Worried about which cheese you should stay away from? Sometimes the answer isn’t how much calories and fat is in a food, but rather how processed it is. Cheese is a good-for-you food that provides an array of nutrients including protein, vitamins A, B12, K, and D, zinc, and calcium. Even higher-fat cheeses have a place in a healthy diet as long as you consume them in moderation—a small amount goes a long way.
So which cheese brands should you stay away from? Overly processed ones. These “cheeze” products may be made with some real cheese but it usually contains around 50% cheese—sometimes less. It also contains non-cheese ingredients including salt, food dyes, and preservatives.
These ingredients are added to the pasteurized cheese and then formed into a solid block, slices, sauce, spread, or spray. With all the added ingredients, the flavor and texture of these products have changed significantly as well as the nutrition of the food; usually, the result is that it has very little good-for-you nutrients.
Ooey gooey Velveeta isn’t really cheese—it’s actually called a “pasteurized recipe cheese product.” This ultra-processed food is made from cheese and other dairy ingredients and by-products. It includes emulsifiers, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, and food coloring. Some of these ingredients are not allowed by the FDA to be in products sold as real cheese. Instead of a slice from this loaf, enjoy a nice slice of good old Cheddar cheese.
Although the calories may be reasonable, Kraft Cheez Whiz dip is made with added ingredients that aren’t allowed in products sold as real cheese. But let’s be honest—you’re likely not consuming just one tablespoon at a time, so you’re really looking at a higher calorie, fat, and sodium intake when you consume this product. If you’re looking for a cheesy dip, make your own using real American cheese.
Available in cheddar, cheddar and bacon, sharp cheddar, and American, this spray cheese product just screams overly processed. If you’re looking to combine cheddar and bacon flavors, enjoy a tasty grilled cheese BLT sandwich with a slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese.
This spray cheese product may seem like a bang for your food dollar and fun to play with. But step away from the spray cheese product and opt for a delicious slice of the real deal. Pair with a whole grain cracker and a handful of almonds for a wholesome snack.