Can people with diabetes eat cheese?

When you suffer from this disease, it is normal for many doubts to arise about the best diet to follow. In this sense, one of the questions that frequently arises is whether, having diabetes, one can eat cheese.

As with many food-related problems, The key is knowing how to choose the most appropriate products and in the right quantities. Too much of either is harmful, whether or not you have diabetes.

If I have diabetes, can I eat cheese?

Diabetes is a disease that affects a large number of people around the world. Characterized by elevated blood glucose levels due to a complete or partial lack of insulin or an insufficient response to it, as explained by the experts of the Mayo Clinic.

Over time, vascular damage and other long-term complications can appear. There is an increased risk when blood sugar is not well controlled.

Some Good lifestyle habits are very important in the treatment of people with diabetes. In this sense, as well argued by a item published by Cuban journal of public health, a healthy diet adapted to particular needs is part of it. Similarly, excess weight and high blood pressure are two of the conditions that it is desirable to avoid.

Man with diabetes measures his blood sugar.
Diabetes is a very widespread disease and the nutritional question is fundamental in its management.

Among the foods that can be part of a healthy diet for diabetics are milk and its derivatives (cheese and yoghurt).

However, it is important to take into consideration some aspects related to its composition; It is advisable to moderate the presence of some nutrients that can be harmful.

As, In case you suffer from this disease, it is safe to eat cheese when it is part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Nutritional characteristics of cheese to be taken into consideration in diabetes

Dairy products and their derivatives have a place in a healthy diet, according to several experts, such as those of the England’s National Health System (NHS). They have an adequate nutritional profile in which some of its components should be highlighted.

  • Fats: Cheese is one of the foods that can have high amounts of fat, but the total final value varies greatly depending on the variety. It ranges from less than 10% in fresh to more than 30% in some seasoned ones. Of the total amount of lipids, the highest percentage belongs to saturated fats.
  • Proteins: together with fats, it is one of the macronutrients present in cheeses. Instead, it provides almost no carbohydrates. In this case we are talking about proteins with a high biological value; They provide all the amino acids the body needs. The presence of this component can have a satiating effect, as indicated by a study published in 2017 by Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Salt: One of the problems with most cheeses is their high sodium content. This is due to the use of salt as an ingredient in the preparation and in the maturation process itself. As the NHS documents mentioned above indicate, this compound may be a risk factor for hypertension.
  • Vitamins and minerals: While they can also vary by type, cheese is generally considered a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A.

The energy intake, the amount of salt and the presence of saturated fats are the most problematic aspects of cheese in diabetes. All of these are related to obesity, blood pressure and blood cholesterol and are cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that, in the case of diabetic disease itself, as well warned by art experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthis is already higher.

Can cheese affect blood sugar levels?

It is sometimes believed that people with diabetes cannot eat cheese because the presence of lactose (the main sugar in milk) can raise blood sugar.

The glycemic index (GI) is an indicator used to measure the ability of a food to raise blood glucose levels after ingestion.

As indicated by Diabetes UK Foundationyou must choose milk and other low glycemic index dairy products. This fact is due to the protective effect of milk proteins, which slows down the emptying of the stomach and the passage of glucose into the bloodstream.

Also, some scientific studies, such as the following published in Magazine American Journal of Clinical Nutritionshow the existence of a relationship between the intake of dairy products and a lower risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes. While these are not conclusive analyses, they do offer data for consideration.

People with diabetes can consume these recommended cheeses

People with diabetes can consume cheese in adequate portions and choose those with lower levels of salt and saturated fat, as well as lower energy intake.


It is a type of fresh cheese with characteristics similar to cottage cheese and cottage cheese. Second data of the United States Department of Agriculture, is low in fat, high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It has a mild flavor; as it is not subjected to a curing process like aged cheeses.

In recent years it has become fashionable in many countries as a healthy product thanks to these characteristics.

It can be eaten by the spoonful, as it is a good alternative to yogurt, or spread on a few slices of bread. It combines well with fruits, compotes, cereals, nuts or seeds.


It is a fresh whipped cheese, with a creamy, soft consistency and a slightly acidic flavour. It has a caloric value and a low percentage of fat, as well indicated by the results of the Department of Agriculture. However, there are some versions made with whole milk which may have a higher content.


This variety typical of Italian cuisine It is made with whey and, like chalet or the quarks, it is a fresh cheese. It is for this reason that it has lower energy, sodium and fat values ​​than other cheeses, such as United States Department of Agriculture (FDC).

Furthermore, being a soft cheese, experts also recommend it in the shopping list for diabetics, as pointed out by a study published by Insulin Magazine.

Its texture is grainy and it tastes fresh with a sweet touch. It goes well with fruit or in savory recipes and can be served with a little dark chocolate or cinnamon.


People with diabetes can eat this cheese with the Normandy designation of origin. It is made from cow’s milk, has a soft texture and moldy skin.

It has moderate values ​​​​of sodium and fat, as well reflected by the data from the FDC. Plus, it tastes like cream cheese, but with smaller amounts of saturated fat.


Swiss cheese with hard and compact texture. In this line, It is one of the few such low salt features, as well reported by the United States Department of Agriculture. Instead the amount of fat can be considered medium or high; since it is between 25 and 40% of the final composition.

Soft cheeses in diabetes.
Cheeses can be incorporated into the diabetic’s diet as long as appropriate ones are chosen and in limited portions.

It is a good option to accompany pasta; it melts well when cut into thin strips. It can also be added to a vegetable dish or salad. Its flavor is delicate, sweet and reminiscent of nuts.

Varieties to avoid

It is advisable to give up some types of cheese, such as those prepared for melting or special salad mixes. These can provide a large number of added ingredients (starches, fluxing salts, vegetable fats and colourings) which are not recommended.

Also, all those cheeses higher in sodium and saturated fat are exceptionally good to eat, though They are not prohibited in their entirety and much less if accompanied by abundant fibers and vegetables.

In recent years, the harmful health effects of saturated fats have been relativized. In reference to dairy products, there is even talk of their protective effect against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems. As pointed out by Harvard School of Public Healththis may be due to the presence of nutrients such as calcium or conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Anyway, recommends including cheese in the following way to be part of a healthy pattern:

  • In moderate portions, as an accompaniment and without being the main protagonist of the dish. An amount of 30 grams can be considered adequate for hard cheeses and between 50 and 70 grams for fresher ones.
  • As a replacement for non-recommended foods such as red meat, snacks salted or refined grains.
  • Accompanied by healthy foods that provide fiber and other nutrients: vegetables, fruits, nuts, among others.

An adequate diet for diabetes allows you to consume cheese in moderation

With this disease it is essential to follow a balanced diet with vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and lean proteins as protagonists. Cheeses and other dairy products also have their place, when consumed in the right quantities..

Among the first choice cheeses they should be the least caloric and those with reduced levels of salt and saturated fats. These can be eaten in portions of about 30 grams per day, accompanied by light foods that provide fibres.

The post Can people with diabetes eat cheese? first appeared on research-school



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