Keto cheese crackers

Keto Cheese: Your Guide to Cheese on Keto Diet

On the keto diet, you are supposed to restrict yourself to foods that are high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in net carbs.

While it can be relatively easy to put certain foods in these categories, like nuts and fatty cuts of meat, for example, it can be a little more difficult including something like a dairy product. You may know that cow’s milk is off limits due to its carb content, but what about something like cheese? Can you eat cheese on a keto diet?

In short, yes, you can! You just need to be mindful of the kinds of cheese you choose while on the keto diet. To help you out, we have put together a guide to cheese on keto that you can reference the next time you want to incorporate some of that cheesy goodness into a keto recipe or snack.

Keep reading for your guide to cheese on the keto diet!

What Are the Benefits of Eating Cheese on a Keto Diet?

Cheese in general can be a great source of vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc. If you choose cheese that has been made from milk from 100% grass-fed animals, it will also contain vitamin K2 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid.

Adding cheese to your diet may also promote certain health outcomes, such as better cognition with age and a slightly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. While these types of outcomes are certainly a plus, above all, incorporating cheese into your keto diet adds some much-needed flavor, texture, and variety to your meals.

Cheese can help add some flavor to an otherwise bland recipe or can be a great satiating snack on its own. It’s a great way to keep things interesting while you are on a keto diet.

What Are the Drawbacks of Eating Cheese on a Keto Diet?

For most people, as long as they are watching the carb content of their cheeses, choosing high-quality options, and consuming in moderation, then there are not necessarily any real drawbacks to consuming cheese on keto.

Unfortunately, some people out there have dairy intolerances, and they are the ones who need to be careful if they want to add cheese to their diets.

If someone does have a dairy food intolerance, it is typically because they are either sensitive to the lactose (milk sugar) or casein (milk protein) in these kinds of products. Those with these sensitivities simply do not have the digestive enzymes that are needed to break down milk sugar and protein, and therefore may experience side effects such as digestive and metabolic problems, skin reactions, and fatigue. If you have noticed any of these symptoms after eating dairy products, then you may want to avoid adding cheese to your diet.

What Makes the Best Keto-Friendly Cheese?

If you are considering cheese as part of your keto diet, then keep the following in mind:

  • Look for cheese made from milk from grass-fed animals. If cows eat grass instead of grains, their milk has increased levels of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cheese that has been made with non-homogenized milk is healthier than homogenized options. Avoid any kind of cheese that is reduced fat or is made from skim or mass-produced milk, if possible.
  • Try for cheese made from unpasteurized, raw milk, as it contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria that typically get destroyed during the pasteurization process.
  • Organic, raw cheese is one of the best choices, but if you do not like or cannot find raw cheese then organic is also fine. Organic cheese may still be from homogenized and pasteurized milk, but it should be free from any kind of synthetic hormones if you know the animal was fed an organic diet.

What Are the Best Kinds of Cheese on a Keto Diet?

Kinds of Cheese on a Keto Diet

If you do not want to go searching through the grocery store and reading labels to find the best cheeses, use our keto cheese list of our favorite choices:

  • Blue cheese. An ounce of blue cheese has about 100 calories, 0.7 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat. This stinky, aged cheese can pack a lot of flavor, so it is great as a snack or as an addition to meals.
  • Parmesan cheese. A tablespoon of grated parmesan has about 21 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, 0.7 grams of carbs, and 1.4 grams of protein. Another low carb cheese, perfect for topping vegetables with a little extra protein, fat, and flavor.
  • Cream cheese. An ounce of cream cheese has about 84 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and 2 grams of protein. The high fat and low carb content make cream cheese a great keto food, so add it to meals or a recipe that could use more fat.

What Are the Worst Kinds of Cheese for a Keto Diet?

While a lot of cheeses could technically fit into the keto diet due to their macronutrient content, you want to try and incorporate the healthiest overall cheeses to maximize their benefits. In that case, try and stay away from the following:

  • Spray and canned cheese sauce. These tend to be heavily processed and contain a lot of fillers, oils, and stabilizers that do not provide much if any nutritional benefit.
  • Low fat or reduced fat cheese. On the keto diet, you want the fat content so you are missing out on that unnecessarily if you choose these kinds of cheese.
  • Bagged, pre shredded cheese, and pre-sliced cheese singles. To keep the cheese from sticking together, these typically contain added starches and artificial preservatives. It is best to just get a block of cheddar cheese for instance, and shred or slice it yourself.

Should I Really Eat Cheese on Keto?

A lot of people do choose to stay off dairy entirely while on keto, either because of intolerances or their desire for a healthier fat source, and that is perfectly fine. However, if you like cheese and think it will add some much-needed taste, variety, and texture to your keto recipes, then do not shy away from it! Just stick to our guide and feel free to indulge in some cheesy goodness while you are on your keto diet without worrying about dropping out of ketosis. You will be fine!