18/10/2011

Many people think that cheese should be avoided when on a weight loss diet, but perhaps if you are among them you should think again. Cheese is a valuable source of protein and although the amount of calories in cheese is largely made up of fat, it still can be included in a healthy balanced diet. Remember that cow's milk cheeses have a higher fat content than those made from goats', ewe's or buffalo's milk.
For starters there is the common cottage cheese which can be used instead of mayo and other dressings which pile on the calories, and if you spice it up a bit with the addition of hot chili peppers, or slivers of chicken or even ham and pineapple as sold in supermarkets it doesn't taste quite so bland.
Real Greek Feta cheese is low in calories, and if you soak it in clean water before eating it, you will get rid of some of its saltiness. A lunchtime snack of Feta, olives and fresh tomatoes is healthy and low in calories.
Individually packed cheeses to spread on wheat crackers are good they still have nutritional value and don't eat into your daily calorie allowance, and you can top them with crunchy celery stalks and grated carrot and slices of tomato for a tasty low-calorie snack.
Low-fat ricotta is good in lasagnas and you won't notice the difference when it's cooked between it and the whole-fat variety. In fact low-fat cheeses can be useful when you are on a calorie controlled diet.
It is important not to cut out dairy products all together when you are on a diet as they contain vitamins such as the B-complex ones and the mineral calcium which are important for the maintenance of healthy bones, blood and the central nervous system.
Cheese is also a high-protein food and you could cut down a little on meat and eat more cheese, stealing a few calories so that you can occasionally enjoy your favourite cheese, without feeling bad about calories.
A recent study carried out by researchers at Australia's Curtin University showed that people who ate more dairy products and combined this with resistance exercises lost more weight than a control group who did not eat more dairy products. They also lost a lot of abdominal fat which is one of the culprits connected with heart problems.
It is not advisable to go on a dairy diet however; you need to have a well-balanced one to lose weight. It isn't ever a good idea to go on a diet which restricts the foods you eat, so try to avoid fad diets. They tend to work initially but then so do most because you lose excess fluid in the first week or two of any diet, but after that they are difficult if not impossible to stick to.
Cheese can be eaten on a weight loss diet and should not be avoided - so look for Feta or low-fat cheeses when you are next in your local supermarket!
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