Is cottage cheese good for your health? The health benefits of cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is making a comeback. In fact, this popular health food from the 1970s is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to health-conscious Gen Z and TikTokers dedicating entire series to the health benefits of cottage cheese.

Last year, New York chef and food blogger Emily Eggers declared that it was “time to grow up and stop pretending it’s not delicious,” saying she was on a “mission to make cottage cheese the new burrata.”

Today, UK retailers are reporting a significant increase in sales of dairy products made from curdled milk, and producers are struggling to meet the growing demand.

“It came out of nowhere,” said Robert Graham, general manager of Graham’s Family Dairy. The Guardian“Since May last year, when TikTok really took off, our sales of fromage blanc have increased by 40%.”

So, are there any health benefits to adding it to your supermarket basket?

Meet the experts: Alice Godfrey is a registered nutritionist and thyroid specialist. Nichola Ludlam-Raine is a registered dietitian and author of How not to eat ultra-processed foods

Is cottage cheese healthy?

Nutritionist Alice Godfrey explains that cottage cheese has many health benefits: “It contains good amounts of many nutrients (vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium) and is high in protein. It is popular because, although it has an excellent nutritional profile, it is low in fat and calories.”

Registered dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine adds: Cottage cheese is lower in fat (and saturated fat) and calories than hard cheeses like cheddar or brie, while still being high in protein, which is needed for muscle repair and satiety.

Cottage cheese contains 11g of protein per 100g, which is nearly a quarter of the recommended daily protein intake for a woman. In terms of calories, cottage cheese can also be a healthier option: 98 calories per 100g, which is about a third of the number of calories in goat cheese (360) and cheddar (400).

Reduces blood sugar levels

Godfrey explains to Women’s Health Eating cottage cheese can also help lower blood sugar levels after meals. Cottage cheese contains a protein called casein, which helps reduce blood sugar spikes. High blood sugar levels can lead to type 2 diabetes.

“Cheese has a low glycemic index, which means its energy is released relatively slowly, thanks to its protein content,” adds Ludlam-Raine, author of How not to eat ultra-processed products.

A 2015 study shows that people with high blood sugar or type 2 diabetes benefit from regularly consuming dairy products such as cottage cheese.

Supports bone and intestinal health

Cottage cheese, like most dairy products, is high in calcium—in fact, cheese contains 83g of calcium per 100g. “Cottage cheese is recommended as a food for women who need to build calcium stores to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, or for anyone who is calcium deficient, according to a 2019 study published in Nutrition and Food Science”, said Godfrey.

While cheese may also contain probiotics (live bacteria that can help improve gut health), Ludlam-Raine cautions that not all cottage cheese is created equal. So if that’s your main goal, she suggests making sure the cottage cheese you choose is “labeled as containing live cultures (probiotics).”

Will switching to cottage cheese help me lose weight?

Let’s face it, a small change in your diet won’t help you lose weight miraculously. To lose weight, health professionals encourage people to make gradual changes to their diet. You also need to create an energy (calorie) deficit (i.e., consume fewer calories from food and beverages than you expend) and eat a varied diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

However, swapping cottage cheese for another cheese can also help: “Unlike other cheeses, it’s very low in fat, so it can be eaten in larger portions without increasing your fat and calorie intake,” says Godfrey, adding that for healthier baking, you can use it to make pancakes, muffins and cakes.

A 2020 study also showed how high-protein diets can lead to weight loss. “Increasing your protein intake and replacing high-calorie foods with higher-protein foods will generally help you lose weight,” she adds.

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