Cheese on Keto?

Long-time readers know that I’m not always a total monk when it comes to the ketogenic diet. I’ll cycle out and have more vegetables at times (broccoli and cauliflower), and I almost always have double cream in my coffee.

Another dairy addition is cheese. I was never a big cheese fan growing up in Canada, but there were two exceptions: cheddar and parmesan. I loved them both. I’ve also come to love Red Leicester which is another hard, aged cheese from England. I have never been able to enjoy soft cheeses which is good because many keto types out there argue that if you’re going to have a bit of cheese, the harder and older the better.

The older and harder the cheese the less lactose it has. Many people are intolerant and some would argue we all are, it’s just a matter of degree. Hard cheeses have very little lactose because the whey is discarded when making cheddar, parmesan, etc. Even more lactose is lost during the aging process.

Cave Matured Cheddar Cheese from Cheddar Gorge
Cave aged cheddar from Cheddar, Somerset

Another reason I keep cheese in my diet is the nutritional make up. I’m looking at a block of West Country Vintage Reserve Cheddar which has been aged for two years. Per 30g there are 0.5g of carbs. The rest is protein and fat. Mainly fat.

The gourmet in me also loves the different flavours that independent cheese makers bring to the table: salty, crunchy, smooth, strong, super strong, pungent. Every cheese brings a little something unique to the table. It’s a bit like drinking different wines, whiskies or coffees. They all have their charms.

Still, I don’t overdo it. For a diabetic like me, all good things become negative if I have too much.

The one thing I do avoid is mass produced rubbish. The really poor stuff doesn’t seem like cheese at all: rubbery and tasteless. Fortunately, this isn’t a big problem in the UK. We British seem to hold producers to a high standard over here. Even the bigger names tend to be good.

I can’t say the same when I visit Canada or especially the United States. A lot of the stuff that one gets at Meijer or Kroger is only a half-step above the “cheese” they put on Big Macs. Of course, there are great small producers in both countries. My experience is you just have to look around a little more. Trying to find real cream in both countries is a different story. More on that in a later post.

Cheddar, parmesan and Red Leicester are on the menu.

Belton Red Leicester - Longman's Cheese
Red Leicester – Amazing!

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