Last updated on August 30th, 2023
People with diabetes should follow a balanced diet to keep their sugar levels regular. A healthy diabetic diet plan should combine nutrients and a variety of food. Cheese is a questionable food product for diabetes patients as it has a high-fat content with lots of calories. It contains reasonable amounts of protein and also has some other nutrients that are essential for good health. But can diabetics eat cheese? The answer depends on various health factors. In this blog, we will explore the question: Is cheese good for diabetics? And discuss the nutritional benefits, composition, benefits, etc., of cheese for diabetics. Along with figuring out which cheese is good for managing sugar levels and which cheeses are a big ‘no’.
Nutritional Value of Cheese
There are many types of cheese available in the market, including varieties of low calorie cheese. Each cheese differs in some way from the other. Some popular cheeses are Cheddar, Parmesan and Mozzarella. Below is the nutritional value of these three kinds of cheese:
28 grams of Cheddar Cheese
|Nutritional Value of Cheddar Cheese|
|Nutrients (28 g)||Its amount|
|Calcium||201 mg (15% DV)|
|Sodium||185 mg (8% DV)|
28 grams of Parmesan Cheese
|Nutritional Value of Parmesan Cheese|
|Nutrients (28g)||Its amount|
|Calcium||335 mg (26% DV)|
|Sodium||335 mg (15% DV)|
28 grams of part-skim Mozzarella Cheese
|Nutritional Value of Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese|
|Nutrients (28g)||Its amount|
|Calcium||198 mg (15% DV)|
|Sodium||189 mg (8% DV)|
Carbs in cheese are low but fat content is very high. Cheese has a high sodium and saturated fat content making it not good for diabetic patients. Out of three major food components, carbohydrate, protein and fat, the daily value of fat should be 10% of your total calorie consumption. So it is vital to keep this value under the range for overall growth and no sugar spikes.
Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?
Cheese Glycemic Index
The cheese glycemic index is very low. Cheese GI carries a neutral or positive effect on the glycemic response of a diet and is categorised in the low GI food category. The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks foods according to how quickly their blood sugar levels rise. This scale is marked from 0 to 100. The faster the increase in blood sugar, the higher the food value. Foods have three categories based on GI value:
- Low GI food: 0-55
- Medium GI food: 56-69
- High GI food: 70 and above
To manage your diet, it is a best practice to include low GI food with high GI food that can reduce your sugar spikes. The cheese GI score of various cheese varieties falls from 0-10. The GI values of cheddar, cream cheese, etc, are 0. Simultaneously, cottage cheese and low calorie and fat cheese both have GI value of 10.
Read More: Is Coconut Milk Good for Diabetics?
Can Diabetics Eat Cheese?
You might be wondering some questions like is cheese healthy or not, is cheese good for health, etc. etc. In general, the answer to ‘Is cheese good for diabetics’ is definitely, yes but in moderation. People with diabetes can consume cheese, but be mindful of the portion you consume. Cheese for diabetics is a good source of protein and fat. This can help in delaying the absorption of carbs and prevent sugar spikes in the blood. However, specific cheese types include more saturated fat and sodium, so consumption in measured amounts is advisable.
Few Tips for Incorporating Cheese For Diabetics Diets:
Opt for lower-fat and reduced-sodium varieties of cheese. Avoid highly processed and flavoured cheeses.
Watch Portion Sizes
Cheese is calorie-dense, so it’s important to monitor portion sizes to avoid excessive calorie intake.
Pair With Other Foods
Include cheese as part of a balanced meal. Pair it with whole-grain crackers, vegetables, etc.
Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods. It’s essential initially to monitor your blood sugar levels after eating cheese.
Benefits of Cheese for Diabetics
Cheese for diabetics provides many nutrients. However it’s essential to note it isn’t a preferred food choice for them. Diabetes patients wanting to manage their sugar levels should avoid cheese. But diabetics with controlled sugar levels can consume cheese but in regulated amounts. Now let’s check out some general kinds like goat, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese benefits:
High in Protein
Cheese is rich in protein, so pairing it with carb foods slows the absorption of carbohydrates in our body. Protein also keeps you full for extended periods and helps you reduce hunger pangs.
