The keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet often used to promote weight loss.
The diet traditionally limits carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day to maintain ketosis, a state in which your body uses fat instead of carbohydrates as its main fuel source.
For that reason, certain foods are better suited for the keto diet than others. In particular, cheese is an ideal keto food due to its high fat, moderate protein, and low carb content.
This article reviews some of the best and worst types of cheese to eat when following a keto diet.
Those who follow a keto diet severely limit their carbohydrate intake.
Further, keto dieters typically prioritize foods that are high in fat to make up for the calories they miss out on when restricting carbs.
This means cheese is an excellent food option because most types are high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs.
Still, some cheeses are more suitable than others due to variations in fat content and level of processing.
Cheese is an ideal keto food due to its high fat, moderate protein, and low carb content. Still, some types may be better than others due to variations in fat content and level of processing.
These cheeses boast a high fat content and are minimally processed, so they’re a perfect match for the keto diet.
Cheddar is a popular yellow cheese.
Varieties range in flavor from sharp to mild, so most people can find a type that suits their taste preferences.
Per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, a mild cheddar cheese provides 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of carbs. This means it’s a good fit for the keto diet (1).
With a perfect balance of acidity and creaminess and a fairly low melting point, it’s great for melting atop sandwiches, lettuce-wrapped burgers, low carb bread, and casseroles.
Gouda is a slightly sweet, creamy, yellow-hued cheese made from cow’s milk.
With 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of carbs per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, it fits well into the keto diet (2).
Gouda has a fairly low melting point, so it can be used to top burgers or added to your favorite keto mac and cheese recipe.
Goat cheese, also known as chevre, is a creamy cheese made from goat’s milk. It boasts a tart flavor that is sometimes described as gamy or earthy.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving provides 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and minimal carbs, making it an excellent cheese to enjoy when following the keto diet (3).
While not particularly good for melting, goat cheese works well in appetizers, salads, casseroles, and omelets.
In addition, goat cheese is lower in lactose than many other kinds of cheese made from cow’s milk. As such, people with lactose intolerance may be better able to digest it (4).
Blue cheese is a unique cheese. It’s made using cultures of a specific type of mold to develop deep flavors and a creamy texture.
Its keto-approved nutrient profile includes 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbs per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving (5).
Blue cheese is great when added fresh to salads, blended into a dip, or made into a sauce to enjoy with vegetable noodles or steaks.
Some of the best cheeses to eat on the keto diet are cheddar, Gouda, blue cheese, and goat cheese due to their suitable high fat and low carb content.
Cheeses to avoid on the keto diet include higher-carb and processed varieties.
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made by separating casein curds and liquid whey — the two major milk proteins.
While cottage cheese is generally considered a healthy cheese option, its nutrient profile doesn’t work well with the keto diet.
A 1/2-cup (114-gram) serving of full-fat cottage cheese provides 5 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 5 grams of carbs (6).
While it’s not particularly high in carbs, even small amounts add up quickly. Thus, it’s best not to eat too much cottage cheese when on a keto diet.
Low fat cheese
Considering that the keto diet focuses on high fat, low carb foods, it’s best to avoid low fat cheese varieties.
Regular cheddar provides 9 grams of fat per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. For comparison, the same serving size of low fat cheddar or colby cheese has about 2 grams of fat. You can even buy nonfat cheese, which has no fat (1, 7, 8).
If your goal is to fuel your body with fat through ketosis, you should stick to full-fat cheese.
Another cheese category you’ll likely want to avoid if following a keto diet is processed cheeses.
This includes varieties like American cheese, spray-can cheese, and other products that contain a mix of cheese and noncheese ingredients.
While they usually have plenty of fat, they tend to also contain ingredients that you wouldn’t find in naturally produced cheeses. These may include whey powder, canola oil, added colors, and preservatives (9, 10).
A high intake of processed foods has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. That means you should limit how many processed foods you eat, regardless of whether you follow the keto diet (11, 12).
While most cheeses fit well into the keto diet, some types are not ideal due to their nutrient ratios and level of processing. These include cottage cheese and low fat and processed cheeses.
The keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet. It requires strict adherence to maintain ketosis, a state in which your body uses fat instead of carbs as its primary fuel source.
To make up for calories lost through carb restriction, keto dieters eat many high fat foods such as cheese.
Some cheeses suit the keto diet better than others. This mainly comes down to their carb and fat content and level of processing.
The best keto cheeses include cheddar, Gouda, goat cheese, and blue cheese, while the worst are cottage cheese and low fat and processed varieties.
If you’re following the keto diet or know someone who is, be sure to keep these cheeses in mind to promote ketosis and meet dietary goals.