Health and cheese regularly fuel debates. Yet, cheese offers recognized and appreciable nutritional benefits. Full of calcium and trace elements, and significantly less fatty than the general public imagines, cheese also has a positive effect on the psyche of its consumers due to its enjoyable taste.

Can we eat cheese every day? Are cheeses fattier than other dairy products?

This debate has long animated conversations, especially on social networks. Cheese, like any other food, can be consumed daily. And like alcohol, let's say "in moderation". Cheese is indeed a food relatively rich in saturated fatty acids and also in sodium. Therefore, its consumption should be limited, but not completely eliminated.

The caloric value of cheese mainly depends on its water and fat content. This can range from 50 kcal for 100 g of 0% fat white cheese to 90 kcal for a portion of pressed curd cheese. "Dry" cheeses are consumed in smaller quantities, averaging 30 g compared to 100 g for fresh cheeses. It can be said that an average of 40 grams per day is recommendable, for pleasure, for the natural benefits of the product, and also to reassure consumers who watch their weight!

On the information site of Dairy Products (an emanation of the French dairy sector/CNIEL), cheese consumption is, of course, encouraged. According to the site, the National Nutrition Health Program (PNNS) recommends daily consumption of dairy products to cover calcium, vitamins (A, B2, B9, B12, D...), and trace elements needs of the body in a simple and natural way. Besides calcium, cheese contains phosphorus, which plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of bone and dental health.

Not only do cheeses provide these essential nutrients, but they also have a significant amount of easily digestible proteins and a very high biological value. In particular, cheeses contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body.

Regarding Lipids Regarding whether cheese is fattier than other dairy or plant products, it is necessary to reset the "counters".

Until 2007, the year of the "cheese decree", labels indicated the fat content of the dry extract, i.e., what remains of the cheese once all its water has been removed. However, in reality, one never consumes a "dry extract" but a "finished" product. Thus, a white cheese labeled as 40% fat on a dry extract actually contained only 8% fat, as it contains 80% water.
Raclette cheese put forward on a tray.
Since 2007, for the sake of clarity, public authorities have asked manufacturers to indicate the fat content on the total weight (i.e., what is consumed), as for all other food products. Generally, the drier a cheese is, the less water it contains, and the more concentrated the fats are. But, according to the Dairy Products site, these quantities are always less than one imagines! A camembert, moderately rich in water, thus contains 21% fat (45% on labels prior to 2007, which were based on dry weight if you followed along). A comté, drier, contains 28% (compared to 45% previously).

Lactose Intolerance and Cheese Consumption For people who develop lactose intolerance, it is also possible to consume cheese, especially those that are aged (as opposed to fresh cheeses). In fact, these cheeses no longer contain lactose, as it is eliminated during the draining process or degraded during aging. Therefore, the more a cheese is aged, the less lactose it contains. Leading the list of lactose-intolerant-friendly cheeses are Comté and Emmental, followed by Tommes, Cantal, and other soft cheeses like Camembert, Brie, or Coulommiers, where the lactose is removed along with the water of constitution.

Finally, one should not forget the psychological aspect that cheese consumption brings. This unique moment of pleasure due to the balance of its flavors – the umami. And which animates the visitors of the Cheese and Dairy Products Fair!