Cheese: safe for people with diabetes to eat?
Cheese is among those things that many people claim they just could not live without if it were ever taken away from them. However, for those who have to adhere to certain dietary restrictions, understanding whether or not it is okay to consume cheese might be essential to maintaining their overall health.
In spite of the fact that opinions among nutritionists regarding the appropriateness of including cheese and dairy products in a diabetic diet are divided, research indicates that it is not dangerous to consume cheese if you have diabetes; however, certain varieties of cheese are preferable to others in this regard.
Continue reading to find out which varieties of cheese, such as Cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, or even vegan cheese, might assist diabetics in better managing their condition so that they can live healthier lives.
How the Consumption of Cheese Affects Your Glucose Levels
People who are living with diabetes are need to pay special attention to the glycemic index of the foods they eat as well as the number of carbohydrates that each serving contains.
The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical scale that ranges from 0 to 100 and indicates how rapidly a certain item produces an increase in a person’s blood sugar level. The higher the number, the more quickly the consumption of that meal raises blood sugar levels.
Foods having a high glycemic index are often foods that are high in the number of carbs they contain. To our relief, the vast majority of cheeses have a low glycemic index and either a negligible or nonexistent amount of carbs.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, low-GI foods have been shown to assist people in managing their type 2 diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight, both of which are significant risk factors for developing diabetes.
This is excellent news for diabetics who enjoy cheese, as low-GI foods have been shown to assist individuals in both of these endeavors.
Nevertheless, GI is not the only issue that you have to take into consideration. According to Kelsey Lorencz, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition advisor for Fin vs.
Fin, cheese is a great source of protein and fat, both of which can help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and lead to a more steady rise and fall in blood sugar. “Cheese is a great source of protein and fat,” she tells EatingWell. “Cheese is a great source of protein and fat.”
Cheese has several health benefits, one of which is a reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to a meta-analysis that was published in PLOS Medicine in 2018, multiple studies have demonstrated that eating dairy products such as cheese and yogurt may help lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, the majority of cheeses are rich in saturated fat, and research suggests that consuming large quantities of this kind of fat may raise your chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
Because of this, it is essential to choose cheeses with low levels of saturated fat wherever feasible and to consume cheeses with high levels of saturated fat in a moderate manner.
According to Lorencz, “Replacing high-fat cheese with lower-fat choices including Swiss, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta might help lessen the risk of diabetes.
Can Assist You in Preventing Peaks and Valleys in Your Blood Sugar
Protein plays an important role in a wide variety of essential biological activities, including the development of new muscular tissue, the maintenance of a healthy immune system, and the repair of damaged tissue.
Consuming sufficient amounts of protein may help manage your blood sugar and avoid spikes by reducing the number of carbs that are absorbed into the body. In addition, protein is very satiating and helps control your appetite, which means that you are less likely to overeat or to seek meals that are rich in sugar but poor in nutrients.
Similar to the amount of saturated fat found in cheese, the amount of protein found in cheese may vary greatly. For instance, one ounce of Parmesan cheese has 10 grams of protein and 4.2 grams of saturated fat, but one ounce of strong Cheddar cheese contains 6.7 grams of protein and 5.4 grams of saturated fat.
What Ought to Be Taken Into Account
Saturated Fats and High Sodium Content
It is well knowledge that consuming a diet heavy in saturated fats might increase one’s chance of developing cardiovascular disease, a condition for which those who have diabetes have an increased likelihood of developing.
For optimal health, the American Diabetes Association suggests limiting your consumption of saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake.
This equates to consuming around 20 grams of saturated fat on a daily basis if you consume 2,000 calories in your diet. The good news is that there are several kinds of cheese that are lower in saturated fat and are best for people with diabetes.
These cheeses include cottage cheese, ricotta, and low-fat Cheddar. Although cheese may have a higher concentration of saturated fat and sodium than many other foods, the good news is that cheese can be found in a variety of forms.
Sodium is another component of cheese that you need to keep an eye out for. When following a diet to manage diabetes, sodium intake should be restricted since it also raises the risk of developing heart disease.
The amount of sodium that is included in cheese may be somewhat variable, similar to the amount of saturated fat. If you want to buy cheese that is low in sodium, it is important to be a conscientious shopper and study the Nutrition Facts label before making your purchase.
If you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association suggests limiting your daily salt consumption to less than 2,300 milligrams and, preferably, fewer than 1,500 milligrams. This is particularly important if you already have a greater risk of CVD.
Allergic Reactions to Dairy Products and Intolerances to Dairy Products
The National Institutes of Health estimates that roughly 36 percent of individuals in the United States suffer from lactose intolerance. This condition indicates that the individual is unable to absorb lactose, a kind of sugar that may be found in dairy products, in the right manner. We are fortunate to have access to a wide variety of cheese alternatives that do not involve the use of dairy products.
Nuts, seeds, and nutritional yeast are three examples of foods that may be used in lieu of cheese since they are rich in protein and good fats while also being low in saturated fat and salt.
Additionally, vegan cheeses that are made from soy and are dairy-free may be found in most grocery shops. These cheeses have a flavor and protein content that are comparable to dairy-based cheeses but do not include dairy.
How to Determine Which Cheese Is Healthiest for Someone With Diabetes
When it comes down to choosing one kind of cheese over another, the most important factor to consider is how your heart will react to each. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who have diabetes have a more than twofold increased risk of developing heart disease in comparison to individuals who do not have diabetes.
According to Lorencz, “Heart health is essential for diabetics since high blood sugar levels may damage blood vessels and raise the risk of heart disease.” People who have diabetes are advised to choose cheeses with a lower fat content, such as Swiss, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta.
Dietary Guidelines for Diabetics Who Want to Include Cheese in Their Meals
If you have diabetes, a good approach to include cheese into your diet is to mix cheeses that are low in fat and salt with other nutritious foods, such as fruit and whole grains.
This is an ideal way to include cheese in your diet without negatively impacting your blood sugar levels. Because the cheese has a moderate effect on one’s blood sugar levels, it is possible to consume it alongside meals that are higher in carbohydrates while still maintaining a healthy level of equilibrium.
Cheese, on the other hand, should only be ingested in small quantities because of the larger number of calories it contains.
As a great balanced snack that can keep you full and regulate the digestion of carbohydrates for sustained energy and balanced blood sugar, low-fat cheese paired with a carbohydrate like apples or crackers makes a great combination, according to Lorencz. “Lorencz advises that a low-fat cheese paired with a carbohydrate like apples or crackers makes for a great balanced snack.”
The Crucial Points to Consider
Cheese may be incorporated as part of a healthy, balanced diet for diabetics, which is good news for cheese lovers everywhere. On the other hand, diabetics are advised to choose cheeses that are low in saturated fat and salt but rich in protein content.
Cheese may be used to help manage blood sugar levels and avoid blood sugar spikes if you have diabetes by being combined with meals that have a higher glycemic index.
In addition, similar to the consumption of any other meal, cheese should be enjoyed in moderation in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.