Is Paneer Good for Diabetes? – Check Cheese Glycemic Index Value

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Damanjit Duggal, MD, MBBS April 12, 2022

Last updated on September 9th, 2022

Cheese is an ancient staple, cherished for its flavour, assets, creamy texture, and satiating properties. It is a nutrient-packed dairy product, offering vitamins, minerals, protein, and fats. The storage of cheese blocks containing slight moisture such as aged cheddar is easy. And, people can take them during travel as they do not need refrigeration. The toleration power of cheese might be better in comparison to milk in few individuals. As, it contains less amounts of lactose, a form of sugar not digested when individuals are short of enzyme for breaking it. Read this blog to know “Is Panner Good For Diabetics and What is the Glycemic Index of Cheese?”

Is Paneer Good for Diabetes?

Cheese contains high amounts of fat and calories than other foods. Also, it may not appear as an obvious option for diabetics. Yet, a diabetic person may enjoy many ranges of cheese without spiking their glucose levels or gaining weight.

By keeping the cheese intake in moderation, people who adore this familiar food might enjoy. And, that too, with no harm of health. Diabetic people must opt for healthy cheese options. Also, they must ensure that they consume them with foods with low-calories and high-fiber. This would make a diabetic-friendly snack item, absolutely safe for diabetics.

Nutrition Information About Cheese

Cheese is a complete diary item. It is a natural food product with no or minimal processing.

Nutritive value a person obtains from cheese may differ a lot. And, this is based upon the type of cheese he or she consumes and the quantity as well. People must avoid highly processed cheese. This is due to the reason that they comprise high sodium amounts and additives.

The valuable nutrients present in cheese can be:

  • Vitamins A, B12, D, K
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Protein

Approximately 28 g of American cheese consists of:

  • 104 calories
  • 9 g fat
  • 5 g protein
  • 1 g carbs
  • 0.6 g sugar
  • 0 g fiber
  • 470 mg sodium
  • 290 mg calcium

And, 28 g of Feta cheese contains:

  • 60 calories
  • 5 g protein
  • 4 g fat
  • 1 g carbs
  • 360 mg sodium
  • 60 mg calcium

The crucial point while to locating healthy options of cheeses is “read its label”.

Summary

Diabetic people should be aware of the portion sizes of cheese they eat. This helps in managi Benefits For People With Diabetes

Also Read: Normal blood sugar levels chart

Cheese Benefits For People With Diabetes

Cheese is prepared from the milk of animals (raised 100% grass-fed). It consists of vitamin K2 and omega-3 fatty acids. This vitamin has an important role in blood coagulation. Studies even found that dairy items such as cheese may aid in keeping teeth free of cavities.

Other major benefits of cheese for diabetics can be:

Reduces Blood Pressure

The rich amounts of calcium in cheese helps to decrease blood pressure. A proper blood pressure control involves eating a low-sodium and low-fat cheese. And, that too in moderate amounts. So, the options of such cheeses are:

  • ricotta cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • goat cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • feta cheese.

Bone and Muscle Health

Cheese contains protein and calcium. And, both of these makes it great for strong bones and muscle development. Also, cheese contains an abundant whey protein. It is a similar type of protein that many muscle-building supplements use.

Cheese is prepared from milk, also is dense in calcium. Calcium aids in the development of bones, makes them stronger. Also, it prevents the problem of osteoporosis with age. Also, cheese packs vitamins like A, D, K. And, zinc in cheese helps in bone health too.

Protection of Blood Vessels

Studies indicate that cheese might be a good source of glutathione. It is an antioxidant that aids in maintaining brain health. Also, this property might aid in a better working of blood vessels. A recent study established that blood vessels of people who consumed cheese were healthier than people who consumed soy cheese or pretzels.

Less Inflammation

Dairy fats in cheese comprise conjugated linoleic acid. This might be useful in lowering inflammation. And, in turn aids in preventing cardiovascular problems and obesity. Research indicate various full-fat dairy items might be healthy when had in limits.

Gut Health

Fermented food products such as cheese comprise probiotic bacteria. Also, healthy gut bacteria might keep the cholesterol levels in healthy range.

So, the question comes, is cheese good for diabetics?

Cheese for diabetics is safe (only in moderation). Diabetic people may safely consume it as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Just like other foods, moderation is very important. And, thus, a diet involving excessive cheese may be damaging for diabetics or non-diabetics. Diabetics may consider the following factors while choosing a cheese for adding in their diets.

