How to enjoy cheese as part of a healthy balanced diet

How to enjoy cheese as part of a healthy balanced diet

People trying to lose weight often think they should cut cheese from their diet because of its fat content.  Yes, cheese does contain fat, but not as much as people think.  What is sometimes forgotten is that cheese is also a source of protein, calcium, and vitamin A and many other useful vitamins and minerals.  So, if you are trying to reduce your calorie or fat intake you can do so whilst still keeping some cheese in your diet.

The British Cheese Board supports the Food Standards Agency campaign to help people reduce their saturated fat intake whilst still enjoying cheese as part of a healthy balanced diet.  Here are some useful hints and tips:

·     There are reduced fat variants of your favourite hard cheese, Cheddar.  Choose from branded products such as Cathedral City Lighter, Seriously Lighter or Pilgrim's Choice Lighter or a selection of supermarket own labels, often labelled as ‘reduced fat’ or ‘half fat’ hard cheese.  The fat content of these cheeses can be as much as 50% lower than normal Cheddar

·     Try using stronger tasting cheese in your cooked dishes - you should get the same flavour but use less cheese

·     If you're having a cheese sandwich, cheese on toast or cheese and biscuits miss out the margarine, butter or spread

·     Grating your cheese expands the volume and means you will use less

·     Try using some of the softer cheeses like Brie or Camembert – they contain more moisture, less fat and less calories per serving

·     For lower fat cheese recipe ideas see the Recipe section

For more information on how to enjoy cheese as part of a healthy balanced diet, visit the Health section of our website.




For further information please contact: Sarah Tadier or Mollie Whichello on 0207 025 7500, or email  

Notes to Editors

Cheese has been part of the British diet for centuries. Virtually every household in the UK buys cheese and in a recent British Cheese Board survey 65% of adult respondents said that cheese is one of their favourite foods.  Not only do we enjoy it, but it is also a nutrient dense food and as part of a balanced diet can help provide significant proportions of the essential nutrients required for good health.  From the same survey 59% of respondents believe it is one of the most nutritious foods you can give to children.

Cheese is one of the best sources of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong teeth and healthy bones.

·     A matchbox sized portion of Cheddar (15g) contains 110mg of calcium (just over 30% of the reference nutrient intake (RNI) for 1-3 year olds, 19% for 7-10 year olds and over 15% for most adults.

·     Cheese is one of the most concentrated and most easily absorbed sources of calcium. A calcium rich diet together with load bearing exercise plays an important role in helping to reduce the risk and symptoms of osteoporosis, a painful and debilitating disease.

·     Cheese is also an excellent source of protein, essential for building and maintaining all of the body's structures (such as muscles, bones and teeth). A 15g portion of cheddar provides 13% of the RNI for 7-10 year olds.

·     Cheese is also a source of saturated fat and government recommends that for most individuals intake of saturated fat should be reduced so that it accounts for 11% of food calories.  For that reason, the British Cheese Board accepts the FSA recommendation that cheese should be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet.

·     Cheese is a primary source of vitamin A, which plays a vital role in vision, bone growth, cell division and the immune system due to its antioxidant properties.  A 15g portion of Cheddar contributes 11% of the RNI for 7 -10 yr olds.

·     Other key nutrients found in cheese include; Vitamin B 12 , which is crucial for red blood cell formation, maintaining the nervous system and protein metabolism; Vitamin D, which helps the absorption of calcium and the way it is used by the body, particularly in ensuring strong bones and teeth.

·     Chewing a piece of cheese after sugary snacks and after meals can help remineralise tooth enamel and protect against tooth decay.  A spokesperson for the British Dental Health Foundation advises people to follow fruit with 'a piece of cheese which will help neutralise the acid.'

·     As a natural food source, cheese is one of nature's most complete foods.

·     Cheese is so versatile that it can be enjoyed as it is, with a snack or incorporated into many different recipes - sweet and savoury.

·     Cheese is delicious and with over 700 named cheeses now being produced in the UK alone there is a wealth of new taste experiences to be enjoyed.

The British Cheese Board (BCB) (

The British Cheese Board aims to increase awareness of cheese in the UK, and British cheese in particular as part of a healthy diet.

·     Cheese is one of nature's most complete foods

·     It contains essential nutrients – fat, protein, vitamins, calcium and other minerals

·     It is a natural food source made from milk with the addition of salt which acts as a preservative

·     It is versatile  and can be eat hot or cold any time of the day

There are over 700 named British cheeses available, with a British cheese for every occasion.  The British Cheese Board’s members account for a large proportion of cheese produced in the UK.  The work of the BCB is also supported by associate members who are involved in the cheese supply chain.