Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Edam Cheese Bad For You?



Short answer

Edam cheese is moderately high in calories and contains beneficial protein and calcium, but also has significant saturated fat and sodium, which should be consumed in moderation. It's low in lactose, making it potentially suitable for those with sensitivities. As a part of a balanced diet, it should be enjoyed in moderation while considering individual health goals and conditions, such as heart health or lactose intolerance.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Edam Cheese

Edam cheese, a semi-hard cheese originating from the Netherlands, has certain nutritional characteristics that can be considered both beneficial and less advantageous, depending on an individual’s dietary needs and health objectives. Below is a detailed analysis of the nutritional profile of Edam cheese.

1. Macronutrient Composition:

  • Caloric Density: Edam cheese generally carries a moderate to high number of calories due to its fat content. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving typically contains between 100-120 calories.
  • Protein: It is a decent source of high-quality protein, providing approximately 7 grams per 1-ounce serving. This makes it a good option for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fat: A significant portion of its calories come from fat, with about 8 grams per serving, which includes both saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • Carbohydrates: Edam cheese is low in carbohydrates, often having less than 1 gram per serving, making it suitable for low-carb diets.

2. Micronutrient Content:

  • Calcium: As a dairy product, it's a rich source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone health. One ounce can provide about 20-30% of the recommended daily intake.
  • Vitamins: It contains a range of B-vitamins, particularly B12, important for nerve health and metabolism.
  • Minerals: Besides calcium, Edam cheese offers phosphorus, zinc, and small amounts of iron and magnesium.

3. Sodium Content:

Edam cheese tends to have a moderate sodium level, with around 200-300 mg per ounce, which is less than many other cheeses. However, those on a sodium-restricted diet should consume it in moderation.

4. Presence of Allergens and Lactose:

Being a dairy product, it contains lactose, although typically in smaller amounts than softer cheeses. It's also a potential allergen for those with a sensitivity or allergy to milk proteins.

The nutritional value of Edam cheese holds potential health advantages such as contributing to protein intake and supplying essential vitamins and minerals. Nonetheless, the caloric and fat content, along with sodium levels, should be considered within the context of a balanced diet. As with many foods, moderation is key, and an individual's health conditions, such as heart disease or lactose intolerance, must be taken into account when incorporating Edam cheese into a diet.

To accurately assess how Edam cheese fits into your dietary pattern, consider consulting the USDA FoodData Central or similar nutrition databases, and harmonize this with your dietary needs and advice from healthcare professionals.

In summary, the nutritional profile of Edam cheese has several noteworthy aspects. While it's a good source of protein and calcium, the fat and sodium content bears watching. For those managing caloric intake or with concerns about heart health, portion control and frequency of consumption are crucial considerations.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Content in Edam Cheese

When evaluating the health implications of consuming Edam cheese, it's important to consider its saturated fat and cholesterol content. Edam, a semi-hard cheese originating from the Netherlands, typically contains a certain percentage of fat, part of which is saturated. Clinical research has shown that excessive intake of saturated fats can elevate low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

According to the USDA FoodData Central, 100 grams of Edam cheese contains about 21 grams of fat, of which approximately 13.5 grams are saturated. This represents a significant portion of the recommended daily value for saturated fat, which, according to the American Heart Association, should not exceed 5% to 6% of total daily calories for individuals with high cholesterol or existing heart disease, and no more than 13 grams per day for those following a 2,000-calorie diet.

Cholesterol is another crucial factor to consider in a heart-healthy diet. Edam cheese has around 90 milligrams of cholesterol per a 100-gram serving, which can contribute notably to the daily dietary cholesterol. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming as little dietary cholesterol as possible while maintaining a healthy eating pattern, although they do not specify a particular daily limit.

However, it should be noted that recent studies have suggested the relationship between dietary cholesterol, such as that found in cheese, and blood cholesterol levels is more complex than previously understood. In fact, some research indicates that the impact of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol is minimal for many people. Despite this, individuals with certain health conditions, or who are predisposed to high cholesterol, should still be cautious about their intake.

