If you follow a ketogenic diet, you will know how important it is to avoid carbohydrates wherever you can. Since a ketogenic diet centers on fueling your body with fats and proteins rather than sugars, it is incredibly important that the foods you eat are keto-friendly.
One type of food that raises plenty of questions amongst followers of the ketogenic diet is cottage cheese. While some believe it is a great source of healthy fats and proteins, others feel that most dairy products contain too many sugars and carbs to be truly keto-friendly.
If you have been wondering whether or not cottage cheese is keto-friendly, we are here to provide answers. We will start by explaining why cottage cheese is such a popular health food to begin by explaining what it is and by breaking down its nutritional content. From there, we will explain whether or not you should eat cottage cheese on a ketogenic diet. As a bonus, we will even suggest some keto-friendly ways to eat cottage cheese!
If you are unfamiliar with cottage cheese, it is a soft, white, and creamy type of cheese. Its unique texture comes from the fact that it has not undergone a full aging process, which also explains why it lacks flavor when compared to other varieties of cheese.
Essentially, cottage cheese uses the curds of various levels of pasteurized cow’s milk. It is available in non-fat, reduced-fat, or full milk fat varieties. You can even find lactose-free and sodium-free varieties.
Part of why cottage cheese is so popular is that it has a long history of being touted as a healthy food for those looking to lose weight. It is naturally high in protein and calcium while remaining relatively low in calories.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, cottage cheese exploded in popularity as people saw it as an affordable and healthy weight loss aid.
As mentioned above, cottage cheese is available in different varieties. While the nutritional content of each type of cottage cheese is slightly different, there is no denying that all types of cottage cheese deliver an impressive amount of protein in relatively few calories.
You will find nutritional information for a ½ cup (100g) serving of various types of cottage cheese below:
|Type of Cottage Cheese||Calories||Carbohydrates||Fat||Protein Content|
|1% Reduced Fat||72||3g||1g||12g|
|2% Reduced Fat||81||5g||2g||10g|
|4% Full Fat||98||3g||4g||11g|
Not only is cottage cheese a good source of protein, but it is also full of important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B12 and B6.
In short, yes, cottage cheese can be a keto-friendly food. As long as it does not contain added sugars and other carbohydrates, which you will sometimes find with flavored varieties, you can include it in a ketogenic diet.
In many ways, cottage cheese can work out quite well as a keto-friendly snack, as it is a great source of healthy fats and packs plenty of protein. However, it is important to acknowledge the nutritional differences between the different types of cottage cheese. As the chart above illustrates, full-fat varieties of cottage cheese tend to offer more fat and protein and fewer carbohydrates than the non-fat and low fat cottage cheese varieties.
In other words, if you are on a strict ketogenic diet, you will want to check the nutritional information of the packaging and select a variety of cottage cheese that is the highest in fat and protein, while remaining the lowest in carbohydrates. This means looking out for plain, full fat cottage cheese varieties that contain zero added sugars.
Given that cottage cheese delivers plenty of protein but remains relatively low in calories, it is an excellent food for those who want to build strength and muscle.
Because cottage cheese comes from cow’s milk, the particular type of protein it contains is called casein, a slow-release milk protein that can help with muscle repair and growth.
Cottage cheese tastes fairly plain, which means you can easily use it as a base for other ingredients. Many people will add seeds, nuts, and berries to cottage cheese to create a tasty and nutritious keto-friendly breakfast or lunch.
Given that cottage cheese is packed with fat and protein, it will keep you feeling full and satisfied for much longer than other types of food.
Like certain types of yogurt, cottage cheese is packed with probiotics, and it can help promote a healthy gut microbiome, which will help promote a healthy and functional digestive system.
Gut and digestive system health are important for proper immune system function, as it helps with the absorption and distribution of nutrients throughout the body.
While you can certainly eat cottage cheese on its own, there are ways you can make it more interesting and filling.
As mentioned above, some people treat cottage cheese-like full-fat Greek yogurt and use it as a base for a keto-friendly breakfast or lunch. Consider adding chia seeds, hemp hearts, high-fat nuts, berries, cinnamon, and keto-friendly sweeteners, like Stevia or Sucralose.
You can also make a savory version by adding olive oil, fresh herbs, salt, roasted red peppers, and chopped olives.
There are also plenty of keto-friendly recipes out there that use cottage cheese as a central ingredient. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious keto-friendly lasagna and casserole recipes that call for a healthy helping of full-fat cottage cheese.
Many keto dieters also make baked goods that call for cottage cheese, including carb-free keto muffins, keto-friendly cloud bread, and more.
Cottage cheese can be a keto-friendly food that you can safely incorporate into your diet; however, it is important to keep an eye out for added sugars. You should also choose the full-fat options as they contain far fewer carbohydrates, as well as a higher fat and protein content.