn/boraxconspiracy03jul12.shtml
The borax will remove the fluoride from your body and the calcium out of your soft tissue and replace it back into your bones and teeth, it will recoat the membranes of your cells protecting you from cancer and it will also balance your hormones, At first I would take one tenth of the dose recommended as your body has so many toxins from fluoride to mercury stored in your tissue that your body will excrete it through your liver this normally puts people through a herxheimer effect which is why you should build up gradually. Research what info I have given you here do not take other peoples word for it if we cannot educate ourselves then what chance do any of us have.

Member

I eat far too much cheese and coffee, but otherwise my diet is not too bad. Perhaps we should rejoice in the fact that cheese has a low sugar content. 🙂

OK – I will have another go at low-fat cheeses. I was not impressed last time I bought several offerings when it first appeared.

Member

If you want to eat cheese and can find a lower fat one you like – fine , less fat , less calories.
Its as simple as that; some red traffic lights are worse than others !
We occasionally have to make decisions ourselves.

Member

How many eat cheese as a deliberate and considered part of their dietary intake, and how many eat it just because they like it? I’m in the latter group – a late night snack of cheese on toast, a glass of wine with cheese and biscuits, a jacket potato with grated cheese, butter and bacon…… I eat the particular cheese because I like its taste and texture, whether cheddar, wensleydale, brie, lancashire. I would not eat reduced fat simply because it might be better for me, only if it stood on its own feet and satisfied these criteria. I expect I will suffer because of this approach. But then I like toast and dripping.

Member

Mmmm, why not eat 30% less full fat cheese? It’s 30% cheaper too.

We seem to have been conditioned into eating a certain volume of food regardless of its nutritional value. It’s certainly not necessary to eat as much as we do in Western societies.

As a foodie, I must agree it’s not pleasant feeling hungry all the time, but how much of that is played on by advertisers – note how they always seem to promote snack foods during the evening schedules when our appetite should be most at its most satisfied – and how much of it is real?

Aren’t low-fat foods just another con to get us to buy something else we don’t need?

Member

We should get away from this childish idea of ‘naughty foods’. There is no such thing as a naughty food! Furthermore the ‘fat is harmful’ school of thought is at last being questioned by researchers and not before time. Too many carbs. do the real harm because they are a relatively recent addition to Man’s diet. If you eat low-fat, the chances are that you’re also eating more carbs. Look on the ingredients labels and you’ll see. Trouble is, few people ever do this and prefer to believe everything they’re told by the Food Police.

Member

If you look at all the evidence that is available rather than just what suits the argument, I think you will find that there is still a strong case for restricting the amount of saturated fat in our diet. Ignore this advice and you increase your chance of getting clogged-up arteries.

There is a good case for cutting down the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrate in the diet, but perhaps we should not condemn unrefined carbohydrate, which is one reason we are encouraged to eat vegetables.

I nominate peas as ‘naughty foods’ because they have a tendency to roll off the plate. 🙂