Say “Cheese!” No, wait!

sayCheese

“Low-fat cheese” used to be an oxymoron. But today, there are dozens of reduced-fat, low-fat, and fat-free versions of American, cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, and other cheeses that you may be tempted to bite into. Fat in this new generation of cheeses has been cut anywhere from 25 to 100 percent. But here’s the trade off: Most of them contain added gums and stabilizers that help simulate the creamy texture and rich taste of full-fat cheeses. Mmmmmm, gummy, stabile cheese.

While some people don’t mind the mildly artificial taste or texture and reduced-fat cheeses do offer an alternative for those trying to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol, the nutritional drawback is that they are usually higher in sodium than the real deal. For example, an ounce of regular Swiss cheese contains about 74 milligrams of sodium. Reduced-fat Swiss contains up to 400 milligrams or more per ounce. Now, I’m no mathematician, but according to my calculations, that’s like the difference between Kirsty Alley circa 1985 and Kirsty Ally circa last week at the Weinerschnitzel on Cahuenga.

Hmmm, delicious taste and full fat or reduced fat and sodium overload. What’s a cheese lover to do? Well, you’ve got a few options. The first and most obvious one is the simple one. Suck it up and stick with the regular cheese, just eat less of it. Another option for cheese lovers is to expand your palette and use strong-flavored cheeses, such as Parmesan, blue, or gorgonzola. With these, a little can go a long way in terms of adding flavor. And if you’re really desperate for something super cheesy, ask my husband to borrow one of his casual Friday Hawaiian shirts. That ought to do the trick.

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