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Is cottage cheese good for weight loss? Here's what you should know

Cottage cheese as a weight loss aid has been around for quite a while.

Is Cottage Cheese Good for Weight Loss? | Juniper

If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok, you might’ve come across an incredibly popular (albeit not the tastiest-sounding) diet that involves mustard and cottage cheese. When paired with other foods like veg and sausage, numerous influencers have touted the combo as a great and novel way to lose weight.

In actual fact, cottage cheese as a weight loss aid has been around for quite a while. Way back in the 1980s, the cottage cheese diet was all the rage, as those who advocated it ate nothing but the dairy product for several days to shed kilos.

But, does cottage cheese have any actual benefit when it comes to weight loss? Let’s find out.

What are the health benefits of cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is curdled milk, or curds and whey. Don’t let the ‘curdled’ part deter you from eating it, though; cottage cheese can be a great addition to your diet because it has loads of nutritional benefits.

Here are some of the top ones.

It’s a great source of protein

A big reason why cottage cheese is beloved by those looking to lose weight is that it’s really high in protein. In one cup (220g) of full-fat cottage cheese, for example, there’s 25.5g of protein [1]. If you’d prefer to go for low-fat cottage cheese, you’ll find a similar amount in a one-cup serving — about 24.2g [2].

Protein is great for your overall health because it’s a key part of keeping your bones, muscles, skin and cartilage in good shape, it assists with delivering nutrients to your body, and it assists with regulating hormones, among many other tasks [3]. Protein also offers numerous weight loss benefits — but we’ll dive into those shortly.

Cottage cheese in particular is a complete protein rich in various amino acids, which help you sleep, produce energy, and regulate your mood [4].

It’s high in calcium

Cottage cheese also contains a good dose of calcium. 

Calcium keeps your bones and teeth healthy and supports the regulation of other bodily functions including your heart rhythms, nerve activity, blood clotting, and muscle contraction [5].

For women especially, calcium is vital for bone health. Women are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis (a condition where bones become more brittle and break more easily), especially after menopause. But, adequate calcium levels can contribute to preventing the condition [6].

In a single cup of full-fat cottage cheese, there’s 193.6mg of calcium, while the low-fat version has slightly more at 227mg per cup [1][2]. For reference, here in the UK, the recommended daily intake is 700mg for adults aged 19-64 [7].

It can be good for your gut

Because cottage cheese is made by curdling milk, it has the additional benefit of containing good bacteria. These are great for your gut, as they can maintain a healthy bacterial balance, support digestion, and keep your gut in good condition [4].

Just note that the gut-loving quality of cottage cheese varies depending on the brand. Look for one labelled ‘cultured’ or with live cultures listed in the ingredients.

It’s also rich in other nutrients

Besides protein and calcium, cottage cheese contains lots of excellent stuff — including vitamin B12, selenium, potassium, riboflavin, and phosphorous.

Can eating cottage cheese help you lose weight?

As we know, cottage cheese has long been popular as a weight loss food. Those who ate it back in the 1980s (and indeed now) chose it because of its high protein content.

They were definitely on to something because there are several benefits to adopting a protein-rich diet if you’re looking to lose weight.

First up, protein makes you feel fuller between meals — helping to curb the urge to snack and reducing overall calorie intake as a result. Some research shows protein is also able to regulate the hormones connected to your appetite, potentially causing you to eat less and maintain a greater feeling of satiety [8].

Protein assists with building lean muscle, too. A greater muscle mass in the body is essential for weight loss because muscle burns more energy and contributes to an overall leaner body. It also helps prevent injury while you’re exercising.

Other research supports a high-protein diet to alter body composition, reduce body fat, and prevent regaining weight after it’s been lost [9].

Despite being so high in protein, cottage cheese has the additional advantage of being low in calories and fat — another factor behind its popularity as a weight loss food. One cup of full-fat cottage cheese only contains 226.6 calories and 9.3g of fat, while the low-fat option has 180 calories and 5.06g of fat in a single cup.

