Say Cheese: Comparing the Nutrition of Different Cheeses

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Ah, cheese. Whether served as a garnish, a topping, or paired with wine, cheese satisfies cheese lovers’ taste buds while adding a nutritional component, too. Have you ever wondered about the basic characteristics of the cheeses found in your local supermarket or specialty cheese shop? Comparing the nutritional values and characteristics of some cheese categories may help you navigate the ever-expanding cheese offerings available today.

Cheese: A Quick Comparison

The following table compares the nutritional values of some cheeses based on 1 oz servings:


CheeseTypeCalories (kcal)Total Fat (g)Calcium (mg)Sodium (mg)
BlueSemi-Soft1008.2150395
BrickSemi-Soft1058.4191159
BrieSemi-Soft*957.952178
CamembertSemi-Soft*856.9110239
CheddarSemi-Hard1149.4204176
ColbySemi-Soft1129.1194171
CreamFresh979.72891
CottageFresh260.519.6115
EdamSemi-Soft1017.9207274
FetaFresh756.0140316
GoatSemi-Soft1038.584146
GoudaHard1017.8198232
GruyereSemi-Hard1179.228795
HavartiSemi-Soft110106180
MontereySemi-Hard1068.6211152
MascarponeFresh125133016
Mozzarella, part skim milkFresh724.5222175
Mozzarella, whole milkFresh856.3143178
MuensterSemi-Soft1048.5203178
ParmesanHard1117.3336454
ProvoloneSemi-Soft1007.6214248
Ricotta, part skim milkFresh392.27735
RomanoHard1107.6302340
SwissSemi-Hard1087.922454

* Soft-ripened cheese

No two types of cheese are exactly alike, and the quality and flavor of many cheeses depend on skillful aging and appropriate storage. According to cheese expert Laura Werlin, author of Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials, cheese aging is reflected in its moisture content and may move a cheese variety from one category to another.

Cheese: A Closer Look

Cheese is categorized by texture. Four common categories are included within the nutrition comparison table. Let’s take a closer look at what they mean.

  • Fresh cheeses, such as mozzarella, feta, and cottage, are unripened and have not been aged. Fresh cheeses have a high moisture content with a creamy taste and a soft texture. Cheeses in the “fresh” category have slightly lower calories than other categories, with the exception of mascarpone.
  • Semi-soft cheeses are popular with cheese enthusiasts, and most soft cheeses are included in this category. Cheeses in the semi-soft category include colby and havarti and the average calorie count for a 1 oz serving is 101.5 kcals. Brie and Camembert are often included in the semi-soft category, but Werlins prefers to include them in their own category of “soft-ripened”. Werlins explains this is ‘because of their distinct flavors and texture’ and because of the white rind created around the cheese during ripening.
  • Semi-hard cheeses (also called semi-firm cheeses) include the ever-popular cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack. Semi-hard cheeses are the most readily available at your local retailer since their shelf life is longer and, as Werlin suggests, “the relative lack of moisture in these cheeses tends to equate to comparatively mild aromas.” Semi-hard cheeses contain over 200 mg of calcium per 1 oz serving and, for the most part, have slightly higher calories compared to the other cheese categories.
  • Hard cheese is a broad category of cheeses and may include textures that range from elastic at room temperature, to hard cheeses that may be grated. Hard cheeses have less moisture content and a lot of flavor added, reflected in the higher sodium content. They also have some of the higher levels of calcium per 1 oz serving. Examples of hard cheeses are Gouda, Parmesan, and Romano.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the different cheese categories and their characteristics may give you added confidence when navigating cheese counters and cheese shops.

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