Cottage Cheese Choices

cottage cheese with grapesThose who know me would expect a post about cheese to be dominated by words like "stinks" and "milk gone bad." But one of the exceptions to my "no cheese" policy (because, you know, it stinks and is milk gone bad) is cottage cheese, which doesn't stink and is a fresh cheese.

You might think all cottage cheese is pretty much the same. That's what I thought for a long time. But it's not. And I'm not just talking about 4% vs. 2% vs. fat-free. Let's take a closer look at your cottage cheese choices.

First, a few words about the awesomeness of cottage cheese. It has an impressive protein density, providing lots of protein without lots of calories. And most of that protein is casein (as opposed to whey), a slower-releasing form of protein that makes cottage cheese a popular bedtime snack.

It's easy to prepare--heck, you can eat it out of the container. And it keeps well in the refrigerator.

(One obligatory obvious caveat: if you have a problem with dairy such as lactose intolerance, don't eat cottage cheese.)

As mentioned above, cottage cheese typically comes in multiple fat-content varieties: regular (4% milk fat), reduced-fat (2%), low-fat (1%), and sometimes fat-free. Higher fat means more calories and usually some difference in protein, but not huge differences. For example, in one brand the 4% has 110 calories and 13g of protein in a half-cup serving while the 2% has 90 calories and 14g of protein.

But there's a more important difference, and that's ingredients. You might think cottage cheese is cottage cheese, all made pretty much the same way. Turns out that's not true.

Here's a typical brand (Bison 2%):


And here's another brand (Daisy 4%):

cottage cheese ingredients

Which one would you rather put into your body? I mean really: carrageenan, guar gum, carob bean gum (one gum wasn't enough?), modified corn starch (modified how?)...does it really need all that? Apparently not. The second one has more calories, but only because it's a 4% instead of 2%. (It's also more delicious.)

So next time you're shopping for cottage cheese, please do check the ingredients. Even if the nasty kind is less expensive, saving money with unhealthy (or less healthy) eating choices should be a last resort. As someone once told me (I can't remember who), "Don't cheap out on food."

Now if you'll excuse me, it's a warm day and I lifted this morning...I need a refreshing snack!

Be seeing you.


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One Comment

  1. Mmm…cottage cheese and mango.

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