Is cottage cheese healthy?
Cottage cheese is high on all fitness and diet food lists. And for good reason: it is quite rich in protein, which means it can make a good contribution to your daily protein requirement. Yet not everyone is a fan of quark. You sometimes hear that so much dairy can be a bad idea… How about that exactly? Is cottage cheese healthy, and if so, what is the healthiest cottage cheese? You can read it in this blog!
What is cottage cheese?
Contrary to popular belief, quark is very different from, for example, yogurt. Quark is actually a very young cheese. That means that it is made from curdled milk.
One of the great advantages of this is that the end product becomes much more protein rich. As with ‘normal’ cheese, all proteins from the milk are ‘clumped’ during curdling. The result: quark is packed with protein.
Interestingly, both low-fat cottage cheese and full-fat cottage cheese are made from low-fat milk. However, with full and semi-skimmed quark, some fats are added afterwards. This makes the end product creamier!
Adding extra cream does of course make the nutritional value very different. Instead of the question “is cottage cheese healthy?” To answer for all types of quark, we will therefore look separately at these two categories.
Is low-fat cottage cheese healthy?
For starters: is low-fat cottage cheese healthy? We have already seen that quark has one very big advantage: the protein content. With 100 grams of low-fat quark you get about 9 grams of protein. This is ideal for strength athletes, but also for people who want to eat high protein for other reasons.
In addition, cottage cheese has a few other health benefits:
- Calcium. Just like other dairy products, cottage cheese is very rich in calcium, which you mainly need to keep your bones strong and healthy.
- B vitamins. For example, from 150 grams of cottage cheese, you get a third of the RDA of vitamin B2 and almost half of your vitamin B12.
- Phosphate. This mineral also contributes to strong bones and teeth.
Low-fat cottage cheese actually does not have strong disadvantages. So is cottage cheese healthy? In principle yes – although we will mention a few more points below that you should pay attention to.
Is full-fat cottage cheese healthy?
And what about full quark? Since that is low-fat quark with some added cream, the above benefits still apply in principle. Full-fat cottage cheese also contains proteins and various essential vitamins and minerals.
In addition, however, full-fat quark also contains a lot of fats. 100 grams of whole cottage cheese provides about 11 grams of fat, depending on the brand you buy. This has a number of consequences.
First, it means that full-fat cottage cheese provides a lot more calories than low-fat cottage cheese. Where low-fat quark contains about 80 kcal per 100 grams, this is no less than 180 grams with full quark. This can be very useful, for example, if you want to gain weight. But if you want to lose weight, then full-fat cottage cheese may not be your best choice.
In addition, the fats in whole cottage cheese are mainly saturated fats. They are not necessarily unhealthy in themselves, but most people consume far too much of them. This happens especially if a large part of your proteins are of animal origin: meat, dairy, and egg. This danger is often lurking, especially with strength athletes.
If you know that you already eat a lot of animals, then full-fat cottage cheese may not be your best choice. It is better to incorporate a little more vegetable protein into your diet and opt for low-fat cottage cheese.
Is cottage cheese healthy?
Although low-fat quark and full-fat quark can both be healthy, there are differences. Full-fat cottage cheese is only recommended if you’re not trying to watch your calories. Also, it is better not to use it in a diet that is already rich in saturated fats. Low-fat quark is a good choice in those cases.
Does that mean that all cottage cheese is otherwise healthy? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple!
A lot of quark that is in the store is not just quark. Often all kinds of flavorings and extra ingredients are added. And unfortunately: they are not always good for you …
For example, extra sugar is often added to the quark to mask the slightly sour taste. And of course, there are all kinds of flavors, from orange to vanilla. Those types of quark are often packed with sugar. Too many added sugars are very bad for you, so avoid these types of products!
What is the healthiest quark? Very simple: natural quark without further additives. If you buy that, curd cheese is definitely healthy.
Make cottage cheese tasty
The big disadvantage of natural quark is of course that you are left with that typical quark flavor. Certainly in the beginning, not everyone is a big fan of it. That is why it is tempting to go for a sugary fruit curd.
Fortunately, there is also another solution: make your own cottage cheese! After all, you can also add fruit yourself without all those unhealthy extras. Or season your quark with fruit puree, nuts, cinnamon and other healthy seasonings.