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Is Cheese A Complete Protein? (All You Need to Know)

Getting enough protein is important – we all know that. Because of that, it’s important to fill your diet with a lot of protein-rich foods, including meat, fish, and dairy products like whole milk and even cheese.

It’s also important to get enough foods considered complete proteins. Most complete protein sources are animal products. So, how about cheese? Is it a complete protein or not?

Is cheese a complete protein?

Cheese and other dairy products are derived from animals, which means they are a complete protein. Because of that, you can get all nine essential amino acids that your body needs by eating cheese.

What’s more, cheese makes for a rich source of various vitamins and minerals. So, eating it will not only help you load up on protein but also many important micronutrients.

As a result, adding cheese to your diet in moderation is very beneficial for your health.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Why is cheese a complete protein?

Cheese is an animal product. Because of that, it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. 

This makes cheese a great source of protein that provides you with more benefits than some other protein-based foods.

Here, it’s also important to remember that only real cheese is a complete protein. If you choose to eat lactose-free or vegan versions, you won’t get all the essential amino acids. 

Is cheese a complete protein?
Is cheese a complete protein?

So, if you want to eat cheese for its complete protein profile, choose real cheese instead.

Can you make cheese an even better source of protein?

Since cheese is already a complete protein, you don’t have to serve it with any other food to increase its amino acid content. 

But many people still prefer to pair cheese with another source of protein to get even more out of it.

A good idea is to cook chicken with peach and cheese together. That way, you’re not only getting more protein and amino acids in a single serving, but you’re also upping your intake of fiber and other vitamins from the fruit.

Eating cheese as part of salads is another great idea to get more micronutrients as well as fiber. 

It’s also good since cheese is rather high in calories, so when you eat it in a salad, you’re less likely to overdo it.

Are all types of cheese complete proteins?

As long as you eat real cheese, it doesn’t matter what cheese type you choose. All types of cheese, including gouda, cheddar, blue, Brie, feta, and others, contain all nine essential amino acids, so they’re complete proteins.

Why is cheese a complete protein?
Why is cheese a complete protein?

Other types of cheese, such as goat cheese, is also a complete protein since it’s also animal product. So, you can eat this kind too and get all the same benefits as well.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that only real cheese made with animal milk is a complete protein. 

So, all imitation, vegan, and vegetarian cheese types don’t contain the same number of amino acids as well as nutrients.

So, if you want to up your intake of complete proteins and follow a diet that allows cheese, make sure to choose the real kind to get the most out of it.

It’s also worth noting that even though cheese is a complete protein, it’s high in calories. So, you need to eat a lot of it to get a decent amount of each of the nine amino acids. 

Because of that, it might be beneficial to consume more other low-calorie complete protein sources instead.

Is cheese good for you?

The nutritional profile of cheese depends strongly on the kind you choose. Luckily, most types of cheese provide you with a great dose of protein. 

Generally, an ounce of cheese contains around 7 g of protein, which is around 14% of your daily need.

Protein helps fuel your muscles and contributes to good energy levels. A diet high in protein can also improve weight loss, as it increases the feeling of fullness after eating and protects your muscles.

Cheese is also an excellent source of calcium. A single one-ounce serving of cheese contains 20% of your daily recommended need for this mineral

Calcium is very important for the health of your bones. It also ensures that your heart, muscles, and nerves remain in good condition. 

Is cheese good for you?
Is cheese good for you?

This means that getting enough calcium lowers your risk of muscle- and nerve-related issues as well as heart disease.

Some studies also show that eating dairy products like cheese lowers your risk of cavities. This can be due to the high calcium content as well as other vitamins. But it’s a great benefit, especially important for children.

Eating cheese, especially high-fat varieties like blue cheese, Brie, and cheddar, provides you with a great amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). 

This type of healthy fat is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation.

All types of cheese contain a lot of B vitamins in a single serving. These water-soluble micronutrients are very important for your health. 

For example, they help break down carbs and turn them into energy, and transport nutrients throughout your body.

So, be sure to eat a lot of foods high in these vitamins.

Some types of cheese are also much lower in calories, and this includes goat cheese. Because of that, if you enjoy cheese but want to lose weight, this cheese might be your best option.

Goat Cheese
Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is also a better source of copper than other types of cheese. This mineral is important for you as it helps your body form red blood cells. 

Along with iron, it maintains healthy blood vessels, bones, nerves, immune system, and even helps prevent osteoporosis.

Conclusion

All types of cheese are complete proteins. This means that your body gets all nine essential amino acids that your body doesn’t produce from even a small serving of this delicious food.

Additionally, cheese is rich in important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, riboflavin, and many others, depending on the variety you choose. 

So, adding some cheese to your diet – provided it’s in moderation – can be very good for your overall health. 

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Sources: Nutrition Data, Karger, National Library of Medicine