Can People with Diabetes Eat Cheese?
Cheese is heavy in fat and calories compared to many other foods, so it may not seem the best option for people with diabetes. A person with diabetes, on the other hand, can eat a range of cheeses without raising their blood sugar, blood pressure, or weight.
Individuals who adore cheese can do so without jeopardizing their health by adopting a balanced approach to consuming it.
People with diabetes should choose healthy cheese and pair them with high-fiber, low-calorie items for diabetic-friendly meals or snacks.
Is white cheese ok for people with diabetes?
Feta is a smooth, creamy white cheese that has been brined. It has a low calorie and fat content when compared to other cheeses. It's also abundant in B vitamins, phosphorus, and calcium, all of which are good for bone health. Feta is also high in beneficial microorganisms and fatty acids. But unfortunately, feta cheese is high in sodium content. That said, if you use it in moderation you can enjoy this type of cheese and its benefits. Use it in small amounts for homemade salads and whole wheat pizzas.
Mozzarella is a type of soft cheese that originated in Italy. It's commonly produced with cow or buffalo milk. Mozzarella cheese is one of the lower sodium cheeses, making it one of the best options for diabetics wanting to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum bacteria are found in mozzarella cheese.
Ricotta cheese is another low-sodium option that is great for people with diabetes. This type of cheese is rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin K, iodine, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc among the other necessary nutrients.
How to properly enjoy cheese as a person with diabetes?
If you are following a balanced and healthy diet, you can add cheese from time to time to your meals. Moderation is crucial with cheese, as it is with other foods, and a diet high in cheese would be unhealthy for individuals with or without diabetes.
Natural cheeses with low fat, low sodium, and as many proteins as possible are the finest to choose from. Processed cheeses should be avoided because they are heavy in sodium and fat. Feta and Edam are two more high-sodium kinds of cheese, while mozzarella and Emmental have lower levels.
Cheese is a fantastic food to mix with high GI foods to balance them out because it has no effect on your glucose. Snacks like an apple with cheese or a little pizza made with whole-grain bread, fresh veggies, and mozzarella cheese are decent alternatives.
Diabetes-related benefits of cheese consumption
Cheese isn't among the most common snacks among diabetics, but it should be. It has a lower carb content than bagels, cookies, chips, and other conventional snacks. Some cheese varieties, in fact, have no carbohydrates at all.
Cheese may help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cheese has been proven in at least one study to reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place. According to a 2012 study, eating two slices each day (approximately 55 grams) lowered the incidence of diabetes by 12%.
However, this should be used with caution because the risk differs. The findings, according to the researchers, require additional investigation.
Cheese can help you keep blood sugar levels in balance
People with diabetes must take into account the glycemic index of different foods. The body's ability to digest the carbs in such foods determines this.
The glycemic index (GI) is a 100-point scale that determines how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Items are given the highest value as blood sugar levels rise faster.
Because most cheeses contain little to no carbs, they have a low GI. However, some cheeses have more than others. Cheddar cheese, for example, has only 0.4 grams of carbs per ounce, whereas Swiss cheese has 1.5 grams. As a result, it's critical to read the nutritional labels on various cheeses.
Cheese is protein-dense
Cheese is often rich in protein, and that is beneficial for balancing blood sugar rises caused by carbohydrate consumption alone. Both take longer to burn off when consumed together. Protein also keeps people fuller for longer, limiting their desire for bad meals.
The content of protein in cheese differs depending on the type. Parmesan cheese, for example, has 10 grams of protein per ounce, whereas cheddar has 7 grams. 1 ounce of cottage cheese contains less than 3 grams of fat.
The disadvantages of cheese for diabetics
When choosing a type of cheese to include in a diabetes-friendly diet, a person with diabetes should consider the following factors.
Saturated fatty acids
When compared to other foods, cheese is high in saturated fat. Saturated fat is safe in very low amounts and can even be advantageous to the body. When consumed in excess, however, it can increase the risk of obesity, high cholesterol, gallbladder problems, and cardiovascular disease.
The American Heart Association recommends a diet that contains no more than 5–6% saturated fat, which means that saturated fats should account for no more than 120 calories (g) in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Other experts recommend that saturated fat accounts for no more than 10% of daily calories, which increases the quantity of cheese a person can have.
People with diabetes can achieve these objectives by eating no more than one serving of cheese per day.
The association between saturated fat intake and heart disease isn't as strong as it used to be. There was inadequate evidence of a link among cardiovascular disease and saturated fats in past studies.
With that said, being aware of overall intake, particularly through red meat, sausage, bacon, full-fat dairy products, and other high-fat foods, is still a smart position to take.
Because patients with diabetes already have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population, they should continue to limit their saturated fat consumption until more study is available.
People with type 2 diabetes should eat a diet rich in unsaturated fats and based primarily on plants.
People with diabetes should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. Salt raises blood pressure, which can exacerbate or cause diabetes-related cardiovascular problems.
Cheese, especially processed cheeses, is frequently heavy in salt. According to a 2018 study, processed cheese has an average salt level of 863 mg per 100 g.
Fresh cheese had an average salt concentration of 498 mg per 100g, according to the study. People might prefer fresh cheese over processed cheese to reduce salt intake.
Cheese is heavy in fat and calories. Despite the fact that the calorie composition of cheese varies, people with diabetes should avoid overindulging.
Obesity is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, and even a few pounds lost can reduce diabetes risk. Over 87 percent of diabetics are considered overweight or obese by medical standards.
People with diabetes can eat cheese while maintaining a healthy weight by using the following strategies:
- Limit your cheese consumption to tiny portions.
- Select low-calorie options.
- Use cheese to add flavor to a dish rather than as the major element.
Dairy intolerances or allergies
Dairy is not for everyone, and some individuals are intolerant of it. Fortunately, other foods, such as almonds, offer many of the same, if not more, nutritional benefits as cheese. Dairy-free cheeses are also available, although they often contain less protein.
How does cheese affect blood sugar levels?
Because of its low glycemic index (GI), the digestion of cheese slowly releases glucose in the bloodstream and does not cause large blood glucose rises. However, cheese is frequently consumed with other foods, some of which might cause blood glucose to increase.
On a cheese platter, carbohydrates such as crackers, fruit, or honey are frequently included. These will have a direct effect on blood sugar, but mixing the right foods with the proper amount of cheese can help you feel fuller for longer.
To control your saturated fat and sugar intake, people with diabetes should pay attention to the portion sizes of the items they eat, as well as the cheese itself.
Cheeses that are best and worst for people with type 2 diabetes
Processed cheeses, such as single-slice pre packaged cheeses and cheese sprays, should be avoided by diabetics. These cheeses are rich in sodium and may possibly include other chemicals that are potentially harmful to people with diabetes.
Cheeses with high salt content include:
Low-sodium cheese variations include:
The amount of saturated fat in most cheeses is similar, but some have higher. People with diabetes should consider the total nutritional value as well as the salt and saturated fat content. Cheeses rich in proteins, calcium, or other minerals are very beneficial for you.
People with diabetes should think about the following:
One ounce of provolone provides the entire daily calcium need.
With 8 g of protein per serving, Parmesan is rich in proteins more than other cheeses and has a lower calorie count.
Probiotics are found in fermented cheeses such as cottage cheese, feta cheese, ricotta, Gouda, and Cheddar.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that have been linked to improved health and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, combat yeast infections in diabetics, and enhance gut health.