For a heart-healthy choice, particularly for those interested in managing their saturated fat and cholesterol intake, it may be advisable to consume Edam cheese in moderation or opt for reduced-fat versions. The table below provides a quick reference for the saturated fat and cholesterol content in common servings of Edam cheese:

Serving Size Saturated Fat (grams) Cholesterol (milligrams)
1 ounce (28g) 3.78 25.2
1 slice (21g) 2.83 18.9
100 grams 13.5 90

Thus, while Edam cheese can be part of a varied and balanced diet, awareness of its saturated fat and cholesterol levels is crucial. Individuals should also consider their overall diet and lifestyle, including physical activity, when determining their consumption levels of Edam cheese.

Ultimately, your individual health goals and dietary requirements will guide your choice regarding the consumption of Edam cheese. It's often advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.

Sodium Levels in Edam Cheese and Blood Pressure Concerns

Edam cheese, like many cheese varieties, contains sodium which is essential for normal physiological functions including nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. However, the relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure is an important consideration for individuals concerned with cardiovascular health.

A standard serving of Edam cheese (1 ounce or 28 grams) typically contains around 200 to 290 milligrams of sodium, which accounts for approximately 9 to 13% of the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams set by the American Heart Association. For those with hypertension or prehypertension, a lower limit of 1,500 milligrams is advised.

Excessive sodium intake can lead to increased blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the majority of adults consume more sodium than is recommended, and this often includes sodium from dairy products like cheese.

Although cheese can be part of a balanced diet, it is important for individuals with blood pressure concerns or sodium-sensitive hypertension to moderate their consumption. Some ways to manage sodium intake from cheeses include:

  • Choosing lower-sodium cheese options.
  • Serving smaller portions of cheese.
  • Balancing cheese consumption with other low-sodium foods throughout the day.
  • Reading nutritional labels carefully to monitor sodium intake.

Nutritional labels can be an invaluable tool for those monitoring their sodium intake. Consumers can look for phrases like "low-sodium," "reduced sodium," or "no salt added" when selecting cheeses. Edam cheese with these labels will typically have less sodium, making them a better choice for those with hypertension concerns.

It is important to also pay attention to the balance of one's overall diet. Incorporating potassium-rich foods, which can counteract the effects of sodium and may help to lower blood pressure, is another strategy recommended by healthcare professionals. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts are all examples of potassium-rich foods that can complement a diet that includes Edam cheese.

Research such as the "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" (DASH) study shows that diets low in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy can significantly lower blood pressure. Those looking to include Edam cheese in their diet should consider the context of their overall dietary pattern and how it aligns with their health goals, especially regarding blood pressure management.

For those with high blood pressure or at risk for heart disease, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice on sodium intake and cheese consumption.

In summary, while Edam cheese can be safely enjoyed in moderation, being mindful of serving size and the amount of sodium it contributes to the diet is crucial, particularly for those monitoring their blood pressure. Balancing cheese intake with other nutrient-dense, low-sodium foods can help maintain a healthy diet without overconsuming sodium.

Lactose Content and Digestive Tolerance of Edam Cheese

Edam cheese, known for its mild flavor and semi-hard texture, is a popular choice among cheese enthusiasts. When considering its lactose content and how it may affect digestive tolerance, it's important to delve into the specifics of this dairy product.

Lactose, the sugar molecule found in milk, can be a source of discomfort for some individuals, particularly those with lactose intolerance. The lactose content in cheese, however, can vary depending on the type and the aging process. During cheese production, most of the lactose is removed with the whey. As the cheese ages, the remaining lactose is broken down by bacteria. The result is that aged cheeses like Edam typically have a much lower lactose content compared to fresh cheeses.

Lactose Levels in Edam Cheese: Studies indicate that many hard, aged cheeses contain less than 0.1 grams of lactose per ounce. Edam cheese, which undergoes a maturation process, is expected to have low lactose levels, making it potentially suitable for individuals with lactose sensitivity. However, the exact lactose content can vary between brands and batches.

For those with lactose intolerance, consuming cheeses with minimal lactose content may still be possible without experiencing adverse digestive symptoms. The Cleveland Clinic has cited aged cheeses as generally being well-tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

Factors Affecting Digestive Tolerance: Apart from the lactose content, factors like the serving size and the presence of fat can influence how well Edam cheese is tolerated. The fat content in cheese can slow down digestion, potentially modulating the effects of lactose. Additionally, individual tolerance levels can vary greatly, meaning that some may ingest small amounts of Edam cheese without discomfort, while others might be more sensitive.

Here's what to consider if you are lactose intolerant or have a sensitive digestive system:

  • Start with a small serving: Gauge your body's reaction to a small amount of Edam cheese before increasing the portion size.
  • Opt for quality: Choose high-quality Edam cheese from reliable producers to ensure a more consistent aging process, which may result in lower lactose content.
  • Consult with the nutrition label: Always check the nutritional information for lactose content if available, or contact the manufacturer for detailed product specifics.
  • Listen to your body: Keep track of any digestive symptoms you may have after eating Edam cheese and discuss these with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

It's important to note that those with a milk allergy or severe lactose intolerance should consult with a healthcare provider before adding Edam cheese or any other dairy products to their diet. Bearing in mind the low lactose content of Edam cheese, it may be an option for those looking to enjoy cheese while managing digestive concerns related to lactose.

Benefits of Calcium and Protein in Edam Cheese

Edam cheese, which hails from the Netherlands, is not just a flavorful addition to a diverse array of dishes; it also offers noteworthy nutritional benefits, particularly in terms of its calcium and protein content. Understanding the advantages of these nutrients can help individuals make more informed decisions about incorporating Edam cheese into their diet.

Calcium: A Cornerstone for Bone Health

  • Strengthens Bones: Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones. Regular consumption of calcium-rich foods like Edam cheese can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. A study in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" has shown that dairy intake is positively associated with bone health in elderly individuals.
  • Supports Dental Health: Along with bone health, calcium plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy teeth. Consuming adequate amounts of calcium can help prevent dental issues such as cavities and tooth decay.
  • Regulates Blood Pressure: Research published in the "American Journal of Hypertension" suggests that dietary calcium may help regulate blood pressure levels. The inclusion of calcium-rich foods in a balanced diet might contribute to cardiovascular health.
  • Muscle Function: Calcium is not only pivotal for bones but also for proper muscle function. It assists in the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles, which is vital for everyday movements and activities.

Protein: Building Blocks of the Body

  • Supports Muscle Health: Protein is a fundamental component of muscle tissue. Consuming adequate protein, as found in Edam cheese, is important for muscle repair and growth, especially relevant for physically active individuals or those looking to maintain muscle mass as they age.
  • Aids in Satiety: Protein-rich foods like Edam cheese can increase feelings of fullness. This can help regulate appetite and may be beneficial for weight management. A study in the "Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism" confirms that high-protein snacks can lead to reduced hunger and caloric intake at subsequent meals.
  • Enhances Tissue Repair: Being rich in protein, Edam cheese aids in the body's ability to repair tissue. Protein plays a critical role in wound healing and the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails.
  • Metabolic Benefits: Protein consumption has been associated with higher thermogenic and metabolic rates as per "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition". Including sources of protein like Edam cheese in one's diet can support a healthy metabolism.
  • Immune Function: As a provider of essential amino acids, the protein in Edam cheese supports the immune system. Adequate protein intake is crucial for the production of antibodies and immune system cells.

In conclusion, while Edam cheese should be consumed in moderation due to its fat and sodium content, its rich supply of calcium and protein offers several benefits that are instrumental in maintaining one's overall health. It is a convenient and versatile food that can contribute positively to a balanced diet when enjoyed responsibly.

Balance and Moderation: Incorporating Edam Cheese into a Healthy Diet

Edam cheese, originating from the Netherlands, is a semi-hard cheese known for its nutty and slightly salty flavor. As with any cheese, Edam can be a beneficial addition to a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. The key is understanding how to integrate it without displacing other essential nutrients.

To ensure that you include Edam cheese as a beneficial part of your diet, consider the following recommendations:

  • Portion Control: Stick to a serving size of about one ounce (28 grams) of Edam cheese. This helps control calorie intake and allows room for other nutritious foods within your meal.
  • Frequency: Enjoy Edam cheese in moderation, considering it as a complementary protein source. Having it a few times a week, rather than daily, helps balance your saturated fat and cholesterol intake.
  • Pair with Whole Foods: Combine Edam cheese with fruits, vegetables, or whole grains to enhance the nutritional value of your meals and ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals are consumed.
  • Calcium Intake: Edam cheese is a good source of calcium, an important mineral for bone health. However, to avoid excess, balance your diet with other calcium-rich foods like leafy greens, almonds, and tofu.
  • Monitor Saturated Fat: Although cheese can provide beneficial nutrients, it is also high in saturated fats. By incorporating it judiciously and balancing with other low-fat protein sources like poultry, fish, or legumes, you can maintain a healthy saturated fat intake.
  • Limit Sodium: Cheese, including Edam, can be high in sodium. Pairing it with foods like fresh vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium, can help manage your overall salt intake.

Remember, while Edam cheese offers protein, essential nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, and phosphorus, incorporating it into a healthy diet requires balancing its intake with other foods to ensure a diverse and nutrient-rich diet. Consultation with a registered dietitian may provide personalized dietary advice to accommodate the inclusion of Edam cheese in a way that is in line with your health goals and dietary needs.

Dietary balance is not just about the foods you include, but also about the frequency and quantity of consumption. When Edam cheese is incorporated thoughtfully, it can be part of a nutritious, varied, and enjoyable diet.

Frequently asked questions

Some manufacturers offer reduced-fat versions of Edam cheese, designed to provide a similar flavor with lower fat content. While the taste may not be identical to full-fat Edam, these alternatives can be more suitable for those managing caloric intake or watching their fat consumption for health reasons.

Edam cheese can be included in a weight loss diet plan as long as it's in moderation and part of a balanced, calorie-controlled diet. With its moderate calorie and high protein content, it may promote satiety. However, due to its fat content, portion size should be carefully managed.

Aged cheeses like Edam may contain probiotics due to the fermentation process. Probiotics are beneficial for gut health, aiding digestion and supporting the immune system. To maximize probiotic intake from cheese, opt for those stating they contain live and active cultures.

Edam cheese is suitable for lacto-vegetarians who consume dairy products. However, some cheeses are made using animal-derived rennet, so it's important for vegetarians to check the cheese's production methods on labels or by contacting the manufacturer to ensure it aligns with their dietary ethics.

Ask a question about Edam Cheese and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased satiety
  • potential digestive discomfort for lactose intolerant individuals

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of heart disease with excessive intake due to saturated fats
  • potential contribution to high blood pressure
  • risk of weight gain due to caloric density

Ingredients to be aware of


  • protein source for muscle repair and growth
  • rich in calcium for bone and dental health
  • contains b-vitamins, particularly b12
  • provides important minerals such as phosphorus and zinc
  • may regulate blood pressure and support cardiovascular health
  • low in carbohydrates
  • suitable for low-carb diets

Healthier alternatives

  • reduced-fat cheeses
  • low-sodium cheese options
  • non-dairy calcium sources like leafy greens, almonds, tofu
  • plant-based protein sources

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Baby Swiss Cheese

  • Certified organic
  • Rich in protein
  • Alpine style cheese
  • Convenient slices
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-15-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-15-2024

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