Saturated Fat

Cheese contains high amount of saturated fat than other foods. In little amounts, saturated fat is not harmful and is helpful for the body. Yet, an excess may lead to heart problems, weight gain, high cholesterol levels, and gallbladder diseases.

The AHA suggests a diet comprising below 5-6% of saturated fat. This implies that in a 2,000-calorie meal plan, below 120 calories must originate from saturated fats.

Healthcare providers suggest a below 10% daily calorie consumption of saturated fat. This increases the quantity of cheese an individual may take in. Diabetic patients can reach these goals by adhering to a diet containing below one serving of cheese a day.

The link between heart problems and saturated fat consumption is not clear though. As diabetic patients already experience an increased risk of heart problems than others, they might wish to lower their saturated fat consumption. The stress for diabetics must be to follow a plant-based diet containing high unsaturated fats.

Also Read: Is Diabetes Reversal Possible?

Calories

Cheese contains very high amounts of calories and fat. The calorie content of cheese differs according to its varieties. And, diabetic patients must avoid its overeating. Type 2 diabetes has a powerful association with obesity. Also, losing some pounds might even lower down the risk of diabetes. Above 87% of diabetic patients are obese or overweight.

Numerous steps may aid diabetics consume cheese and reduce weight gain. These can be:

  • Adhere to little cheese servings.
  • Opt for a lower-calorie range of cheese.
  • Utilize cheese for flavour instead of using it is a major component of a diet.

Sodium

Diabetic patients must keep their salt (or, sodium) consumption to 2,300 mg per day or less. Salt may even raise a person’s blood pressure. And, this may cause or deteriorate the diabetes-associated cardiovascular problems.

Cheese often contains a huge amount of salt, chiefly processed cheeses. A study established a mean salt content of processed cheese i.e., 863 mg per 100 grams. And, it was found that fresh cheese had a mean salt content of 498 mg per 100 grams. To reduce this sodium content, individuals may opt for fresh cheese over processed variety.

Also Read: Alcohol and Diabetes

Cheese (Paneer) and its Glycemic Index

The GI score of various cheese varieties falls in the range of 0-10. The GI values of cheddar, cream cheese, and 93% fat-free cheddar are 0. Simultaneously, cottage cheese, low-fat processed cheese, both have GIs of 10. Cottage cheese comprises a higher number of carbs. And, thus more sugar than cheddar cheese. Including cheese to a high GI food item carries a beneficial effect. Specifically, cheddar cheese when added to a potato meal considerably reduces its GI value.

Summary

Cheese glycemic index is very low. It carries a neutral or positive effect on the glycemic response of a diet. Diabetic patients may safely include cheese to their diets in moderate amounts.

Is Paneer Good for Diabetes?

Cheese is protein-rich

Cheese is usually rich in protein. This is great to assist in balancing the blood glucose spikes that may happen while having carbs alone. When consumed in combination, they take a long time to burn off. Also, protein assists in giving a satiated feeling to individuals. As a result, lowers the cravings for other unwholesome foods.

The quantity of protein differs based upon the type of cheese. For instance, 28 grams of parmesan comprises 10 g of protein. Whereas, cheddar comprises 7 g of protein. Cottage cheese contains below 3 g per 28 grams.

Cheese helps in maintaining healthy blood sugars

Diabetic patients should consider the glycemic content of food products they eat. This depends upon how rapidly a person’s body is capable of digesting the carbs in those foods. Many cheese varieties comprise slight or no carbs. And, therefore they rate very low on the glycemic index scale.

Cheddar cheese comprises just 0.4 g of carbs per 28 grams. Swiss cheese comprises 1.5 grams of carbs per 28 grams. Hence, it is vital to read the nutritional label given on several cheeses.

Summary

Cheese assists in reducing an individual’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, if a person consumes 2 slices of cheese in a day, his or her risk of diabetes reduces by 12%.

Risks of Cheese For Diabetics

For all the advantages, there are a few dietary danger signals. In addition, cheese must not be taken with abandon. A few points to remember while consuming cheese may involve:

Cheese contains a rich amount of fat and calories

Studies have found that lowering a person’s risk for heart problems, dairy fat is not always the best choice. While people may consume dairy fat in moderation, healthy choices can be unsaturated fats from:

  • nuts and seeds
  • avocados
  • veggie oils
  • fish

The USDA suggests that below 10% of the daily calories must derive from saturated fats. Also, cheese is rich in calories, thus portion control is vital. For instance, 28 grams of cheddar cheese contains 110 calories. Decreased and non-fat cheese varieties might be healthier alternatives.

