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Is Cheese Fat? Or Is A Healthy Food?

Stephanie Cheung, HK BioTek Intern

Cheese-topped drinks, evil melty cheese toast, and a wide variety of cheesed foods seem to be equivalent to obesity and guiltiness. Before deciding whether cheese is fattening or healthy food, we can first understand the cheese manufacturing process. Firstly, the milk is fermented. The milk contains lactose, which will be fermented into lactic acid. Then, rennet is added to coagulate the cheese. The fermented milk starts to become semi solid or solid. After it becomes solid, whey is formed and separated from the solid. Then, the manufacturers will adjust the pH and dryness. Salt and seasonings are added according to different types of cheeses to be made. Finally, depending on the type of cheese, the maturation period usually ranges from a few weeks to several years.

The casein in cheese is an important factor in determining whether the cheese can be stretched. When the curd is placed in hot water at first, then pulling them with utensils or hands will change their casein structure and become fibrous. We call it pasta filata. Other cheeses that have a longer maturation period and harder cheese cannot be stretched.

Cheese is high in sodium and fat. High intake of it for a prolonged period of time may cause high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease and obesity. Excessive intake of saturated fat in cheese will increase the body's risk of low-density cholesterol which we call ‘bad cholesterol’. According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Council, natural cheese and processed cheese have their own advantages and disadvantages in terms of fat and protein content. Therefore, it is better for you to pay attention to the nutrition label to make a choice before buying.

However, the nutritional content of cheese should not be missed. Cheese is rich in protein, fat and calcium. Eating an appropriate amount is good for muscle gain and for the body. In addition, choosing defatted or low-fat cheese is a good way to keep ourselves healthy. Eating soft cheese has lower calories than hard cheese because of its higher water content and lower fat content. Even though soft cheese and low-fat cheese have fewer calories, you should pay attention to the amount of food you eat. The daily intake is around 1400kcal for adult women. Do not consume more than 8 grams per day.

Cheese can also be a healthy food as long as you choose carefully and consume the suitable amount, you can eat it wisely.


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