Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran to the ketogenic lifestyle, finding healthy low-carb, high-fat foods is most likely a top priority.
One food many ketogenic dieters commonly ask about is cottage cheese.
Some experts believe it's a great source of healthy fats that can boost your body's fat-burning abilities. Whereas other keto-ers avoid it like the plague.
If you've been wondering whether or not cottage cheese is keto-approved, then this article is for you.
What is Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is a low-calorie cheese with a mild flavor and it's increasingly growing in popularity due to its healthy micro and macronutrient content.
It's a soft, white and creamy fresh cheese that does not undergo a ripening or aging process to develop the flavor. Cottage cheese is made from the curds of pasteurized cow's milk and it's available as creamed, whipped, lactose-free, or sodium-free.
How is Cottage Cheese Made?
Making cottage cheese is a very simple process and you can even do it in the comfort of your own home!
The process starts with curdling milk which is done by adding an acidic substance such as lime to warm milk. This separates the casein from whey. Once curds are solid, they're cut into pieces and cooked until moisture is released.
Ingredients can then be added for additional flavor such as herbs, cream, and spices.
Is Cottage Cheese Keto?
Yes — as long as it doesn't contain unnecessary sugars or other carbohydrates. Cottage cheese is a great source of healthy fats and with only 3.5 grams of carbs per 100 grams, it's a perfect low-carb, high-fat food for the keto diet.
In addition, cottage cheese is chock full of vitamins and nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin, zinc, potassium, B12 and B6. Some of these essential vitamins and minerals are flushed out when you cut carbs out of your diet.
Cottage cheese is a great way to avoid the dreaded "keto flu" that beginners fall prey to due to its nutrient density!
Cottage Cheese Nutrition Facts
Cottage cheese (creamed)
- ½ cup (105 g)
- 103 calories
- 12g protein
- 4.5g fat
- 5g net carbs
Cottage cheese (2% fat)
- ½ cup (113 g)
- 92 calories
- 12g protein
- 2.5g fat
- 5g net carbs
Benefits of Cottage Cheese on Keto
There are various health benefits of cottage cheese that extend beyond its healthy fat content. For instance:
Cottage Cheese is Great for Gut Health
Cottage cheese is a great source of probiotics. This helps your gut microbiome health which studies have shown plays an important role in almost every function in your body[*].
Incorporating cottage cheese into your diet will revitalize your body from the inside, allowing your skin, eye and brain health to operate smoothly. Plus, a healthier gut also allows you to absorb fats more efficiently so ketone production improves.
Cottage Cheese Keeps You Full and Alert
Adding cottage cheese into your meals will increase satiety due in part to its protein content. This works to reduce your hunger hormone (ghrelin), allowing you to stay full for longer periods of time[*].
In addition to its satiety effects, cottage cheese can help you stay mentally alert from its healthy fats. Our brain is made up of 60% fats so when you consume more fats from healthy sources like cottage cheese, you're giving it the essential fuel it needs to thrive[*].
These fats will also put you in a fat-burning mode, also known as ketosis. By replacing your carbohydrate-filled breakfast with cottage cheese, you’ll experience sustained energy without the sudden crash that usually comes in the afternoon.
Cottage Cheese Helps You Build Muscle
Cottage cheese is very popular in the health and fitness industry due to its high protein content. Diets that include high-protein foods help build muscle alongside an effective exercise regimen[*].
It contains a decent amount of casein which is a slow-releasing milk protein source. This promotes prolonged absorption of the amino acid leucine, which studies have shown, helps increase your body's muscle-building abilities[*].
Cottage Cheese Recipes
Whether you're looking for a healthy breakfast or something tasty for dinner, cottage cheese is a great staple for people living a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic lifestyle. Here are a few of our favorite cottage cheese recipes:
- Low-Carb Baked Mini Frittatas with Broccoli and Three Cheeses - An easy and delicious breakfast muffin recipe you'll want to try. Not only is it loaded with healthy fats, but it's also packed with essential vitamins and minerals making it a great way to start your day!
- Keto Cottage Cheese Pancakes - These cottage cheese pancakes are fluffy, creamy and low-carb! Now you can satisfy your cravings for pancakes and stay in ketosis at the same time! Sprinkle some zero calorie syrup and you have yourself a tasty treat for breakfast or as an afternoon snack
- Keto Cottage Cheese Beef and Sour Cream Bake - Your search for the perfect comfort food ends here. This delicious casserole is packed with healthy fats, takes minimal time to prep and tastes so good you'll want to keep coming back for more!
- Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream - Looking for something sweet as a snack or dessert? Look no further. This ice cream recipe from Ruled.me is cottage cheese dominant and also calls for protein powder, providing your body with the right fuel source to keep you energized.
- Keto Broccoli Cottage Cheese Balls - A great ketogenic-friendly snack you can bring with you on the go. These cheese balls have a slight crisp and it's perfect to munch on wherever travel takes you.
Be Careful When Buying Cottage Cheese From the Store
Not all cottage cheese have the same macronutrient ratios.
If you're considering adding cottage cheese into your ketogenic diet, make sure to check the nutrition label for any hidden ingredients that may result in excess carbohydrate intake.
Be Mindful If You Are Lactose or Dairy Intolerant
Although cottage cheese contains a seemingly perfect macronutrient ratio for the ketogenic diet, milky foods for people who are lactose intolerant will cause digestive issues and it will be difficult for your body to digest the nutrients from cottage cheese properly.
In fact, the inability to digest milk products is more common than you think.
Studies show that approximately 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy[*].
But that doesn't mean you can’t enjoy cottage cheese!
There are several lactose-free cottage cheese products available in select stores. Not all grocery stores have them so if you're a cottage cheese lover, you may have to visit a health food store to find lactose-free options.
A Great Ketogenic Snack or Breakfast When You Choose the Right Kind
If you're looking for tasty low carb foods to supplement your ketogenic lifestyle, cottage cheese deserves a spot in your grocery list!
Not only does it provide your body with the perfect dose of healthy fats, but it's also a great source of probiotics to support gut health.
As long as you can tolerate dairy and you carefully choose brands with little to no carbohydrate content – cottage cheese is a great ketogenic food source to support you on your fat-burning journey!