- NUTRITIONAL WELLNESS
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- UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS
Are you a fan of cheese? Enjoy lighter kinds of this healthy, delicious dairy product more often. There is a wide selection of low-fat cheeses available to suit every taste. Robust hard cheeses, tangy semi-hard cheeses, mild soft cheeses, acid curd or blue cheeses – low-fat cheeses allow you to eat fine food without putting on extra pounds.
Cheese is a valuable food
Whether used as a spread or on its own, on a cheese and fruit skewer or as an ingredient for soufflés, pizza and pasta dishes, cheese is unbelievably versatile. There are more than 150 varieties of cheese in Germany alone. There is something for everyone. Cheese contains many important nutrients, e.g. high-quality protein for body structure, the mineral calcium, which is required for strong bones, and vitamins such as vitamin A for sight.
Full-fat and cream cheeses are, however, relatively high in calories. Therefore choose low-fat cheeses more often, e.g. “Harz” cheese or grainy cottage cheese. As a rule use reduced-fat cheese with a fat content of not over 30 per cent FDM. You can of course eat cream cheese and full-fat cheese now and again. This is no problem as long as you pay attention to quantity.
What does the abbreviation FDM stand for?
Most often the only information you can find on cheese labels is the fat in dry matter (FDM) This is not to be confused with the total fat content of the cheese. The fat content always refers to the dry weight because the cheese loses moisture and weight during storage.
If you would like to know how much fat the cheese actually contains, you will need to do a calculation. A rough guideline for soft cheese, for example, is: the absolute fat content is approximately half as much as the fat content of the dry matter. So if a pack of Camembert shows an FDM of 60%, this contains about 30g of fat per 100g. The table gives an overview of the absolute fat content of different cheese varieties.
Type of cheese
Calculation formula for the absolute fat content
|Fresh cheeses, e.g. Farmer’s Cheese, cottage cheese||FDM x 0.3|
|Soft cheese, e.g. Brie, Romadur||FDM x 0.5|
|Semi-hard cheese, e.g. Gouda, Edam, Tilsit||FDM x 0.6|
|Hard cheese, e.g. Emmental, Parmesan||FDM x 0.7|
Source: aid Infodienst, www.was-wir-essen.de
Cheese has a satiating effect
If you like to eat cheese, you have certainly already noticed that cheese fills you up. Scientists suspect that this is caused by digestion of the fatty acids released and the protein found in cheese. This is also why cheese deserves a place on the menu. Cheese will not affect your figure if you only eat cream cheese and full-fat cheese occasionally and opt for low-fat cheese the rest of the time. Reduced-fat cheese can also taste good. You can even make a delicious gratin with it.
Tip: use cheese varieties containing only 20% FDM for gratins, e.g. a low-fat Romadur. Put some cheese cubes in a potato gratin or pasta bake and add a little on top – the cheese melts beautifully. Have you ever tried tomato and courgette gratin with low-fat cheese and rice? The MAGGI fix & frisch tomato and courgette gratin is easy to prepare.
Store cheese properly
If possible, cheese should not be bought as pre-cut slices. It should be fresh and bought in one piece. This means the cheese maintains its flavour for longer and doesn’t dry out so easily. Store cheese in the fridge. Cheese tastes best at room temperature.