Monday, November 28, 2011

Light Laughing Cow Cheeses: Healthy or Not?

laughing_cow_cheese.jpgIn my house, we like to keep laughing cow cheeses around for snacks. You can find them on most grocery store shelves advertised as a lighter cheese option.

I find them pretty satisfying for only 35 calories per wedge. But, how is it possible to keep the calories so low?

1 Wedge of Light Laughing Cow Cheese: Light Cheddar, Cheddar, Swiss and Semisoft Cheeses (Cultured Milk and Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Whey, Cream, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Salt.

The ingredients are comparable to other soft cheese spreads like cream cheese. The only unnatural ingredients are the sodium phosphate and sodium citrate which are both preservatives. Sodium phosphate is typically used to preserve meats, and is a healthier preservative to use than nitrites. Sodium citrate is regarded as safe since it is just the salt of citric acid.

light-laughing-cow-nutrition.gifAs you can see, one wedge is very light, and adds a very small amount of calories to your diet. The main negative nutrition fact is that one wedge contains 210 mg of sodium. This is quite a bit for such a small piece of food. For the average person, it is recommended to eat less than 2400 mg of sodium per day.

The added bonus of this cheese is that one wedge delivers 8% of your daily needs for calcium. This is higher than I would expect for a small piece of cheese.

Light Laughing Cow Cheese has six different flavors: creamy swiss, garlic and herb, French onion, blue cheese, mozzarella with sun-dried tomato and basil, and queso fresco and chipotle.

My favorite is the French onion. It tastes the most like a real cheese to me. The others all taste a little artificial or have some kind of slight chemical aftertaste. Other people I know do not think so. They love all the flavors and detect no chemical taste.

I don't like a lot of additives in my food, or preservatives, but for this particular product, I still consider it an option to include in a healthy diet. Plus, I don't buy Light Laughing Cow Cheese all of the time. I do try to stick to real cheeses, but smaller amounts. That is how they keep the calories so low with this product--the serving size. One wedge is only 21 grams, and can be eaten in just a few bites.

What do you think? Would you include this product in a healthy diet?

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