A high cheese intake and excess body weight can be a troublesome duo. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 20 to 35 percent of the calories you take in each day come from fat. If cheese is a part of most of your meals, you may easily exceed this daily recommendation, which can lead to weight gain. Some cheeses are higher in fat than others, so choose low-fat varieties and limit your consumption of this food.
Softer cheeses are often lighter on the lipids. An ounce of Neufchatel, one of the lower-fat cheeses, has only 4 grams of fat. Feta, goat and mozzarella cheeses each have about 6 grams of fat per ounce, placing them among the varieties that contain the lowest amount of fat. Cheese manufacturers make reduced-fat versions of many types of cheeses, so you may find other varieties with less fat than these soft cheeses.
Cheeses with mild flavors are often lower in fat than stronger cheeses. A 1-ounce serving of Parmesan cheese, with 7.5 grams of fat, is lower in lipids than Muenster and Roquefort cheese, each of which contains 8.5 grams of fat per ounce. To incorporate a cheesy flavor into in your dish without adding unnecessary fat, sparingly use a lower-fat cheese, such as reduced-fat, grated Parmesan, and season the dish to make up for any blandness.
Eating lower-fat cheese is no guarantee that you'll take in less fat and fewer calories in your meals or snacks. When you use a harder or stronger cheese, you're likely to eat less of it and to use it in smaller amounts, so low-fat cheese can be even more fattening if you use too much of it. To get optimal health benefits, try soy, veggie or rice cheese, which simulates the flavor and texture of dairy cheese but contains little or no fat.
Sadly, the cheese with the most fat is probably the dense brick cheese that you want to slice and put on your crackers. An ounce of Swiss cheese has 8 grams of fat and Gruyere has 9 grams of fat. An ounce of cheddar cheese, the fattiest of all, contains 6 grams of saturated fat. These cheeses are high in saturated fat, which can raise your LDL cholesterol level and cause plaque to develop in your arteries, putting you at risk for heart attack or stroke. Keep your intake of saturated fat to a minimum. Higher-fat cheeses naturally contain more saturated fat.
Maia Appleby is a NASM-certified personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Her articles have been published in a wide variety of print magazines and online publications, including the Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health, New Moon Network and Bodybuilding.com.