If you love cheese than you probably enjoy eating Cheddar cheese. Like most cheeses it is a good source of calcium and protein as well as other good nutrients. It is a high-fat food with saturated fats-but the potential adverse cardiovascular effects are not what you think.
Cheddar cheese originated in Cheddar, England and basically is a concentrated form of milk. It's orange color comes from the flavorless Annatto seed. Cheddar is a hard “sharp” tasting cheese that is created by pressing firm milk curd to effectively squeeze out the whey. Then, the cheese is formed into blocks or cylinders and aged anywhere from 3-20 months. The difference between mild, medium and sharp Cheddar is based on how long it has been aged. The “sharper” the taste the longer it has been aged.
Cheddar, like most cheeses and dairy products, are low in carbohydrates and composed mostly of fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Cheddar is not a source of fiber.
A one-ounce serving of Cheddar cheese will provide about 115 calories of which 75% is fat. Total fat is approximately 9.6 grams with the saturated fat coming in around 5.6 grams. Now you may have heard that saturated fats are bad for your cardiovascular system and bad for your cholesterol. Interestingly enough that is all up for debate. Medical research in recent years shows that saturated fats will increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and change the composition of the bad cholesterol (LDL) from small dense particles to larger (fluffy) particles. The significance of this is that these large fluffy LDL particles do not have the ease of ability to penetrate arterial walls and therefore will not cause plaque build-up that can lead to a cardiovascular event. Small LDL cholesterol is a problem (because it can penetrate the arterial wall) but the large fluffy LDL cholesterol is a resultant benefit of ingesting saturated fats. What needs to be determined is “what is a good recommendation for daily intake of saturated fats?” The main fat in our diets that is really accelerating the disease and illness globally is the trans fat.
Cheddar cheese is low in lactose and is a great source of calcium and phosphorous. Phosphorous potentiates the positive effects of calcium in strengthening our bones. Phosphorous is a great heart-healthy mineral that also supports the liver, kidneys and our ability to detoxify.
Cheddar cheese provides us with a nice source of Selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that supports our immune system and has great anti-oxidant properties.
Cheddar is also a good source of vitamins that include vitamin A, B12 and Riboflavin.
Cheddar is a source of sodium, however, in a one-ounce serving, it only provides 8% of the daily recommended dose.
In terms of purchasing Cheddar cheese, it is best to buy it in block form and shred it yourself. Processed packaged shredded cheeses are not only more expensive but often contain corn starch, potato starch and artificial additives that prevent clumping. It is also an added benefit if you can find a non-GMO Cheddar that comes from grass-fed cows.
Possible short-term side effects
- not a source of fiber which can lead to constipation and bloating
Possible long-term side effects
- large regular consumption can lead to weight gain and possible bump in blood pressure
- some medical professionals feel that the high protein in cheese can pose an increased risk for cancer
Ingredients to be aware of
- since it comes from cows it may contain hormones, steroids or antibiotics
- processed packaged cheese has artificial additives that can be toxic
- low in lactose
- good source of protein
- good source of vitamins a, b12 and riboflavin
- good source of calcium, phosphorous and selenium
- saturated fat component is showing a benefit to the cardiovascular system
Cheddar Cheese (what is this?)
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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 12-15-2017
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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