Saturday, July 16, 2005

How to argue with the dietitian about cheese!

Laurie, the dietitian, told me that cheese was cheese and it didn't matter what color it is. I recalled that white cheese had less fat than yellow cheese, but Laurie argued that it was because the yellow cheese was dyed. I said, "I don't eat that kind of cheese, I eat cheese from the deli counter." I tried to picture myself eating that horrible lowfat cheese in those packages. So I decided to find out for myself.

All cheese is not alike in terms of fat content. Fresh cheese, or curd style cheese, is lower in fat. That includes cottage cheese, feta cheese and mozarella. I knew mozarella was lower in fat than other cheeses, and I've been eating it for years. The quantity of cheese used in a dish is very important. A lot of low-fat cheese is worse than a small amount of higher fat cheese. That seems obvious, but at the moment it really hadn't occurred to me.

This information comes from the National Heart Foundation. See Fresh Cheeses.

Another source of information about cheeses comes from Dr. Christine Fenn. She writes:
All hard and cream cheeses are high-fat foods. Reduce the amount of cheese in sauces and dishes by using smaller amounts of strongly flavoured cheese or adding the cheese to the top of the dish instead of in the dish. Try lower-fat cheeses such as Edam, Gouda and Jarlsberg cheese as well as cottage cheese. They make great sandwich or baked potato fillings mixed with chopped spring onion, watercress, pickles or chutneys.

One UK website states that any cheese with 27g of fat per 100g can be offered as a "healthy choice," but warns to watch the quantities. Note: mozarella cheese has 18 g., feta has 16 g, and regular cottage cheese has 4 g.

Soy cheeses, by the way, have 7g fat.

Now I have the real information and am able to make cheese choices on my own. You know, I wish health care workers wouldn't try to simplify so much.

No comments: