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Key Highlights

  • If you have type 2 diabetes, eating cheese in small amounts can still be part of a healthy diet.
  • When picking out cheese, it’s key to go for options that don’t pack a lot of saturated fat or sodium.
  • With its generally low glycemic index, cheese won’t make your blood sugar levels jump quickly.
  • Cheese is packed with protein and essential nutrients which are good for your health overall.
  • For those managing type 2 diabetes, choosing healthier types like cottage cheese and mozzarella is a smarter move.


When managing type 2 diabetes, maintaining a balanced diet is crucial to regulate blood sugar levels effectively. It is essential to consume a healthy mix of carbohydrates, lean proteins, and beneficial fats. Cheese, when consumed in moderation, can be a great addition to a diabetes diet as it contains protein, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. In fact, at least one study¹ has found that cheese may actually be able to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So, don’t be afraid to include cheese in your meals, just be sure to choose the right types and consume in moderation.

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Cheese is a good source of protein and can help you feel full and satisfied after a meal, which may prevent overeating or unhealthy snacking. Additionally, certain types of cheese are low in carbohydrates, making them a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake. Cheese also contains essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D that are important for bone health. With over 600 varieties of cheese available, it’s important to choose wisely, especially for those with specific dietary needs. For example, cottage cheese is a great option for those looking to limit their salt intake, as it has the lowest salt content out of all the varieties of cheese.

When selecting cheese for a diabetic-friendly diet, opt for varieties that are lower in saturated fats and sodium. Fresh cheeses such as mozzarella or cottage cheese are generally good choices. It’s advisable to pair cheese with high-fiber and healthy foods like whole grain crackers or raw vegetables to help balance blood sugar levels.

Remember, moderation is key when incorporating cheese into your diet as part of managing type 2 diabetes. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can help you create a personalized nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs and health goals.

7 Cheeses Diabetics Should Steer Clear Of

When picking the best cheese for people with type 2 diabetes, some types should be eaten less or not at all. These cheeses are usually full of saturated fat and salt, leading to a higher chance of heart disease and raising blood pressure. It’s key to keep an eye on what these cheeses contain nutrition-wise, especially for those with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, to stay healthy and keep blood sugar under control.

1. Brie

Brie cheese is renowned for its sumptuous soft and creamy texture, making it a popular choice for cheese boards and sandwiches alike. However, individuals managing type 2 diabetes should be cautious when incorporating Brie into their diet due to its high-fat content and moderate glycemic index. Excessive consumption of Brie can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, posing challenges for those with diabetes. To effectively regulate blood sugar levels, it is advisable to enjoy Brie in moderation and pair it with foods that have a lower glycemic index. This strategic approach not only helps in managing blood sugar levels but also allows individuals to savor the delightful flavors of Brie cheese without compromising their health. Maintaining moderation while including Brie in a diabetic meal plan is crucial for supporting overall well-being and blood sugar control.

2. Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort cheese is renowned for its distinctive tangy taste and crumbly texture, making it a beloved choice for many cheese enthusiasts. Nevertheless, individuals with type 2 diabetes should consume this blue cheese judiciously. Roquefort cheese contains significant amounts of saturated fat and sodium, which could exacerbate insulin resistance and elevate the risk of cardiovascular issues. For those effectively managing type 2 diabetes, opting for cheeses that are lower in saturated fat and sodium is a wiser dietary decision to maintain optimal health.

In addition to saturated fat and sodium content, individuals with type 2 diabetes should also pay attention to the carbohydrate content in cheeses. Carbohydrates can significantly impact blood sugar levels, so choosing cheeses with lower carbohydrate content can help with blood sugar management. Soft cheeses like mozzarella or cottage cheese are good alternatives for individuals looking to control their carbohydrate intake while still enjoying dairy products. However, it’s important to avoid high-carb cheeses like Roquefort cheese, which contains 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce, and opt for lower-carb options like cheddar cheese, which contains just 0.4 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce.

Making informed choices about the types of cheeses consumed can play a crucial role in managing type 2 diabetes effectively and maintaining overall well-being. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on crafting a balanced diet plan that aligns with individual health needs and dietary preferences. However, it is important to note that certain cheeses, such as Roquefort cheese, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is recommended to limit consumption of this type of cheese to maintain a healthy diet and reduce the risk of diabetes.

3. Mascarpone

Mascarpone cheese, prized for its luxurious creamy texture, is a beloved ingredient in desserts and decadent pasta sauces. However, due to its high calorie and saturated fat content, consuming mascarpone cheese in excess may contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. For individuals managing type 2 diabetes, reducing the consumption of mascarpone cheese could be a prudent choice.

Opting for alternatives that are lower in calories and saturated fats can offer healthier options without compromising on taste. Greek yogurt or cottage cheese can be substituted for mascarpone in recipes to reduce calorie and fat intake while still providing a rich and creamy texture. These swaps not only help in managing weight and heart health but also support overall well-being, especially for those with specific dietary needs. Remember, moderation is key when indulging in rich foods like mascarpone cheese to maintain a balanced diet and promote good health.

4. American Cheese

American cheese is a widely favored option for sandwiches and burgers, although individuals with type 2 diabetes should exercise caution when incorporating it into their meals. This type of processed cheese often contains high levels of sodium, which can contribute to elevated blood pressure levels and adversely affect those managing diabetes. It is recommended to meticulously review the nutrition labels on American cheese products, as certain varieties may harbor excessive additives and preservatives, including hot dogs, that could be detrimental to health.

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, opting for natural cheeses that are lower in salt and offer more nutritional value may be a more prudent choice. Selecting cheeses that are minimally processed and have fewer additives can assist those with diabetes in maintaining better blood sugar control and promoting overall well-being. However, it is important to note that some fermented cheeses, such as cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, feta, Gouda, and Cheddar, provide probiotics that can improve gut health and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for those with diabetes.

Furthermore, diversifying the types of cheeses consumed can introduce various flavors and textures into one’s diet while ensuring a more balanced intake of essential nutrients. Incorporating a variety of natural cheeses, such as cheddar or mozzarella, can provide individuals with type 2 diabetes a broader spectrum of nutrients while minimizing potential health risks associated with highly processed cheese options. Remember, moderation and mindful selection are key when considering the inclusion of cheese in a diabetic diet plan.

5. Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese, commonly used in Italian cuisine for its creamy texture and mild flavor, is a popular choice among food enthusiasts. However, individuals with type 2 diabetes should exercise caution when consuming ricotta due to its potential impact on blood sugar levels. Ricotta contains lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products that can affect glucose levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, certain varieties of ricotta cheese are high in saturated fat and calories, which may not be ideal for those managing diabetes.

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To make healthier choices when incorporating ricotta into your diet, opt for low-fat or part-skim versions of the cheese. These options provide the same creamy consistency with reduced levels of saturated fat and calories. It’s advisable to consume ricotta in moderation and pair it with other nutrient-dense foods to maintain stable blood sugar levels. By making mindful choices and being aware of nutritional content, individuals with type 2 diabetes can still enjoy ricotta as part of a balanced diet.

6. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is undeniably a popular choice for spreads and dips due to its creamy texture and rich flavor. Nevertheless, it is crucial to be mindful of the nutritional content of cream cheese. This dairy product is high in saturated fat and lacks substantial nutritional value. Moreover, certain varieties of cream cheese may contain trans fats, which are particularly unhealthy as they can elevate LDL cholesterol levels and heighten the risk of heart disease.

Individuals managing type 2 diabetes should be especially cautious about their cream cheese consumption. Opting for alternatives with lower levels of saturated or trans fats can be a wiser choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet while managing their condition effectively. Considering healthier spread options like hummus, avocado spread, or Greek yogurt can be excellent substitutes that offer both flavor and better nutritional benefits.

7. Blue Cheese

Blue cheese, renowned for its distinctive flavor and creamy texture, comes with a caveat due to its high saturated fat and sodium content. Like saturated fat, the sodium content of cheese varies greatly, so it is important to be a conscious consumer and read the Nutrition Facts label to ensure you’re buying cheese that’s low in sodium. The American Heart Association recommends keeping your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams daily, and ideally less than 1,500 mg—especially if you’re at higher risk of CVD. Individuals managing type 2 diabetes may benefit from reducing their intake of blue cheese and opting for alternatives with lower saturated fat content.

Despite its potential drawbacks, blue cheese also offers some health benefits. It is a good source of calcium and protein, essential nutrients for bone health and muscle function. Additionally, blue cheese contains probiotics that support gut health and digestion. Moderation is key when enjoying blue cheese to balance its rich taste with maintaining a healthy diet.

Understanding the Impact of Cheese on Blood Sugar Levels

When we talk about keeping blood sugar levels in check, it’s key for people with type 2 diabetes to know how eating cheese affects them. Cheese doesn’t really make your blood sugar jump because it’s low on the glycemic index (GI) scale. But, you’ve still got to watch how much you eat and think about what else is in that cheese nutrition-wise. Having cheese as part of a balanced diet, but only in small amounts, can help folks with type 2 diabetes keep their blood sugar steady. Understanding where different cheeses fall on the GI scale is crucial for managing diabetes and making informed dietary choices.

How Cheese Consumption Affects Glucose Metabolism

Eating cheese can affect how your body handles sugar, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. Since cheese doesn’t have a lot of carbs, it usually doesn’t make blood glucose levels shoot up quickly. However, it is important to check the nutritional label on various cheeses to ensure they are suitable for your dietary needs. For those who find it hard to digest lactose, some cheeses might raise their blood glucose. So, if you’re dealing with type 2 diabetes and lactose intolerance bothers you too, picking cheeses that are easier on the stomach or don’t contain lactose is a smart move.

The Role of Fat and Protein in Cheese on Insulin Sensitivity

The amount of fat and protein in cheese can affect how sensitive people with type 2 diabetes are to insulin. Cheese has saturated fats, which might make insulin resistance worse and up the risk of heart disease. But it also has unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can actually help improve insulin sensitivity and provide essential fatty acids. For those with type 2 diabetes, picking cheeses that have less saturated fat and more healthy fats is a good idea.

Healthier Cheese Alternatives for Diabetics

For folks with type 2 diabetes, not all cheeses are good picks. But there’s hope because some healthier options fit nicely into a diabetic diet. With less saturated fat, sodium, and calories, these choices help keep blood sugar levels in check and support overall health. Cottage cheese is one of those great alternatives. It’s low in fat but high in protein, perfect for snacking or mixing into dishes. Mozzarella cheese also makes the cut as it’s lower in both fat and sodium which means you can use it in lots of different recipes without worry.

Cottage Cheese: A Low-Fat, High-Protein Option

Cottage cheese is a great pick for folks with type 2 diabetes because it’s low in fat and packed with protein. It doesn’t have many carbs and its glycemic index is pretty low, so eating it won’t make your blood sugar levels jump quickly. Plus, cottage cheese gives you calcium and other important stuff your body needs. However, if you’re looking for a frozen treat, be sure to avoid sherbet and opt for a lower sugar, carb, and saturated fat option like ice cream. Here are some things to know about cottage cheese:

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  • With not many calories, cottage cheese can help you lose weight.
  • A cup of it has about 25 grams of protein which keeps you feeling full longer and supports muscle health.
  • Its low glycemic index means enjoying cottage cheese won’t lead to sudden spikes in blood sugar.
  • You can snack on it or add it into different dishes like salads, smoothies, and even desserts.

Mozzarella: A Lighter Choice for Cheese Lovers

Mozzarella cheese is a favorite for many who love cheese, but picking the right kind is crucial if you’re managing diabetes. Mozzarella stands out as a lighter option among cheeses, yet there are several things to keep in mind. Here’s the scoop on mozzarella and how it affects blood sugar levels:

  • With its low carbohydrate content, mozzarella cheese makes a smarter pick for those with diabetes.
  • Compared to other cheeses, it has less saturated fat which helps look after your heart health.
  • Choosing part-skim mozzarella means even less fat than what you’d find in full-fat versions.
  • Enjoying mozzarella in small amounts can fit well into a diabetic-friendly diet.

By choosing wisely and watching how much they eat, people with diabetes can still savor the creamy taste of mozzarella without negatively impacting their blood sugar or heart health.

Parmesan: Offers Flavor with Less Risk

Parmesan cheese stands out because of its strong taste and how well it fits into many recipes. But if you have diabetes, is parmesan a good choice? Here’s why picking parmesan over other cheeses might be smarter:

  • With low carbs, parmesan barely affects blood sugar levels.
  • It’s also not heavy on fat or calories, which helps those watching their weight.
  • Packed with calcium and protein, it supports bone strength and keeps muscles working right.
  • Parmesan can make meals tastier without messing up your blood sugar or health.

For folks with diabetes wanting to include parmesan in their diet, keeping an eye on how much they eat is key. They should also think about the meal’s overall nutritional value. This way, enjoying the rich flavor of parmesan won’t throw off anyone’s effort to keep their blood sugar in check.

Tips for Incorporating Cheese into a Diabetic Diet

When adding cheese to a diabetic diet, it’s important to think about how much you’re eating and what kind of nutrition it offers. Here are some ways people with diabetes can still have cheese without messing up their blood sugar levels:

  • Keep an eye on how much: It’s best to eat small amounts of cheese so you don’t end up having too many calories or fat.
  • Pay attention to the packaging: Try choosing cheeses that are low in saturated fat and calories by reading the food labels carefully.
  • Think about what else is on your plate: Eating cheese with foods that are good for controlling blood sugar, like whole grains and veggies, can help keep things balanced.
  • Go for healthier options: Pick cheeses that don’t have a lot of carbs, saturated fats, or salt.
  • Talk to an expert: A dietitian can give advice tailored just for you on how to fit cheese into your meals.

By keeping these tips in mind, folks with diabetes can enjoy cheese while sticking to a healthy diet plan.

Portion Control: Key to Enjoying Cheese

When it comes to adding cheese to a diabetic diet, keeping an eye on how much you eat is key. Cheese can be good for your meals, but eating the right amount is important for controlling blood sugar well. Here’s what you should do to manage how much cheese you’re having:

  • Look at serving sizes: Find out the recommended serving size for the type of cheese by checking its nutrition label.
  • Keep daily calories from cheese in check: Make sure not too many of your daily calories come from cheese so that you don’t end up eating more than needed.
  • Use tools to measure servings: To get just the right amount of cheese, use measuring cups or a food scale.
  • Don’t eat all your cheese at once: It’s better to have small amounts throughout the day instead of lots all at one meal.

By doing these things, people with diabetes can still enjoy tasty cheeses without messing up their blood sugar levels.

Reading Labels: Identifying Hidden Carbs and Fats

For folks with diabetes, it’s really important to read food labels closely. This helps them spot carbs and fats in cheese that might not be so obvious. Here are some tips on what to look out for:

  • Start by checking the total amount of carbs: On the nutrition label, see how many carbohydrates there are in each serving. Remember, this number includes both the sugars that were already in there and any extra ones added.
  • Keep an eye out for hidden sugars: Cheeses can have extra sweet stuff put into them like lactose or other kinds of sweeteners. Try to pick those with less of these added sugars.
  • Think about saturated fat: It’s also a good idea to watch how much saturated fat is in your cheese since eating too much can lead up to heart disease.
  • Look for artificial stuff: Stay away from cheeses loaded with things that don’t belong, such as fake flavors or colors.

By taking a close look at food labels, people living with diabetes can choose their cheese wisely. This way they make sure it fits well within their diet plans and helps keep their blood sugar levels where they should be

Pairing Cheese with Blood Sugar-Friendly Foods

When you mix cheese with foods that are good for controlling blood sugar, it can really help keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Here’s how to make some tasty combos if you have diabetes:

  • With whole grain crackers or bread: Cheese goes great with these because they’re full of fiber. This slows down how fast your body takes in glucose, which means less of a chance for big jumps in blood sugar.
  • By adding fresh vegetables: Whether raw or cooked, tossing veggies into dishes with cheese boosts the meal’s nutrients and fiber while bringing along antioxidants too.
  • Through lean protein sources: If you add chicken or fish to your cheesy meals, it balances everything out and makes sure you’re getting a solid mix of nutrition.
  • Using nuts and seeds: Sprinkle them over salads or snacks that include cheese for an extra dose of healthy fats, proteins, and other important stuff.

So by choosing smart pairings like these examples show us about managing diabetes better through diet choices helps maintain steadier levels without those unwanted spikes in blood sugar. Plus incorporating things like healthy fats from nuts and avoiding unhealthy foods ensures not only tastiness but also benefits overall health by avoiding those sudden rises known as blood sugar spikes.


For folks with diabetes, picking the right cheese is super important for keeping blood sugar in check. It’s best to steer clear of cheeses that are loaded with fat and salt, such as Blue Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Ricotta. Instead, going for better options like Cottage Cheese, Mozzarella, and Parmesan can make a big difference. When adding cheese to your diet, it’s crucial to not go overboard and always read the labels carefully. Also remember that combining cheese with foods that are good for your blood sugar can help keep your meals balanced. Keep up-to-date by subscribing for more tips on how diabetics can manage their condition through what they eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can eating cheese affect my blood sugar levels?

Eating cheese does have an effect on blood sugar levels, but it really depends on what kind of cheese you’re having and how much of it you eat. With cheeses that have a low glycemic index and are eaten in just the right amounts, there’s usually less chance they’ll lead to big jumps in your blood sugar.

What cheese has the lowest impact on blood sugar?

Cheeses that don’t raise your blood sugar much are the ones with not a lot of carbs and a low glycemic index. For instance, mozzarella, parmesan, goat cheese, and cottage cheese fall into this category. Besides having less saturated fat, these cheeses are better because they have more unsaturated fats which are healthier for you.

How can I safely include cheese in my diabetic diet?

If you have diabetes and want to enjoy cheese, it’s all about balancing your plate. Go for cheeses that are lower in fat, keep an eye on how much you eat, and think about what else is going into your meal. For advice tailored just for you on how to fit cheese into your diet without trouble, talking with a dietitian can really help.

Are there any cheese substitutes recommended for diabetics?

For folks with diabetes, finding alternatives to regular cheese is definitely possible. You can go for dairy products that are low in fat or have reduced fat, like yogurt and cottage cheese. These options still give you the good stuff found in traditional cheese but come with fewer calories and less fat.

What are the general guidelines for diabetics consuming dairy products?

The American Diabetes Association suggests that people with diabetes should include dairy products that are low in fat or have reduced fat as part of a balanced diet. It’s important to keep an eye on how much saturated fat you’re eating because it can really affect your heart health. Including dairy or alternatives to dairy in what you eat every day is recommended.

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