7 top picks for 'real' cheeses

Fuelling Your Body


Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Having established what real chesses and processed cheeses are, if you are a cheese lover who is not lactose-intolerant, the next question is how do you choose healthier cheeses for yourself? To this end, here are my top seven picks for real cheese.


Feta is a brined curd, giving the cheese a salty, tangy flavour. It is an aged cheese with a grainy texture and quite easily crumbled. This cheese is best used in salads and soup, but is also used grilled or as regular table cheese.

Features: Lower fat and calories.

One ounce serving: Calories 75, Fat 6 grammes, Protein 4 grammes.


Due to its high moisture content, this cheese has to be vacuum sealed for sale. However, mozzarella is best served a day old, but can last up to a month when refrigerated.

This cheese is commonly used to make pizza and pasta dishes. The taste ranges from mild to sharp, depending on the length of time dipped in brine. It is also sold as string cheese. Check your packaging to make sure it's 100 per cent mozzarella.

One ounce serving: Calories 78, fat 5 grammes, protein 8 grammes.

Italian ricotta

Originally, this is a low-fat cheese made from whey instead of whole milk. It is made from sheep, goat, buffalo, or cow's milk and made using the whey leftovers from other cheese production.

Ricotta means “recooked”, which gives the meaning to the cheese because it is the harvesting of the leftover protein in the whey, via fermentation.

One ounce serving: Calories 54, fat 4 grammes, protein 3.5 grammes.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan) is normally made from unpasteurised cow's milk — partially from whole milk and partially skimmed milk. Parmesan is lower in fat than other cheeses.

It is especially easy to grate and its strong punchy flavour makes it ideal for soups, salads and pasta dishes.

One ounce serving: Calories 119, fat 8 grammes (fat-free options available), 8 grammes of protein.


Gouda, when made from part-skim milk and aged at least a year, cuts the lactose content. Its smooth texture and mild taste make it particularly great for sandwiches. Aged Gouda is usually served as a snack and goes well with wine.

One ounce serving: Calories 100, 7.8 grammes of fat, 7.1 grammes of protein.


There are different varieties of the Swiss, like Baby Swiss and Lacy Swiss. Baby Swiss is made from whole milk, while Lacy Swiss is made from low-fat milk. Both have small holes and are mild in flavour. It is good in sandwiches, with eggs, with fruit, or in cubes as a snack.

One ounce serving: Calories 107.7, fat 8 grammes, protein 7.6 grammes.

Compared to some other cheeses, it's low in sodium and potassium. Low-sodium, low-fat versions are available.

Cottage cheese

This is an unaged and unprocessed cheese, perhaps in its most natural form. It is undrained, not pressed, allowing some of the whey to remain. The curd is washed to remove acidity, thus giving off a slightly sweet flavour. Cottage cheese is usually low in fat, but some varieties are made from whole milk, which may contain high fat content.

One ounce serving: Calories 46, fat 1.3 grammes, protein 6 grammes.

Sodium content tends to be high at 30 per cent, but it compensates for its valuable vitamins and minerals.

As always, there is strong evidence that moderation is best, in this case a half to two ounces. So, enjoy, in moderation and choose wisely.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 968-8238, or visit their website at

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