American Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

American Cheese on parchment paper


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Is American cheese even real cheese? Its official name is “pasteurized processed cheese food" according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But it does contain real cheese even though it is processed. American cheese is made by blending cheese, spices, and sometimes even color to create cheese food.

This type of cheese is often sold as “singles” or can be sliced and comes in white or yellow. American cheese is a good source of protein, dietary fats, calcium, and vitamin D. Here is what you need to know about American cheese.

American Cheese Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information, for one slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese, is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 75
  • Fat: 6.3g
  • Sodium: 342mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.1g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0.5g
  • Protein: 3.7g


Carbs

One slice of American cheese provides 1.1 gram of carbohydrates. Half of the carbohydrate content of American cheese comes from sugar, specifically lactose, which is the sugar found naturally in milk.

Fats

Dietary fats make up 68% of the calories found in one slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese. Of the 6.3 grams of total fats, 3.73 grams are from saturated fats and the remaining are unsaturated fats.

Protein

One slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese provides 3.7 grams of protein. The protein found in American cheese comes from the milk proteins whey and casein. Both whey and casein are high-quality proteins and contain all nine essential amino acids.

Amino acids are required for important body functions like building muscle, producing energy, and acting as precursors for neurotransmitters. Amino acids must be obtained through your diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

American cheese is an excellent source of calcium. One slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese provides 178 milligrams of calcium, which is 17% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

This cheese food is also high in phosphorus (16% of the RDA), vitamin A (2% of the RDA), and vitamin D (10% of the RDA). Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are all important for strong bones and teeth.

Calories

There are about 75 calories in one slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese. Fat provides 68% of the total calories while protein provides about 20%.

Health Benefits

Although American cheese is sometimes high in sodium and fat depending on the brand, American cheese does offer some benefits thanks to its nutritional components. Here is an overview of the potential health benefits of American cheese.

Supports Bone Health

Phosphorus is equally as important to bone health as calcium. Both calcium and phosphorus are responsible for what makes up the matter that provides strength to bones.

Most people do not have a problem getting enough phosphorous from their diet. However, if you are supplementing with high-dose calcium, it could be tying up food-based phosphorus making it less available for absorption.

When paired together properly, like that of dairy products, calcium and phosphorus show positive effects on bone formation and maintenance.

Immune System Support

American cheese is a good source of vitamin D and vitamin D plays a critical role in immune system response. It acts as both an anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory agent.

When a viral threat is high, low levels of vitamin D can leave you more susceptible to getting sick. Ensuring sufficient vitamin D levels may also reduce the severity of illness in the event you do get sick.

Helps with Absorption of Vitamins and Minerals

Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K require dietary fats for transport and absorption into the bloodstream. Without sufficient fat in your diet, you could be missing out on important nutrients. One slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese provides almost 6 grams of dietary fat helping to shuttle essential fat-soluble vitamins where they need to go.

American cheese also is a great source of calcium. But without vitamin D, calcium absorption is lacking. The vitamin D found in American cheese promotes the absorption of calcium and maintains calcium levels for normal bone maintenance and to prevent muscle spasms.

Quality Protein Source

Dairy products like American cheese offer quality protein for those on a meat-free diet. One slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese provides 4 grams of protein, contributing to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day.

The proteins found in American cheese are the dairy proteins casein and whey, both of which provide all nine essential amino acids that you must get from your diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are required for several important body processes including nitrogen balance and growth. A protein deficiency could lead to severe malnutrition.

American cheese is considered a low- or no-carb food with only 1 gram of carbohydrates per one slice (20.6 grams) serving. Including cheese in a low-carb diet would provide quality protein, dietary fats, variety, and satiety.

Allergies

If you have a milk allergy, you likely cannot eat American cheese. Allergies to cow's milk are the most common food allergy in infants and young children. And, even though most kids eventually outgrow their allergies, milk allergies are still the most common food allergies among adults, too.

Sometimes people who are allergic to milk can still tolerate products with baked milk in them. In fact, about 70% of children with a cow's milk allergy can eat baked milk because the proteins in the cow's milk are disrupted by baking. Talk to a healthcare provider before trying foods with baked milk to determine if they are safe for you.

American cheese also contains milk sugar, lactose. Consequently, people who are lactose intolerant may not be able to eat American cheese.

Adverse Effects

One slice (20.6 grams) of American cheese has 342 milligrams of sodium making it a high sodium food. Those with high blood pressure may want to limit American cheese or choose low-sodium varieties. Talk to a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to see if American cheese aligns with your nutrition goals.

Storage and Food Safety

Store American cheese in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 weeks. If the cheese develops mold, an off odor, flavor, or appearance, it should be discarded.

Recipes

Healthy American Cheese Recipes to Try

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