Calories in cheese

Calories in cheese DEFAULT

What is the healthiest cheese?

Cheese is rich in essential nutrients, such as amino acids, protein, fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals, but not all cheeses have the same nutritional benefits. Some cheeses are healthier than others.

Cheese is a dairy product that is made from milk and milk products. It has a wide range of flavors and textures and is a staple food in many cultures.

Cheese can be the product of the milk of cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo, among other animals.

This article lists the eight healthiest cheeses and the cheeses a person may want to avoid if they are looking for a healthy option. It gives the nutritional data based on 21 g portions, which is roughly 1 medium slice or portion.

Learn how many calories a person should eat daily here.

1. Mozzarella

Mozzarella is a soft cheese that was first made in Italy. It is usually made from buffalo or cow’s milk.

Mozzarella is relatively low in fat and calories. This makes it a healthier cheese option compared to others.

Mozzarella probiotics such as the bacteria Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum.

As a revealed, Lactobacillus fermentum is great for a person’s immune system, can prevent upper respiratory infections, and can reduce a person’s blood cholesterol.

Learn about probiotics here.

2. Cheddar

Cheddar is a semi-hard cheese that originated in England. It is made from cow’s milk.

Cheddar is higher in fat, calories, and sodium compared to other cheeses. However, its vitamin content can bring many health benefits.

Cheddar is in vitamin K, especially in full fat form.

According to a 2015 review, studies have found that 5 mg of vitamin K a day can reduce the chances of bone fractures in females by 50%, and their cancer risk by 75%.

Vitamin K is also good for heart health, as vitamin K2 can prevent or reverse calcification in the arteries.

Learn about vitamin K here.

3. Ricotta

Ricotta is a soft Italian cheese that is made from whey in leftover milk from the production of other cheeses.

Ricotta cheese is much lower in calories and fat than other cheeses.

Ricotta is made from whey protein, which can significantly cholesterol, including harmful LDL cholesterol, according to a 2020 study.

Whey protein may also have anti-cancer effects, according to a 2014 study. Alpha-lactalbumin is a whey protein found in milk that has been found to selectively target and kill cancer cells.

Find out more about whey protein here.

4. Goat cheese

Goat cheese is made from goat milk. It has a tangy taste and soft texture.

A 21 g portion of goat cheese is low in calories, but relatively high in fat compared with other cheeses.

According to a 2017 study, the oligosaccharides in goat milk provide the stomach with beneficial bacteria to help it protect the body against illnesses.

It is also a rich source of vitamin A, which keeps the eyes healthy and vision in low light conditions.

Learn about vitamin A here.

5. Feta

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk.

Although feta is higher in sodium than other cheeses, it is lower in calories.

Feta is a very nutritious cheese, with 100 g providing 337 mg of phosphorus, which is half of the daily recommendation for adults of both sexes.

Phosphorus and calcium are both important for bone and dental health.

Learn about phosphorus here.

6. Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese comes from Switzerland. It is made from cow’s milk. Gas bubbles, produced by bacteria that help to turn milk into cheese, form all over the cheese and create its characteristic holes.

Swiss cheese is a low-calorie cheese, as it only takes up 4% of a person’s daily calorie allowances. It is relatively low in fat and sodium.

Swiss cheese is a good source of protein. Protein is important for muscle and bone health.

Swiss cheese also contains Lactobacillus helveticus, which is a type of lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus helveticus has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may prevent diseases as well as reduce fatigue and muscle damage.

Learn about lactic acid in food here.

7. Blue cheese

Blue cheese is made from Penicillum mold cultures. It has a strong taste and smell and has blue veins running through it.

According to the National Health Service, a person should only consume up to 2.4 g of sodium per day, which is equal to about 1 teaspoon. Blue cheese is high in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Blue cheese is rich in calcium, with just one slice providing 11% of the for an adult aged between 19 and 50.

Calcium is known for keeping bones healthy and promoting bone strength as a person ages. It also helps the blood clot normally.

Learn about calcium here.

8. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese with a mild flavor and creamy texture. It is made from curdled cow’s milk.

Cottage cheese is very low in calories and fat.

Cottage cheese is rich in vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 helps to keep the nerve and blood cells healthy.

Getting enough vitamin B-12 can also help megaloblastic anemia, which makes people feel tired and weak.

Learn about vitamin B-12 here.

Other healthy properties of cheeses

  • Low in salt: The following cheeses are low in salt:
    • Swiss cheese
    • cottage cheese
    • ricotta
  • High in calcium: The following cheeses are high in calcium:
    • blue cheese
    • Swiss cheese
    • feta
    • mozzarella
  • High in protein: The following cheeses are high in protein:
    • cottage cheese
    • blue cheese
    • Swiss cheese
    • goat cheese
    • mozzarella
  • For gut health: The following cheeses contain probiotics:
  • Lactose intolerance: According to a 2019 study, some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate cheese with little or no lactose. The following cheeses contain little or no lactose:
    • gouda
    • parmesan
    • cheddar
    • Swiss cheese

In pregnancy

Unpasteurized cheeses may not be safe to eat during pregnancy, as pregnant people are 10 times more likely to get listeriosis, which is food poisoning from bacteria that can grow in unpasteurized milk.

While soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, and feta are often pasteurized in the U.S., it’s important to check the label to be sure.

The following cheeses are good options for a pregnant person:

  • cheddar
  • mozzarella
  • goat cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • ricotta
  • halloumi

Cheeses to avoid

A person should avoid the following types of cheese if they wish to keep their fat or sodium intake low:

  • halloumi
  • brie
  • camembert
  • parmesan
  • mascarpone


There are thousands of different types of cheese and they all vary in their nutritional content and health benefits.

Some cheeses, such as cottage cheese, are very healthy because they are low in calories and fat but high in calcium. Others contain a lot of sodium and should only be eaten in small amounts.

If a person has particular health goals and wants to enjoy cheese as part of their diet, they should research the nutritional contents of the cheeses they like to make sure they are suitable for their diet.


Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Cheese is a food that many of us crave. Some people add cheese to salads, others layer it on sandwiches and some just enjoy cheese on its own. Either way, cheese provides a creamy flavor that most of us find satisfying. But cheese calories and fat can add up quickly and some cheese choices are healthier than others.

Nutrition Facts

If you're a cheese lover, then there's good news for you. Not all cheese is unhealthy for your diet. In fact, there are plenty of ways to include cheese in a weight loss or weight maintenance plan, you'll just need to be careful about what you buy and how much you eat.

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one slice (22g) of Swiss cheese.

  • Calories: 86
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Sodium: 40.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5.9g

One of the lowest calorie cheeses is skim mozzarella. One stick of part skim mozzarella cheese (28g) provides around 84 calories, 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat. This lower fat, lower calorie cheese is easy to shred or slice, easy to use in recipes and melts well. Many people also keep skim mozzarella sticks in the refrigerator so that they have a quick protein snack ready to go.

Parmesan is another popular cheese among healthy eaters. One tablespoon of shredded Parmesan cheese (from a hard block) provides just 21 calories and 1.4 grams of protein. And because Parmesan has an intense flavor, it's easy to use less of it on your favorite dish.

A single one-ounce serving of Swiss cheese provides just over 100 calories and just under 8 grams of fat. Other popular cheese varieties have calorie counts in the same range, according to USDA data.

  • A single serving of cheddar cheese provides 114 calories, 7 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat.
  • A single serving of blue cheese provides 100 calories, 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat
  • A single serving of American cheese (pasteurized and processed) provides 94 calories, 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat. But American cheese calories can be tricky to calculate. Many cheese "singles" are less than one ounce and are likely to provide closer to 71 calories.

Less Healthy Cheese Options

Cheese calories and nutrition are less healthy in products that are heavily processed. Why? Because they often contain less healthy ingredients like oil and other fillers to boost texture and flavor. 

  • Cheese singles. Many individually-wrapped, processed American singles are not actually cheese, but a cheese-like product that contains oil and other ingredients.
  • Cheese spray. Cheese that comes in a can is only part cheese. If you check the ingredients label on your favorite canned cheese, you'll probably see that it contains oils and other additives.
  • Cheese dips. Many jarred cheese products are made by combining cheese and other ingredients like oil and artificial flavors to make them creamy and spicy.

Health Benefits and Drawbacks 

Even though cheese provides saturated fat, when you consume dairy products, like cheese, you gain certain health benefits. Cheese provides both protein and fat to improve satiety or the feeling of fullness and satisfaction you get after eating.

In addition, like many dairy products, real cheese is a good source of calcium. Your bones need calcium to stay healthy. Calcium can also contribute to a healthy heart and strong muscles.

Some studies have shown that eating cheese may be helpful to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. However, most health experts still recommend that you limit your saturated fat intake. Cheese is a source of saturated fat.

Lastly, if you are watching your sodium intake, be sure to check the nutrition facts label for cheese before you buy. Some varieties of cheese, like cottage cheese or feta, have higher levels of sodium than others.

Cheese Calories and Weight Loss

When considering how much cheese to eat, it's helpful to know that a single serving of cheese is one ounce. That's about one thin slice or two small cubes, roughly the size of a pair of dice. It's easy to serve yourself more than an ounce of cheese, so if you are counting calories or fat be aware of the amount you want to consume.

When using low-calorie or low-fat cheese, keep in mind that while some may enjoy the taste and texture of these products, they don't always melt well or provide the same creamy texture as full-fat cheese. Also, be aware that if you eat more low-calorie cheese in an effort to satisfy your cheese ravings you may end up consuming more fat and calories as a result.