Rich in Nutrients
Cheese for diabetics is a good source of vitamins like Vitamin B6, B12, D & A and minerals like potassium, iron and phosphorus. It also keeps your gut healthy because of some healthy gut bacteria.
Disclaimer: Consuming cheese for diabetes patients with uncontrolled sugar levels and HbA1C is not at all recommended. Cheese is a dairy product and may disturb your sugar levels if consumed unreasonably.
Read More: Is Apricot Good for Diabetics?
Side Effects of Cheese for Diabetics
Cheese is low GI and has zero carbs, and is high in calcium, protein and other nutrients, but many factors can make cheese for diabetics a ‘villain’. If not taken in moderation, it can have adverse effects.
High in Sodium
Cheese is high in sodium content which is associated with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can rise to heart ailments, one of the major complications of diabetes. According to studies, people with elevated blood pressure and diabetes have 4 times higher chances of heart disease, so if you have diabetes, you should limit your cheese consumption as it can lead to heart conditions. According to the American Heart Association, the healthy sodium limit is less than 2300 mg daily, which goes down to 1500 if you have any heart condition. So, it’s essential to read the label before buying any cheese. Try to opt for low calorie cheese. It will help you to reduce the sodium content.
Rich in Calories and Saturated Fat
Cheese has high calories and saturated food, which is a big no for people with heart conditions. Saturated fat heightens the chances of heart disorders, so it’s better to opt for unsaturated fats over saturated fats. One can obtain unsaturated fats from seeds, nuts, vegetable oil, or fish. Choose healthy versions of fats.
Lactose intolerance is a prevalent allergy among people and diabetes patients. Consumption of milk for them can also promote insulin insensitivity, making it dangerous. So, instead of cheese for diabetics, they can switch to healthy fats like nuts, seeds, soy cheese etc. It will provide healthy fats without causing health conditions or digestive issues.
IGF (Insulin-like Growth Factor)
Cheese is a dairy product that contains IGF molecules which can increase your sugar levels. IGF molecules appear and behave like insulin but don’t function like it. Thus, disturbing insulin functionality and allowing glucose intake into the bloodstream.
Cheese is high in calories, so the consumption of cheese for diabetics in excess can increase their weight and risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Read More: Is Cranberry Juice Good for Diabetics?
Promotes insulin resistance
Increased consumption of cheese for diabetics and normal individuals over time can lead to promotion of insulin resistance. And elevate the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in non diabetics.
How to Choose Healthy Cheese In Diabetes?
Cheese has low GI and zero carbohydrates, but it is still unsuitable for a healthy diabetic diet; why? Because it adversely affects heart health. People with diabetes tend to have heart conditions, which makes cheese a prohibited food. Although cheese for diabetics can be taken in moderation, choosing healthy fats over this saturated-fat daily food is always better. Saturated fat food can affect vessels and spike sugar levels in the body, which can be dangerous for heart health.
Which Cheese Is Good and Bad for Diabetes?
Diabetics should not go with processed cheeses, including cheese spreads or single-slice cheese packets. Such cheese types contain high salt content.
Other High-Salt Cheese Varieties May Involve:
- Imported blue
Low Calorie Cheese Types
- Cream cheese
- Low-sodium cottage cheese
Read More: Are Grapefruits Safe for Diabetics?
How Much Cheese Per Day Can A Diabetes Patient Consume?
A safe combo for diabetics can be cheese and sprouted-grain crackers. One serving of cheese is relatively less, roughly 28 grams in weight. Individuals must make a habit of checking the package for serving size. And adhering to just one serving is vital. To prepare a more generous serving, individuals may consume it with other fiber-rich foods. A few alternatives that go with cheese are
Cheese As a Salad Dressing
Cheese for diabetics can be used as a salad dressing. It contains rich amounts of salt and calories and also delivers delightful flavor and extra protein. Low calorie cheese, avocado and some lime juice are great ways to increase the flavour of a salad.
Read More: Is Ghee Good For Diabetics?
