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Is Full-Fat Cheese Healthy?

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Expert tips for choosing the right kind of cheese and keeping fat in check.
Q. I love cheese. Are there any full-fat varieties that are better for me than others?

A. We love it too. But any way you slice it, cheese contains artery-clogging saturated fat, which raises your heart-disease risk. "The good news is, you don't have to give it up, just eat it in moderation," says Joanne Larsen, RD, founder of

Try one of these sneaky strategies to keep fat in check:
(1) Choose a hard cheese with strong flavor (for instance, Parmesan, Romano, or Manchego), then grate it into pasta, salad, and soup so a little goes a long way.
(2) Go for goat cheese, which has only 76 calories and 6 grams of fat per ounce (cheddar, for example, weighs in at 114 calories and 9 grams of fat per ounce). But if you're a cheesaholic, it's worth taste testing reduced-fat versions until you find one you enjoy. Just steer clear of the nonfat stuff. "It's generally rubbery and doesn't melt as well," Larsen says.

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Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.


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