Dairy Hypersensitivities or Intolerances

Not every person has a tolerance for dairy. Few individuals are hypersensitive to it. Luckily, there are enough of other foods like nuts, that offer a majority of same and added nutritional benefits as cheese. Also, there are certain dairy-free cheese alternatives, characteristically comprising less protein.

Keep a Track of Sodium

Diabetic patients must limit sodium. As, it may raise blood pressure and cause heart problems. A few varieties of cheese contain high sodium content than others. For instance, feta cheese contains about 316 mg sodium in 28 grams. Whereas, mozzarella cheese contains 4 mg sodium per 28 grams. A person must check labels and opt for low-sodium alternatives when possible. The USDA suggest for adults and children more than 13 years to limit sodium to below 2,300 mg per day.

Also Read: Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

Best and Worst Varieties of Cheese For Diabetics

Mozzarella is a wonderful low-sodium cheese alternative for diabetics. It is the best cheese for diabetics. Diabetic people must not consume processed cheeses. These may include cheese sprays or single-slice packaged cheese. Such cheese options contain huge amounts of salt. Also, they may comprise other, risky constituents for diabetics.

Other high-salt cheese varieties may involve: 

  • Edam
  • feta
  • halloumi
  • imported blue

Low-sodium cheeses are:

  • cream cheese
  • Emmental
  • mozzarella
  • low-sodium cottage cheese
  • Wensleydale

Diabetic patients must keep in mind the following:

  • Fermented cheeses, like feta, cottage cheeses, cheddar, ricotta cheese offer probiotics.
  • 28 grams of provolone delivers a complete daily value of calcium.
  • Parmesan contains a higher protein than other cheeses. It contains 8 grams per serving, and somewhat lower calorie content.
  • The flavour of Neufchatel is much similar to cream cheese, and with 1/3rd of the fat content.

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that improves a person’s well-being. Also, probiotics may:

  • lower the risk of heart problems
  • reduce the risk of yeast infections that diabetics are prone to
  • improve digestive health.

Low-salt ranges of cheese are mostly a healthy selection that individuals can make.

Summary

Many cheese varieties comprise similar amounts of saturated fat, however, a few comprise more. Together with exploring the salt and saturated fat content, diabetics may also check the overall nutritional value. Cheeses rich in calcium, protein, or other minerals are especially healthy.

How to Eat Cheese When You’re Diabetics

A safe combo for diabetics can be cheese and sprouted-grain crackers. One serving of cheese is quite less, roughly 28 grams in weight. Individuals must make a habit to check the package for serving size. And, adhering to just one serving is vital. To prepare a more pleasing serving, individuals may try consuming it with other fiber-rich foods.

A few alternatives that go with cheese can be:

  • Cheese as a salad dressing: a majority of salad dressings contain rich amounts of salt and calories. Cheese delivers delightful flavour and extra protein. Low-fat cheese, avocado and some lime juice might be a great way to increase the flavour of a salad.
  • Cheese and bread or some sprouted-grain crackers: These food products contain rich fiber and nutrients. All these may exert a positive impact on blood glucose levels than other carbs.
  • Avocado and 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 flavor.

Summary

Cheese contains a rich amount of fat and salt. However, consuming it in limits is safe for any person having diabetes. A few varieties of cheese, particularly fresh ones, might even lower the risk of diabetes in individuals who are not diabetic. Emmental, Mozzarella, and Wensleydale varieties of cheese contain low sodium levels. Diabetic patients must avoid more salty cheese options like feta or halloumi. Thus, moderation and balance are key to reduce the risk of high glucose levels and its complications like heart problems.

FAQs:

Is Cheddar cheese unwholesome?

Cheddar cheese contains moderately high levels of saturated fat than other dairy items. Consuming foods rich in saturated fats may elevate the cholesterol levels and puts a person at risk of heart problems.

What is the suggested healthy amount of cheese for a day?

Consumption of roughly 40 grams of cheese daily might aid in decreasing the risk of cardiac problems or stroke.

Does dairy increase the levels of insulin?

Milk and milk products are effective insulin secretagogues. Their intake promotes short-term high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia).

Does cheese have an effect on the blood pressure?

Cheese is a rich source of calcium and protein. It contains a high amount of saturated fat and salt. This implies consuming an excess of it might cause high BP and high cholesterol. And, this increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems.

References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317222#benefits
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/cheese#benefits

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

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.

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