And lastly, consider the way you eat cheese. Sometimes, it's not the cheese calories that do harm to your diet, but rather the wine, crackers or bread that you consume with the cheese. If you love cheese but are watching your calories, consider pairing it with a slice of fresh fruit.

Cheese Recipes

If you're a cheese lover, try a mac and cheese recipe to keep cheese in your healthy diet. Enjoy your cheesy meal with vegetables and fresh fruit to make it more nutritious.

A Word From Verywell

Because it is a source of saturated fat, the American Heart Association's Presidential Advisory has evaluated the role of cheese in a heart-healthy diet. They recommend that Americans reduce their intake of all saturated fats, including cheese. So, if you choose to add cheese to your meal, just aim to eat it in moderation.

Thanks for your feedback!

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Cheese, swiss. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Cheese, part skim mozzarella. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  3. Cheese, parmesan, grated. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  4. Cheese. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  5. Nilsen R, Høstmark AT, Haug A, Skeie S. Effect of a high intake of cheese on cholesterol and metabolic syndrome: results of a randomized trial. Food Nutr Res. 2015;59:27651. doi:10.3402/fnr.v59.27651

  6. Rozenberg S, Body JJ, Bruyère O, et al. Effects of dairy products consumption on health: Benefits and beliefs--a commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. Calcif Tissue Int. 2016;98(1):1–17. doi:10.1007/s00223-015-0062-x

  7. de Goede J, Geleijnse JM, Ding EL, Soedamah-Muthu SS. Effect of cheese consumption on blood lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2015;73(5):259-75. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuu060

  8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Food exchange lists. 

  9. Dairy Products - Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese. American Heart Association. Reviewed April 16, 2018.

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The 9 Healthiest Types of Cheese

Cheddar is a widely popular semi-hard cheese from England.

Made from cow’s milk that has been matured for several months, it can be white, off-white, or yellow. The taste of cheddar depends on the variety, ranging from mild to extra sharp.

One ounce (28 grams) of whole-milk cheddar contains ():

  • Calories: 115
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 180 mg — 8% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 20% of the RDI

In addition to being rich in protein and calcium, cheddar is a good source of vitamin K — especially vitamin K2 ().

Vitamin K is important for heart and bone health. It prevents calcium from being deposited in the walls of your arteries and veins ().

Inadequate vitamin K levels can cause calcium buildup, inhibiting blood flow and leading to an increased risk of blockages and heart disease (, , ).

To prevent calcium deposits, it’s important to get enough vitamin K from foods. As K2 from animal foods is better absorbed than K1 found in plants, K2 may be especially important for preventing heart disease ().

In fact, one study in over 16,000 adult women linked higher vitamin K2 intake to a lower risk of developing heart disease over 8 years ().

Eating cheddar is one way to increase your vitamin K2 intake. You can add it to charcuterie plates, vegetable dishes, burgers, and eggs.

Summary Cheddar is rich in vitamin K2, a nutrient that prevents calcium from building up in your arteries and veins. Getting enough K2 may decrease your risk of heart disease.

Selecting Cheese for Health

This article provides dietary tips and an overview of the nutrition information of cheese, explains why cheeses are so different, and briefly describes how cheese is manufactured.

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Selecting Cheese for Health - Articles

Updated: September 24, 2018



Stacy Reed, MS

Stacy Reed, MS

Food Safety & QualityFood, Families, & HealthHome Food SafetyFood Service and Retail

More by Stacy Reed, MS 

Kerry E. Kaylegian, Ph.D.

Kerry E. Kaylegian, Ph.D.

Dairy Food Processing & QualityDairy Food SafetySensory Analysis of Dairy ProductsDairy Foods ExtensionArtisanal Cheese

More by Kerry E. Kaylegian, Ph.D. 

Rayna Cooper


In cheese calories

Cheese Calories

Cheese contains fat and protein, with a very low percentage of calories from carbohydrates. A dairy product, the nutritional value of cheese is similar to that of milk, although cheese has greater calorie density. The ratio of fat to protein depends on the type of cheese, the animal from which the milk was derived, and whether it was made from full-fat or skim milk. On the calorie chart below, high-fat cheeses are indicated by a greater number of calories per ounce, or by a smaller serving size. Cheese is divided into several categories like fresh versus ripened, meaning the cheese undergoes an aging process of weeks to years. It is also classified by texture (in other words, moisture content): soft, semi-soft, and hard. In general, a ripened cheese such as Parmesan is more calorie dense than a fresh variety like cottage cheese. Processed products like American cheese contain a mix of milk fats, whey, cheese cultures, food coloring, and chemical emulsifiers; these are easily spotted by the long list of ingredients in the nutrition facts. Compared to natural cheeses, the processed kind can contain more sodium and saturated fat.

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