- Diet & Weight Loss
Can Eating Cheese Help You Lose Weight?
Eating Cheese On a Diet, Too Good to be True?
One of the things most people give up when trying to lose weight is cheese, or even dairy altogether. It seems quite obvious that this high-fat, high calorie food has no place on the table of somebody trying to control their calories.
However, research into obesity is increasingly showing that not all calories are created equal. The body is a far more complicated machine than a bomb calorimeter. Different foods require different amounts of energy to digest, with protein "costing" a lot more than carbohydrates or fats.
Different foods also cause different satiety levels. Eating a protein rich meal, again will keep you full for longer, meaning you need to use less will power to stick to your food plan.
Cheese is high in fat and calories, which makes it bad for weight loss. On the other hand it is rich in protein, and very significantly in calcium, which can be a big help in helping you stick to your diet and burn fat.
Dairy Products Help Weightloss: The Evidence
In an conducted by researchers in Curtin University in Perth, Australia, all subjects cut their dietary intake to 75% of their daily recommended amounts. However, some people increased their intake of dairy products to five servings a day, while the controls had three servings.
People who ate more dairy products, which included cheese, lost more weight than the controls. They ended the 12 week trial with less belly fat than people who did not consume as much dairy.
The problem with cheese, of course, is that it is calorie rich. A 1 oz slice of cheddar has 113 Calories and over 9g of fat. It is more of a challenge to cut overall calories when including such fattening food. However that slice of cheddar also contains 7g of protein, which is well known for producing a feeling of satiety, so people are less hungry after eating it.
On the other hand, other dairy products, like skimmed milk, or low fat yogurt, have less calories, while still being rich in protein and calcium. They might be a better choice than hard cheeses. But if cheese is your vice, and you can't stand the idea of depriving yourself of it, it can be beneficial if included in moderation.
Incidentally the best type of cheese for dieters might well be parmesan. It has 10g of protein, more calcium than cheeses such as cheddar, and a very strong flavour, so a small amount grated over pasta, can really enhance its flavour.
How Calcium Helps Weight Loss
Calcium in cheese and dairy products in general, is a very important nutrient. It is essential for strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. There is also a growing body of evidence that calcium plays a role in metabolism, and weight loss.
One of the effects of high calcium intake is that cells burn fat, rather than store it. The problem with a lot of diets is that the body reacts to the decrease in food by changing its metabolism to hold onto as much fat as it can. Calcium appears to counteract that. Because of this cutting out dairy products when losing weight can make it much harder to achieve one's objective.
Another effect of eating a lot of calcium, is that it emulsifies the fats in the diet, so they cannot be absorbed in the gut. This has the amazing effect that you effectively eat less fat than you is present in your meal.
Obviously gorging yourself on cheese, or cream, in an attempt to lose weight is not going to work. But if you are picking high calorie foods, it is definitely better to get rid of white bread, or candy, rather than cheese.