Avocado With Low-Sodium Cottage Cheese
Avocado contains rich fiber and healthy fats. Hence, both these foods, in combination, may reduce the cravings for less healthy foods. Including Cayenne or black pepper enhances its flavour. This recipe of cheese for diabetics can also be an option they can opt for.
Some Healthy Cheese Options for Diabetics
Goat cheese for diabetics is one of the healthiest cheese options because of its nutrient content. It is full of nutrients like vitamin D, A, B12, B2, calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Its lactose is easily digestible, so it is suitable for lactose-intolerant people.
- Calorie: 102 (per 28 grams)
- Protein: 6 grams (per 28 grams)
It is a popular cheese with low sodium and high protein content. Mozzarella cheese benefits include vitamins, minerals and probiotics that help the digestive system. It is suitable for type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation.
- Calorie: 85 (per 28 grams)
- Protein: 6.3 grams (per 28 grams)#
Read More: List for Best Ice-Cream for Diabetes?
This is one of the best low calorie cheese with low-sodium content. Cottage cheese has the lowest sodium content of any other cheese. Also, it is common in calories, which is best for people who want to lose weight. Is cheddar cheese healthy? This cheese for diabetics is a good option as its low-calorie content promotes weight loss diet plans because of its low-calorie content.
- Calorie: 27 kcal (per 28 grams)
- Protein: 3-4 grams (per 28 grams)
The Cheddar cheese for diabetics is a very popular choice globally. Cheese is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It comes in a variety of flavours. It is suitable for type 2 diabetic people, so do not add artificial flavours and keep it natural.
- Calorie: 115 kcal (per 28 grams)
- Protein: 6 grams (per 28 grams)
Feta cheese for diabetics is also one healthy cheese option. These cheese has the second-lowest sodium content and low-calorie content. It is best for weight loss regimes. It is filled with probiotics as it is fermented cheese from sheep and goat milk. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut and are good for digestion.
- Calorie: 74 kcal (per 28 grams)
- Protein: 4.4 grams (per 28 grams)
Read More: List for Best Ice-Creame for Diabetes?
In this article, we deduce the answer to the question: is cheese good for diabetics? And we find cheese for diabetics can be a part of their diet if consumed in moderation. Use cheese as an additive to any food instead of the main ingredient. Cheese is low in glycemic index and carbs but high in saturated fats, sodium and calorie, so it is crucial to watch out for the quantity and portion size. Choose cheese options that are low in fat and sodium. However, consuming it within limits is safe for any diabetes patient. Emmental, Mozzarella, and Wensleydale cheese types contain low sodium levels. Diabetic patients must avoid more salty cheese options like feta or halloumi. Thus, moderation and balance are keys to reducing the risk of high glucose levels and complications like heart problems. Also, you can shift to other healthy fat options.
What Type of Cheese a Diabetic Can Eat?
Cheese for diabetics should be low in fat and sugar content. Some cheeses like mozzarella, cottage, ricotta, Emmental, etc., are suitable for type 2 diabetic people. Its low fat does not affect sugar levels and heart health. Also, consume these cheeses in moderation to avail its benefits.
Can I Eat Cheese If I Have Type 2 Diabetes?
Cheese for diabetics is a good source of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamins A, D, B6, B12, etc. Its glycemic index is low, and it has little to no carbs, so adding it to a diabetic diet can give you some benefits. However, it is high in saturated fat and sodium, so consuming it in moderate amounts can bring out benefits rather than risks. Try to go for healthy low fat and sodium cheese. Also, I used it in small quantities.
Does Cheese Increase Blood Pressure?
Cheese is high in sodium and fat. The sodium content affects the blood pressure and elevates it. People with high blood pressure and diabetes have a four times higher chance of heart disease, so it’s essential to reduce sodium intake. Try to opt for low-sodium cheese options like cottage, mozzarella, Emmental, Wensleydale, etc. Read the label before buying any cheese.
How Much Cheese Per Day Can I Eat Every Day?
Although it depends from person to person based on their weight, height and health conditions, consuming cheese daily might cause problems in your diabetes management. Diabetics looking to control their sugar levels should avoid cheese consumption daily. It is also essential to know your health conditions, glucose levels, and heart health before adding cheese to your diet.
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.