Shopping Guide

5 Worst Cheeses For Your Health

parmesan cheese

Natural food fans rejoiced at Kraft Foods’ announcement in February 2014 to ditch the artificial preservative, sorbic acid, from its American and White American Cheese slices.

It’s certainly a step in the right direction for Kraft Foods, but there are other sleazy cheeses still in desperate need of a manufacturer makeover. Here are five of them—all of which top the list of foods to avoid for weight loss:

5. Helluva Good Natural Cheese, Reduced Sodium Cheddar

This low sodium cheese uses potassium chloride to make up for the lack of salt. The additive is considered safe by the Food & Drug Administration; however, people with kidney or heart problems should avoid it. It’s also a found in fertilizer and, until the 1960s, was used in fire extinguishers as an effective fire retardant. Helluva Gross!

EAT THIS INSTEAD: Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Sharp Cheddar (Ingredients: Organic Cultured Unpasteurized Milk, Sea Salt, Enzymes)

4. The Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Spread, Strawberries & Cream

Sweetened with Aspartame, this pink cream cheese also features carrageenan, a thickening agent derived from seaweed that’s been linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal problems. Funnily enough strawberries do not feature anywhere on the ingredient list. That cow’s laughing—at you!

EAT THIS INSTEAD: Breakstone’s Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese (Ingredients: Pasteurized Nonfat Milk and Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers)

3. Kroger American, Fat Free Singles, Pasteurized Process Cheese Product

The FDA has strict food-labeling rules based on a cheese’s ingredients, moisture content, and milkfat. Anything that’s processed cannot legally be sold as “cheese,” and is marketed instead as a “cheese product”—meaning it contains less than 51% cheese. You may be paying for 16 singles in a pack of Kroger’s product, but you’re actually getting less than eight slices of real cheese!

EAT THIS INSTEAD: Horizon Organic American Singles (Ingredients: Cultured organic pasteurized milk, organic nonfat milk, organic milkfat, sodium citrate, salt, organic annatto, microbial enzymes)

2. Fiber One Cottage Cheese, Lowfat, with Fiber

Not only high in sodium (430 mg), this cottage cheese also provides a helping of the very non-cheesy polysorbate 80—an emulsifier that also has a reputation for topically stimulating hair growth in men who are going bald (though my brief search on hair loss discussion boards did not find cottage cheese as a topical cure).

EAT THIS INSTEAD: Daisy 4% Cottage Cheese (Ingredients: Cultured skim milk, cream, salt)

1. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

This product proudly boasts “no butterfat,” “no cholesterol,” and “Better Than Cream Cheese” right on the tub. However, its main ingredient after water is partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is a trans fat—the unhealthiest kind of fat there is!

EAT THIS INSTEAD: Breakstone’s Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese (Ingredients: Pasteurized Nonfat Milk and Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers)