Cottage Cheese on Slow Carb – The Low Down
It’s a question that goes through the mind of every slow carber when they start looking beyond the usual options for protein – bored with beef, sick of chicken, fed up with fish, and we start thinking about that ‘exception’ to the dairy rule that’s mentioned in the book. So, what’s the real story with cottage cheese? And is it really an acceptable alternative? What about it being a dairy product?
Let’s kick-off with some background.
Slow carb meals are comprised of:
- a serving of legumes (beans or lentils)
- a lean protein source
- vegetables (preferably leafy greens, or close to it)
So, where does cottage cheese fit in to that picture? Number 2 – it is noted as an ‘OK’ backup option if you’re stuck without meat/fish/chicken/eggs/other lean protein.
So does it really do the same job of a slab of chicken breast? Or a salmon fillet?
Well that depends a little on what you’re looking to achieve. If you’re planning out your next week’s groceries, and you figure you can slot in a cup of cottage cheese for every breakfast, you might be a little disappointed when your fat loss slows down. But, if you see a Thursday afternoon where packing a late lunch with meat just won’t fly, then cottage cheese could be a great alternative.
Just the facts
Gram for gram, ounce for ounce, cottage cheese does pack a lot of protein. Certainly more than any other cheese or similar dairy product. Compared to meat, though, it’s not delivering anything like the same amount. But there’s more to it than that.
In 100g of Cottage Cheese, we get:
- 13g protein
- 2g fat
- 4g carbohydrates (which is mostly sugar)
In 100g of Chicken Breast, we get approximately:
- 32g of protein
- 4g of fat
- 0g carbohydrates
So, you could say that to get the same amount of protein from cottage cheese, that you just need to eat around 250g (or 1 cup). Let’s take a look at what else you would get with that, however. If you ate that much cottage cheese, as a replacement for a chicken breast, you’d also get around 5-6g of fat (about the same as the chicken, a little higher), plus around 10-12g of carbohydrates, most of which is sugar.
So with the cottage cheese, you might get more than you bargained for.
But isn’t it dairy?
This is the interesting thing about cottage cheese. Obviously, it is a dairy product, made from cow’s milk generally. The difference with cottage cheese, and cottage cheese alone (not yogurt) is that the process it goes through to become cottage cheese results is there being almost no lactose present at all. This explains why mysteriously some lactose-intolerant folks can happily eat cottage cheese without a problem. The lack of lactose is also why Tim Ferriss included it in the ‘grey area’ of slow carb foods, because he cites lactose specifically as the reason he thinks dairy slows/prevents fat loss.
So can you eat it? Is cottage cheese allowed on the slow carb diet?
The answer to this comes down to personal choice. Getting protein is a key to success, so if you’re in a tight squeeze, then it’s better than not getting anything. However, including it into a regular meal routine could mean slowed fat loss, as it delivers sugar where there normally wouldn’t be any, and one key to slow carb’s success is controlling glycemic load, and potentially even reaching a point of ketosis (where fat is being used for energy, not carbohydrates).
So, despite its delicious taste, cottage cheese isn’t a great, regular, substitute for a lean cut of grass fed beef, or lean turkey breast, for a simple reason – it’s a different product, and it’s nutritional profile is quite different to the above mentioned proteins. That said, I do use it at times as a protein addition, for variety. So once or twice a week, I drop one of my eggs from breakfast, and include some cottage cheese on the side. Likewise once a week, or so, I might have a couple of tablespoons on the side of a meal that has some real heat to it (using cayenne pepper or hot tomato salsa with no sugar or corn).
Do you think I’ve been fair to cottage cheese? Leave your thoughts below in the comments!
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