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The Biggest Danger Sign You're Eating Too Much Cheese, Says Science

A lover of cheese? Here's what you need to know.
Cheddar cheese slices crackers

For many years, the world was told that eating foods high in fat was bad for you. Researches starting as early as the 1970s would make claims that a low-fat diet was the best option for your health, and soon, grocery stores saw a boom of low-fat foods flooding the shelves. While these foods have the facade of being healthy, they are usually packed with added sugars and are lacking an essential macronutrient we need to feel satiated after a meal—fat. That's right, having fat in our diets is actually good for our bodies, despite what nutrition researchers and lobbyists have claimed in the past. However, it's the type of fat that is important to keep in mind, which is why there's one particular danger sign of eating too much cheese that you need to be aware of.

Here's why learning about the fat in your cheese is essential, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Cheese is still completely fine to eat.

So where does the fat in cheese come from? Cheese is a dairy product that comes from milk, meaning that the milkfat is what's used to make a block of cheese. If you were to look at 1 oz. of classic cheddar cheese, it contains 9 grams of fat (which is 13% of your recommended daily value) and 6 grams of saturated fat (30% of your daily value).

Let us be clear—eating cheese is not bad for you! Despite the unpopularity of consuming dairy as an adult, studies have actually shown how dairy products—such as cheese—are not only considered a sufficient healthy source of protein and fat, but can also assist with your neurological function and even inflammation. Not to mention the boost of nutrients you get when you consume dairy products, like calcium and vitamin D.

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But only in small portions.

Now here's where people may get confused about cheese. If cheese is a good source of protein and fat for your body and provides you with an excellent amount of nutrients, then why do so many people believe cheese to be the devil incarnate?

That's because cheese does have a high amount of saturated fat in it. Unlike trans fat (which comes from fried foods and can lead to inflammatory diseases), saturated fat is okay to have in your diet. But in moderation. For adults, the dietary reference intake (DRI) says that saturated fat should only take up 10% of your total calories of the day. So for someone eating a 2,000 calorie diet, that would mean only 22 grams should come from saturated fat. So if a 1 oz. block of cheese has around 6 grams of saturated fat, this would mean you would only be allowed a little over 3.5 oz. of cheese a day—or whatever 10% of your daily calorie goal is.

The American Heart Association, however, says that the amount of saturated fat should be even less—ranging between only 5% to 6% of your daily calories. This would equate to about 13 grams in a 2,000 calorie diet, which would be about 2 oz. of cheese.

This, unfortunately, is where cheese and dairy can get a bad rep. Too much saturated fat can cause your LDL "bad" cholesterol to rise, and can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the National United Kingdom Health Service (NHS). Plus, by eating high amounts of saturated fat, your body will consume extra calories and gain extra weight because of it.

If you don't portion it out, you'll gain weight.

The danger sign of eating too much cheese is pretty clear: You'll gain weight. If you find yourself a lover of cheese and eating it in large portions on a regular basis, you may just see the pounds add on. This is likely because of the high amounts of saturated fat that you are consuming consistently.

However, as we mentioned, cheese is not bad for you. It's okay to have a little bit of cheese in your diet—even on a daily basis. It's important to actually portion it out and not overdo it. This way you can enjoy the food you love (cheese!) without worrying about additional weight gain, increased cholesterol levels, and the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

For more information, Here's What Happens to Your Body If You Eat Cheese Every Day.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, with a main focus on food coverage, nutrition, and recipe development. Read more