Some cheeses provide many of the nutrients that are naturally present in milk, while other cheeses offer less nutritional benefits. Here’s a closer look at the differences in cheese nutrition.
Cheese has been around for thousands of years and can be made from milk from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo. Lots of people love cheese because of its great diversity in taste and texture and because there are many benefits of cheese in different meals and eating occasions.
But there are also many questions about cheese nutrition, for example: Is cheese bad for you? Is cream cheese healthy? Is cottage cheese good for you? Is yellow cheese fattening?
It's true that some cheeses can be high in fat, and you should watch out for too much fat in your diet. But if your diet is balanced and you have an active lifestyle, you can enjoy cheese in moderate amounts.
Fat is not the only nutrient in cheese to consider. There are some nutritional benefits of cheese, so let's take a closer look at the specific cheese benefits.
Cheese nutrition facts
Here is an overview of the fat, protein and calcium levels in some of the main cheese types:
Please note that these are illustrative examples based on average products – please look at the label of your cheese for the specific nutritional values.
Hard or semi-hard yellow cheese nutrition facts
Classic hard or semi-hard yellow cheese like cheddar, gouda or havarti is basically a concentration of the substances in milk. When cheese is made, we add an enzyme called rennet that is naturally present in the cow and it makes the milk coagulate. The milk water (whey) is drained from the product during the fermentation. The process therefore leads to a higher concentration of nutrients such as fat, protein and calcium.
Hard or semi-hard yellow cheese can be one of many alternative sources of calcium and protein if you don’t drink milk. During the cheese fermentation process lactose is ‘digested’ by the live cultures, which is why yellow cheese is low in lactose and can often be enjoyed if you are lactose intolerant.
Hard or semi-hard yellow cheese benefits:
Protein: Yellow cheese is a high-protein food, also compared to most other cheese types. Protein is good for kids as protein is needed to grow and develop children’s bones. Protein also helps you maintain your bones throughout life as an adult and it helps you maintain and grow your muscle mass.
Calcium: Yellow cheese is also rich in calcium with 200mg calcium from 25g hard cheese. Calcium helps you to maintain normal growth and development of your bones and teeth. Calcium is also good for kids as calcium helps grow and develop their bones.
Vitamin B12: Yellow cheese is a source of vitamin B12. B12 contributes to reduce tiredness and fatigue and helps you maintain a normal function of the immune system.
Vitamin B2: Yellow cheese is a source of vitamin B2, also called riboflavin. B2 contributes to reducing tiredness and fatigue.
Zinc: Yellow cheese contains zinc. Zinc helps you maintain a normal function of your immune system and to the maintenance of normal bones, skin, hair and nails.
Phosphorus: Yellow cheese contains phosphorus. Phosphorus helps you maintain normal bones and normal teeth. It is also needed for the normal growth and development of bone in children.
Please note that some hard or semi-hard yellow cheeses have a high amount of fat, while others are fat-reduced.
White cheese nutrition facts
White cheese is a mediterranean style cheese that brings taste and texture to many dishes and salads, but it also has a number of nutritional benefits.
Phosphorus: White cheese contains phosphorus. Phosphorus helps you maintain normal bones and teeth. It is also needed for the normal growth and development of bone in children.
Protein: White cheese is a source of protein. Protein is good for kids as protein is needed to grow and develop children’s bones. Protein also helps you maintain your bones throughout life as an adult and it helps you maintain and grow your muscle mass.
Calcium: White cheese contains calcium. Calcium helps you to maintain normal growth and development of your bones and teeth. Calcium is also good for kids as calcium helps grow and develop children’s bones.
Vitamin B12: White cheese contains vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 contributes to reduction in tiredness and fatigue and helps you maintain a normal function of the immune system.
White cheese can be both high or low in fat depending on the specific product, and it’s usually high in salt.
Processed cheese nutrition facts
Processed cheese is made from milk ingredients. We add a little extra salt to make it easier to spread. One of the processed cheese benefits is that it has a long shelf life and is a convenient food to bring on hikes, camping etc. because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you open it.
Processed cheese contains protein and calcium, but not in high amounts. It’s often high in salt and fat, which means that you should only include a smaller amount of processed cheese in your diet.
Arla has made a lighter processed cheese variant of our most popular processed cheese Puck with 30% less fat and 25% less salt
Soft cheese nutrition facts
The nutritional benefit of creamy soft cheese is low. Classic cream cheese can be high in fat, however there are reduced-fat alternatives.
Arla’s cream cheeses are made from natural ingredients and can be a fresh alternative to butter and other cream cheeses with many additives.
Cottage cheese nutrition facts
The main cottage cheese benefit is that it’s high in protein. The fat content is between 1% or 5% fat depending on the product. Cottage cheese is a great ingredient in a salad or sandwich and also a nice snack to keep you going during the day.
Try out Arla Protein Cottage Cheese containing 20g of protein per serving.