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Keeping Track of the Fat in Cheese

February 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Guest Article Submitted by Diane Naksian of Free Health Remedies

A 3-ounce portion of cheese contains about 25 to 30 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 to 6 grams of saturated fat. By comparison, an egg has 274 grams of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat; 3 ounces of rib-eye steak about 70 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 grams of saturated fat; 3 ounces of dark-meat chicken 80 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat. A low-fat diet designed to reduce risk of cardiac disease ought to contain no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol and no more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day.

Be aware: on the day you stage a cheese tasting and eat half a pound of the good stuff, your intake from that source alone may have reached 80 milligrams of cholesaterol and 16 grams of saturated fat.

Not all artisan cheeses are labeled but with the ones that are, their fat content is listed as a percentage of solids (“dry matter,” or matière grasse in French), which can be somewhat misleading. (The reason for this is that, while cheese has a high water content — hard cheeses are 30 to 35 percent water; soft ones up to 60 percent—they dehydrate as they age, meaning their fat content as a percentage of total weight will change whereas the fat as a percentage of solid weight will not.) Consequently, a harder cheese with 50 percent fat in dry matter will yield more fat than a softer one with 75 percent. Parmesan, for example, which contains 30 percent water and 35 percent butterfat in dry matter, yields 25 grams of fat per 100 grams of cheese; Brie, on the other hand, which has 49 percent butterfat in dry matter but is 57 percent water, yields just over 20 grams of fat per 100 grams of cheese.

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