American cheese is an essential staple in a typical American diet. Some even say they can’t survive a meal without it! This slice of deliciousness is usually found in American-style burgers, BLT sandwiches and the yummy mac and cheese.
Since the holy American cheese is such a versatile ingredient in American style cuisine, you might be wondering, “Is American cheese keto friendly?”
Even though some might say a slice of cheese doesn’t hurt, the simple answer to this question is no, especially if you are on a strict keto diet.
American cheese should be consumed in moderation even on a high fat diet. Why is that so? Read on to find out!
What is a keto-diet?
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet in short, is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that has been gaining lots of momentum in the recent years.
The human body goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis when you drastically limit your carbohydrate intake while replacing most of those calories with fats.
A keto diet usually consists of a fat heavy percentage (70-80% of your total daily caloric intake), with a moderate consumption of protein and an extremely low (about 5%) carbohydrate intake.
When the body is in a state of ketosis, it uses fats instead of carbohydrates as the primary fuel for energy. This is known to escalate weight loss as ketosis prevents the storage of glucose, a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism.
Excess amounts of glucose is converted to stored fats in the body. Therefore, with a restricted carb intake and replacing them with fats, the body breaks down fats which produces ketones.
Ketones will then be broken down and used to provide the body with energy in the case of a glucose deficit.
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What to avoid in the keto diet
The keto diet might seem restrictive for beginners especially when you know that food high in carbs should be avoided at all costs.
Aside from your favorite pasta and sugar laden baked goodies, it is also important to also stay away from starchy vegetables like sweet potato and taro.
Fruits high in sugar content like apples and oranges should also be excluded in a keto diet.
However, if you take some time to explore and do your research, there is actually a wide variety of food that are rich in healthy fats to include in your diet.
Remember to explore give different varieties of food to make your keto diet a versatile one. This ensures you a sustainable and enjoyable keto journey.
The good thing about the keto diet is that it does not force people to give up on some of their favorite food. Imagine still being able to indulge in butter, bacon, milk and of course, cheeses!
However, when it comes to a keto diet, you should prioritize having meals that are loaded with healthy fats. Priority should be given to consuming fats from minimally processed natural food sources.
Examples include avocado, olive oil, oily fish like salmon, cod, as well as nut butters. That said, there are actually quite a few ingredients that you should steer clear of.
Look out for hidden carbs like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, starches, as well as unhealthy and highly processed fats.
Why not American cheese?
Not all cheeses are made equal. A slice of American cheese contains 65 calories. If you break the down the macros, it is 5 grams of fats, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs.
2 grams of carbs might not seem like a lot, but considering how processed American cheeses are, it is important to think twice before incorporating them into your diet.
Turn to the back of your American cheese package and take a careful look at its nutrition label. It is definitely not “pure” cheese.
Additives such as modified food starch, whey concentrate, calcium phosphate, potassium citrate, are usually added to maintain its taste and shelf life.
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Alternatives to American cheese
You might be disappointed to hear that American cheese is discouraged in the keto diet but you know what? There is still a piece of good news!
Natural cheeses are packed full of flavors and this makes them a great, delicious addition to your keto diet. There are actually a few other types of cheeses that are equally, if not more delicious than your American cheese.
We can safely say that it is okay to totally indulge in them on your keto diet! In fact, we actually encourage including lots of high quality, minimally processed cheese into your high fat diet plan.
Yes, you heard that right. You can still enjoy your cheese laden goods as long as they are of good quality, and if their macros meet the keto diet guidelines.
Substitute your American cheese with the following list of minimally processed cheeses for an ultra delicious snack or meal!
A typical ounce of Gouda boasts 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein with only 1 gram of carbohydrates. This creamy and fudgy cheese originating from Netherlands is made from cow’s milk.
Pack a slice (or two) of Gouda along with sliced ham and bacon along with two slices of low carb bread and your delicious breakfast is served. Hungry in between meals? Gouda cubes are also great as a snack!
Cheddar is undeniably one of the most popular cheeses in the world. The good thing about Cheddar is that their flavors range from sharp to mild.
With their ease of availability, it is also very easy to find a type of Cheddar that suits your palate. An ounce of Cheddar contains 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of carbs.
That makes it a keto powerhouse! Cheddar also has a low melting point, and that makes it a great choice for melting atop a high fat, low carb casserole, low carb mac and cheese, or a delicious sandwich melt!
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Some might find blue cheese repulsive but for those who are in love with it, they swear upon its deep flavours, slightly spicy with a unique sweet taste. A 1 ounce serving contains 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbs.
Popular ways that incorporate blue cheese into a meal includes sprinkling them on top of your salads, blend them into a sauce or dip and eat them with your vegetable sticks.
Goat cheese is a soft cheese made from goat’s milk. It has an acquired taste rangng from mild, tart to creamy that might need a bit of getting used to.
An ounce of Goat cheese contains 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and negligible amounts of carbs. Its nutritional value makes it an excellent choice of cheese when you are on a keto diet.
A popular way of consuming goat cheese is to add it into your breakfast omelet, atop your favorite salad or bake it along with your low carb scone!
With 8 grams of fats, 11 grams of protein and only 1 gram of carbs per ounce, parmesan cheese is definitely one of the best cheeses to include in your keto diet.
Its salty and nutty flavor makes it a great ingredient for some easy parmesan crisps, which is an excellent snack to indulge in on your keto diet.
With only 0.1 gram of net carbs, 8 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein in an one ounce serving of Brie, you should totally add this soft cheese into your keto grocery list.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts are delicious parings with Brie, which almost makes it a high fat, low carb snack!
Cheeses are packed full of flavor and this makes them a great and delicious addition to your keto diet. If you choose the right kind of cheeses, then congratulations, you are on the route to a healthy and delicious keto journey!
The bottom line
In conclusion, although American cheese is a no no in a keto diet, you can still indulge in your favorite cheeses.
But it is essential to make sure that your cheese choices are minimally processed, low in net carbohydrates and remember to calculate your calorie intake!
While the keto diet may be helpful for weight loss, but it is still important to understand that a surplus of calories can cause excess fats to be stored in your body, causing you to gain weight.
The best way for a sustainable keto diet is to opt for healthy fats from natural food sources. The keto diet is definitely an enjoyable one, especially if you explore different recipes, cooking methods and try a variety of food.
It takes a while to get used to the keto diet but with the countless benefits that it provides, it is worth that little bit of hassle!