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?