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Can Eating Cheese Help You Lose Weight?

Updated on August 3, 2013
Surely cheese is one of things you need to give up to lose weight?
Surely cheese is one of things you need to give up to lose weight? | Source

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.

Parmesan is probably the best full fat hard cheese if you are on a diet.
Parmesan is probably the best full fat hard cheese if you are on a diet. | Source

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.


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    • aa lite profile image

      aa lite 4 years ago from London

      Goofy comment 1 and 2 (you have the same ip address so I think we can safely assume you are the same person), last time I checked, a 58g mars bar had 1.9g of protein, a 28g slice of cheddar had 7g of protein, 24g of beans (traditionally recommended as being a good source of proteins for vegetarians) have 5.2g of protein. Perhaps you should check your facts again.

      And the word "actually" only occurred once on this page, in a comment, before you graced it with your wit.

      You are clearly an idiot, I sympathise. It isn't your fault, I imagine you were just born this way. I suggest you stick to posting on Facebook, where only your friends can laugh at how stupid you are, rather than sharing it with the web at large.

      Regards, actually.

    • profile image

      that comment 4 years ago

      Lets stop saying "actually" in a sentence, using the word as a phrase indicates the need for a correction. Without including the previous statement or having participated in a conversation where a statement needed correction (ie: self made statement) and using the word, a writer/speaker has no reason to use it.. it is a misleading representation.


    • profile image

      thisComment 4 years ago

      Last time I looked cheese had the same protein count as a flipping candy bar.. you goof. not a correct statement to say "protein rich food".. lol

      check your facts!! ?? !!

    • aa lite profile image

      aa lite 4 years ago from London

      I can actually eat dairy without a problem, unlike bread which I don't think is very good for me.

      The big problem with cheese is it is so high in calories. However, I've decided to include a lot more yogurt, and some cheese, in my diet. It really sounds like calcium can help a lot with losing weight.

    • OMGirdle profile image

      OMGirdle 4 years ago from United States

      The only time I lost weight from eating cheese was when I was on the Atkins program. You bring up some good points about eating dairy. I have found, as you age, your body is a forever changing temple. I used to be able to eat certain foods, including dairy, but now the effects of dairy is changing. You are right. Calcium plays an important role especially as you age. Unfortunately, I defer to supplements. I miss cheese.