Is cottage cheese good for losing stomach fat?

There are several reasons why you might want to lose stomach fat, not least when it comes to your health. 

Excess abdominal fat is mostly made up of visceral fat, a.k.a the type you don’t want. This is because it lies around your vital organs and is linked to several serious health problems, like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes [10].

If you’re looking to lose weight around your midsection, you might be wondering whether cottage cheese is the solution.

Unfortunately, there’s not a single food that’ll zap weight from a particular part of your body. Instead, you’ll want to try and lose weight overall, which may lead to weight loss around your abdominal area, too.

How much cottage cheese should you eat for weight loss?

If you look back at the cottage cheese diet of the 1980s, you’ll notice that it suggests eating only cottage cheese for several days straight.

The updated TikTok version includes fresh veg, sausage and mustard, but its goal is more or less the same: advocates say that surviving solely on one or a few foods for a short amount of time severely restricts your calorie and carb intake, causing you to lose weight quickly.

But, there’s no need to go overboard with cottage cheese. Not only is it likely to become incredibly dull, but eating too much of the stuff for a prolonged period could lead to nutritional deficiencies, as your body isn’t getting a diverse range of nutrients. 

Plus, the cottage cheese diet is effectively a crash diet — in other words, it’s a short-term eating plan that produces very rapid results. 

When you restrict your energy intake to such an extreme level, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism actually slows down. This can result in rapid weight gain once you resume normal eating. There are numerous health risks associated with crash dieting, too, including gallstones, low blood sugar, dehydration, and hair loss [11].

All of this is to say that you can absolutely enjoy cottage cheese at every meal. However, you want to ensure you’re eating adequate amounts of other healthy foods too — like fruit, veg, whole grains, and good fats.

8 ways to add cottage cheese to your diet

Cottage cheese is really easy to add to your existing diet. It can be eaten on its own, incorporated into different recipes or used as a replacement for other condiments.

Here are a few ideas for using this versatile cheese.

  1. Spread cottage cheese on toast, bagels, crumpets or pancakes. If you’re not a fan of the lumpy texture, you can blend it in a food processor or blender to turn it into a smooth spread
  2. Pair it with fresh fruits (any kind!) for a refreshing and healthy breakfast or filling snack
  3. Substitute cottage cheese for sour cream when making Mexican dishes or baked potatoes
  4. Replace mayonnaise with cottage cheese when making sandwiches and salads
  5. Use it in pasta sauces like carbonara and alfredo instead of cream
  6. Add it to your smoothies, scrambled eggs, and other dishes for a protein boost
  7. Flavour it with herbs and spices, then serve as a dip or sauce
  8. Sweeten it with maple syrup or honey and serve with fresh fruit or nuts for a lighter alternative to super sugary desserts

What other types of cheese are good for weight loss?

If you’re a bit of a cheese enthusiast, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to stick to cottage cheese if you’re looking to lose weight.

Other types of cheese that can help support weight loss include feta, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and fresh goat cheese. Each is fairly low in calories and fat while packing a high protein content. Except for feta, they’re all relatively low in sodium, too.

Just make sure that, as with any other food within your weight loss diet, you keep moderation in mind. A diet can’t be built on just one or a few foods; it needs to incorporate a wide variety of them to keep you on track and meet your nutritional needs.

Keen to lose weight?

Navigating the ins and outs of your weight loss diet can be nothing if not challenging. Fortunately, you can get the right support to establish a healthy eating plan through Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme.

With guidance from a team of weight loss professionals including dietitians, clinicians and health coaches, you’ll get the knowledge you need to create and maintain a sustainable diet to help you lose weight.

If eligible, you'll also get access to revolutionary GLP-1 weight loss medication, which is delivered straight to your door and allows you to lose up to 20% of your body weight in 16 months.

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