Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Cheese is a food that many of us crave. Some people add cheese to salads, others layer it on sandwiches and some just enjoy cheese on its own. Either way, cheese provides a creamy flavor that most of us find satisfying. But cheese calories and fat can add up quickly and some cheese choices are healthier than others.

Nutrition Facts

If you're a cheese lover, then there's good news for you. Not all cheese is unhealthy for your diet. In fact, there are plenty of ways to include cheese in a weight loss or weight maintenance plan, you'll just need to be careful about what you buy and how much you eat.

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one slice (22g) of Swiss cheese.

  • Calories: 86
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Sodium: 40.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5.9g

One of the lowest calorie cheeses is skim mozzarella. One stick of part skim mozzarella cheese (28g) provides around 84 calories, 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat. This lower fat, lower calorie cheese is easy to shred or slice, easy to use in recipes and melts well. Many people also keep skim mozzarella sticks in the refrigerator so that they have a quick protein snack ready to go.

Parmesan is another popular cheese among healthy eaters. One tablespoon of shredded Parmesan cheese (from a hard block) provides just 21 calories and 1.4 grams of protein. And because Parmesan has an intense flavor, it's easy to use less of it on your favorite dish.

A single one-ounce serving of Swiss cheese provides just over 100 calories and just under 8 grams of fat. Other popular cheese varieties have calorie counts in the same range, according to USDA data.

  • A single serving of cheddar cheese provides 114 calories, 7 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat.
  • A single serving of blue cheese provides 100 calories, 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat
  • A single serving of American cheese (pasteurized and processed) provides 94 calories, 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat. But American cheese calories can be tricky to calculate. Many cheese "singles" are less than one ounce and are likely to provide closer to 71 calories.

Less Healthy Cheese Options

Cheese calories and nutrition are less healthy in products that are heavily processed. Why? Because they often contain less healthy ingredients like oil and other fillers to boost texture and flavor. 

  • Cheese singles. Many individually-wrapped, processed American singles are not actually cheese, but a cheese-like product that contains oil and other ingredients.
  • Cheese spray. Cheese that comes in a can is only part cheese. If you check the ingredients label on your favorite canned cheese, you'll probably see that it contains oils and other additives.
  • Cheese dips. Many jarred cheese products are made by combining cheese and other ingredients like oil and artificial flavors to make them creamy and spicy.

Health Benefits and Drawbacks 

Even though cheese provides saturated fat, when you consume dairy products, like cheese, you gain certain health benefits. Cheese provides both protein and fat to improve satiety or the feeling of fullness and satisfaction you get after eating.

In addition, like many dairy products, real cheese is a good source of calcium. Your bones need calcium to stay healthy. Calcium can also contribute to a healthy heart and strong muscles.

Some studies have shown that eating cheese may be helpful to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. However, most health experts still recommend that you limit your saturated fat intake. Cheese is a source of saturated fat.

Lastly, if you are watching your sodium intake, be sure to check the nutrition facts label for cheese before you buy. Some varieties of cheese, like cottage cheese or feta, have higher levels of sodium than others.

Cheese Calories and Weight Loss

When considering how much cheese to eat, it's helpful to know that a single serving of cheese is one ounce. That's about one thin slice or two small cubes, roughly the size of a pair of dice. It's easy to serve yourself more than an ounce of cheese, so if you are counting calories or fat be aware of the amount you want to consume.

When using low-calorie or low-fat cheese, keep in mind that while some may enjoy the taste and texture of these products, they don't always melt well or provide the same creamy texture as full-fat cheese. Also, be aware that if you eat more low-calorie cheese in an effort to satisfy your cheese ravings you may end up consuming more fat and calories as a result.

And lastly, consider the way you eat cheese. Sometimes, it's not the cheese calories that do harm to your diet, but rather the wine, crackers or bread that you consume with the cheese. If you love cheese but are watching your calories, consider pairing it with a slice of fresh fruit.

Cheese Recipes

If you're a cheese lover, try a mac and cheese recipe to keep cheese in your healthy diet. Enjoy your cheesy meal with vegetables and fresh fruit to make it more nutritious.

A Word From Verywell

Because it is a source of saturated fat, the American Heart Association's Presidential Advisory has evaluated the role of cheese in a heart-healthy diet. They recommend that Americans reduce their intake of all saturated fats, including cheese. So, if you choose to add cheese to your meal, just aim to eat it in moderation.

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9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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