Cheesecake is bad for you. While there are many factors to consider, all the cheesecakes we looked at were very calorific. However, given the variety of recipes, toppings, and cooking methods, some cheesecakes are considerably better for you than others.
If you are a cheesecake lover, then you really love cheesecake. It is rare that one slither of cheesecake is enough to satisfy your cravings. But are you acutely aware of what goes into your favorite dessert? We have researched a broad range of commercially produced cheesecakes to try and determine how bad cheesecake really is.
First up, fat. Your standard portion of cheesecake (80 grams) contains anywhere between 18 and 23 grams of fat - a third of your recommended daily intake (based on a 2000 calorie diet). Even if the fats are of the ‘good’ variety, you stand a much higher risk of going over your recommended allowance. A diet high in fat can quickly increase cholesterol levels, risk of heart disease, and, of course, your pant size.
Cheesecake is also high in sugar. Our 80-gram portion contains approximately 17.5 grams of sugar. Given that the recommended sugar intake is anywhere between 25-36 grams for adults, this serving equates to between 50 and nearly 75% of all the sugar we should consume in one day. A high sugar diet can leave you with a variety of health issues including liver damage, weight gain, dysfunctional metabolism and diabetes. Not too mention the all-too-common tooth decay.
It may also be worth noting that sugar can induce overeating. How? Sugar, unlike nutrients that your body actually needs, does not stimulate insulin. Because of this, the "hunger hormone" in your body - otherwise known as ghrelin - is not suppressed, and your "satiety hormone" - leptin - is left untouched. This is a formula for eating a lot more cheesecake than you might have intended, thus increasing the risk of the health concerns mentioned above.
The good news for cheesecake fans is that regardless of all these health implications, recipes can be modified to reduce the perils of too much cheesecake. Making your own cheesecake rather than buying commercially-produced versions allows you to moderate ingredients to make a far healthier option. Beware, though, that healthier cheesecake does not mean healthy. Even with modification, you are unlikely to be able to replicate a cheesecake for weight loss.
Some of the simplest ways of making your favorite dish more healthy include:
- Reduce the sugar content
- Remove or minimize the crust
- Add healthy toppings such as nuts or fresh fruit
- Use low fat cream cheese or even an alternative like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
So, to wrap things up:
Commercially produced cheesecake is not a healthy option. There is far too much of the wrong ingredients to suggest any real health benefits from consumption. Don’t let this put you off, though. The occasional slice in moderation is unlikely to do any long-term damage, and we all have to treat ourselves once in a while.
Possible short-term side effects
- blood sugar spike
- promotes overeating
Possible long-term side effects
- heart disease
- increased cholesterol
- liver damage
- kidney disease
- tooth decay
- other effects depending on ingredients