I’m thankful for many things in this world, but the fact that there’s protein in cheese is at the top of my list…
Because it’s one of the most delicious, versatile, and flavor packed foods in the world—the saving grace on my low carb food list. The perfection of low carb snacks. A food that can sustain whatever workout or workday lies ahead.
It tastes wonderful baked into parmesan crisps or topping the most delicious low carb dinners. I sure hope you love cheese as much as I do!
Here’s the breakdown of protein in cheese, based on the most popular variations:
How Much Protein in Cheese
You’ll find how much protein in cheese varies tremendously—for example the protein in mozzarella cheese is 3 grams per ounce, where as parmesan has 10 grams!
The protein count for 1 oz of common cheese are:
- American Cheese: 5.6 grams of protein
- Asiago Cheese: 6 grams of protein
- Blue Cheese: 6 grams of protein
- Brie Cheese: 5.9 grams of protein
- Burrata Cheese: 5 grams of protein
- Cheddar Cheese: 6.5 grams of protein
- Colby Cheese: 6.7 grams of protein
- Feta Cheese: 4 grams of protein
- Fontina Cheese: 7.2 grams of protein
- Gjetost Cheese: 2.7 grams of protein
- Goats Cheese: 8.7 grams of protein
- Gorgonzola: 6 grams of protein
- Gouda Cheese: 7.1 grams of protein
- Gruyere Cheese: 8.5 grams of protein
- Havarti Cheese: 6.6 grams of protein
- Manchego Cheese: 7 grams of protein
- Monterey Cheese: 6.9 grams of protein
- Mozzarella Cheese: 6.3 grams of protein
- Muenster Cheese: 6.6 grams of protein
- Parmesan Cheese: 10.1 grams of protein
- Provolone Cheese: 7.3 grams of protein
- Ricotta Cheese : 2.3 grams of protein
- Romano Cheese: 9 grams of protein
- Roquefort: 6.1 grams of protein
- Swiss Cheese: 7.6 grams of protein
- Regular Cottage Cheese, Creamed : 3.1 grams of protein
- Nonfat Cottage Cheese, Creamed : 2.9 grams of protein
- Regular Cream Cheese : 1 gram of protein
- Nonfat Cream Cheese : 1.9 grams of protein
*Nutritional info in this post and this post’s graphics are from the USDA Food Composition Databases, and has been rounded to the closest whole number.”
Protein in cheese slices will vary as each product is sliced differently. Protein in cheese per 100g, 100g = 3.5 oz.
If you’re looking for which cheese is high in protein, parmesan, ricotta and cottage cheese have the highest protein in cheese.
That said, if your question is cheese a good source of protein, any nutritionist would tell you it’s hard to compare the amount of protein you’d get from an egg or piece of meat to the nominal numbers you receive in most cheeses.
Naturally occurring cheese protein is called casein.
As you know, cheese comes from milk, which contains 2 types of protein: casein and whey. Before cheese production begins, milk’s nutritional composition is 3.30% protein; 80% of which is casein and 20% is whey.
To produce cheese, acid is added to milk—which forces the casein to coagulate and form cheese curds. Meanwhile the whey separates from the curds and goes down the “whey stream”. At the same time, the carbs in milk are converted, leaving very few carbs in cheese.
This produces one of the most delicious, casein rich, low carb foods: cheese.
Protein in Cheese: Casein
Casein, the protein in cheese, is a complete protein, meaning it has the all essential amino acids our bodies are unable to produce on their own. As you know, protein oversees powering our muscles and keeps the body’s tissues, cells, and functions in tip-top shape, but each type of protein functions differently…
Casein is a “slow protein”, meaning it supplies a slow release of amino acids and sustains an increased level in the body for longer periods of time. For this reason, casein is the preferred protein for body builders.
On the other hand, many people cannot digest the protein in cheese—in some cases, it may cause inflammation or other stomach issues.
Low Fat Cheese
If finding a low fat cheese is your goal, then sticking to cheeses like feta or goat (both of which have around 6 grams of fat per ounce) may be a good choice. Dr. Weil recommends avoiding soft French cheeses due to their fat content. Check out our graphic above for a breakdown of the fat in cheese.
Carbs in Cheese
Here’s the deal: when milk is made into cheese, lactose—which is milk’s naturally occurring sugar—gets converted into glucose and eventually lactic acid. This results in the low carb, high protein goodness that is cheese.
Cheese Carbs, What to Look Our For
If cheese carbs are something you’re worried about, then here are a few things to look out for:
- Skip specialty cheeses that use sugar filled ingredients to flavor the cheese—things like wine, chocolate or dried fruit. Delicious, but not on our low carb shopping list.
- You’ll want to steer clear of gjetost cheese (Norwegian goat cheese), which brings 12 grams of carbs per ounce.
- Depending on your carb goals, cottage cheese may be too high in carbs. In 1 cup of nonfat, there are 9.7 grams of carbs, while regular has 7.6 grams in the same serving.
Low Carb Cheese
Your low carb cheese choices are more plentiful than the high carb options. To give you an idea:
- Burrata, manchengo and goat cheese have 0 grams of carbs per ounce.
- Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan have less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce.
Is Cheese a Protein or Fat
Cheese defies clear classifications of a protein, fat or carbs.
The answer is a firm “no” if you’re wondering is cheese a carbohydrate. Phew! But is cheese a protein or fat is harder question to answer, as it can fall into either category and depends on the type.
Plus, cheese can be made with full fat or skim milk.
For example, 1 cup of nonfat cottage cheese has 15 grams of protein and .4 grams of fat, while 1 cup of full fat cottage cheese has 25 grams of protein and 9.7 grams of fat. Keep in mind the carbs in cheese will vary as well.
Is Cheese Bad for You
This is a hard question to answer—and really depends on each individual’s body and what you mean by “bad”.
It’s low in carbs, high in fat, protein and calories—which is good for some (like myself), and bad for other. In addition, consuming cheese has been associated with a slew of mixed results, both positive and negative—from inflammation, to faster metabolisms, iyiyiy!
So, unfortunately, the question is cheese bad for you isn’t easily answered and depends on your personal needs.
If the protein in cheese has got you doing a happy dance (like me) then cheers! I’m excited for us, and this delicious treat to sprinkle on your favorite low carb meals.
Let me know your favorite way to eat cheese in the comments below! I’m currently baking some low carb tortilla chips—made out of cheese—that are out of this world GOOD!