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The 4 Worst Cheeses for Belly Fat, Says Science

You might want to read the labels next time you need your cheese fix.

This may sound cheesy, but cheese is delicious. There are so many types to choose from, and different varieties of it. You can add it to your dishes, make recipes out of it, or just eat it by the slice. Unfortunately, like most delicious-tasting foods, you have to eat cheese in moderation, or else you could suffer some consequences to your body, like belly fat.

Along with eating cheese with self-control, certain cheeses are worse for you than others. If you're watching your weight, cheese can play an important role in your diet. However, it depends on which cheeses you eat. Selecting types to eat may sound complicated if you're a lover of all things cheese—how do you know which cheeses to stay away from? If you're trying to avoid belly fat, experts suggest staying away from processed cheeses.

According to Medical News Today, processed cheeses are cheeses made from natural stuff. However, they are shredded and heated to a liquified substance of protein, water, and oil. It's then mixed with emulsifying salts—salts normally found in processed cheese– to create a sturdy oil-in-water mixture of liquids. These mixtures are used to create cheeses that solidify and essentially have a longer shelf life.

According to the American Heart Association, you are suggested to eat three servings per day of cheese per day. One serving is 1.5 ounces, so you can eat about 4.5 servings a day. Eating a ton of processed cheese could set you way over the limit for the day. This is because processed cheeses could come with tons of extra sodium and be high in fat and calories, leading to weight gain and essentially causing belly fat.

To help you figure out which cheeses to choose from on your next grocery shopping day, we've come up with some cheeses that are highly processed. Then, for more on weight gain, check out The Best Coffee Creamers for Belly Fat– Ranked!

Cheez Whiz

Cheez whiz

According to an article posted by The Huffington Post, there was a time when people tried promoting Cheez Whiz as a "healthy" artificial cheese spread. This is because Whiz contains an ingredient called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which naturally occurs in meat and dairy products. It's been shown to help burn fat and build muscle.

The article states that CLA in Cheez Whiz likely comes from its ingredients which are cheese culture, canola oil, and protein concentrate. However, that doesn't make up for the unhealthy ingredients, including modified food starch, corn syrup, sorbic acid, and added color.

If you're looking to get your CLA intake, try consuming beef and/or full-fat dairy products, which are found naturally and not through processed cheese.

American cheese slices

American Cheese

We're talking about the cheese singles that come individually wrapped that you can most likely keep in the back of your refrigerator for months without it going moldy.

The FDA classifies adding the "cheese" label to processed cheeses if the product is made with at least 51% real cheese. Therefore, certain prepackaged single cheeses might be able to get by in this category.  The product is not made with real cheese if you see the package labeled as "cheese food" or "cheese product."

To decipher which cheese to purchase versus another, make sure to look for a "true cheese" instead of a "cheese product." You also want to make sure that the ingredients list is short and sweet. The more ingredients you see, the more product and unnatural the cheese.

Similarly, you also want to make sure these cheese slices contain low levels of fat and sodium.  If a cheese single does say it's low fat, double-check the ingredients. If it has things like corn syrup solids and gelatin, in it, don't buy it.

Nacho cheese

Old El Paso Nacho Cheese Sauce

Although it's literally in the title, there's technically no such real thing as nacho cheese. According to Bloomberg, the USDA won't define nacho cheese, therefore not classifying it as cheese. Every company that creates nacho cheese sauces and/or nacho-flavored snack foods uses a different recipe and cheese combination. It can be mixtures of cheddar, Romano, blue cheese…whatever their recipe calls for.

Is a mystery cheese your best option? No. If you see the jars and cans stocked on non-refrigerated shelves, it feels like it's going against real cheese. Although delicious and a great topping for chips, with all the processed ingredients that go into it, you're putting high amounts of fat and sodium into your body.

Spray cheese

cans of easy cheese
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Think of whipped cream in a can, but make it cheese. A fun product to easily squirt on top of crackers (or directly in your mouth), it's an easy way to eat some delicious tasting cheese. Easy Cheese is the most popular brand, although few brands make cheese in a can. It is indeed easy, but you deal with the consequences of processed cheese.

High in sodium, this cheese comes with a bunch of unnatural ingredients to sustain its shelf life. The cheese is pasteurized, meaning it doesn't require refrigeration (even after you open it). If you're looking to lose belly fat, stay away from the can and make your way to the cheese aisle in the refrigerated section.

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Kayla Garritano
Kayla Garritano graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more about Kayla