Soy Cheese vs. Real Cheese

Although vegans might avoid soy cheese because it contains casein, a protein from milk, soy cheese is nonetheless an important alternative for people who eat cheese. Whether you should replace regular cheese with soy cheese depends on your personal nutrition status and preferences. Soy cheese has both strengths and weaknesses when compared to cheeses made from milk.

Soy cheese can be used in place of cheeses made from milk. Credit: Smneedham/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Calories and Fat

One slice/oz. of soy cheese has 45 calories and 2 g of fat, which is far less than the 113 calories and 9.28 g of fat found in a slice/oz. of cheddar cheese. Moreover, unlike regular cheddar, soy cheese has no saturated fat or cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that people lower their intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, because both are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sodium

Too much dietary sodium causes fluid retention, which in turn increases blood pressure. The American Heart Association suggests that people limit their sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day. One slice or ounce of soy cheese has 180 mg of sodium, which is a little more than 10 percent of the suggested limit. This is the same or lower than the sodium content of dairy cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda and Swiss, which have 176, 232 and 440 mg per ounce.

Calcium

Although bone is formed when you are young, the density of that bone is preserved or lost as you get older. Lack of dietary calcium contributes to loss of bone density and can ultimately lead to osteoporosis. Although a 1-oz. slice of soy cheese provides 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 1 slice or ounce of dairy cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda and Swiss cheese provide between 19 and 22 percent of the RDA.

Vitamins

With 284 IU of vitamin A, 1 slice or ounce of cheddar provides 9.4 percent of the recommended daily allowance for adults. Other dairy cheeses have comparable amounts of this vitamin. Soy cheese provides only 2 percent of the RDA for this vitamin. Neither cheddar nor soy cheese provides vitamin C. If you are trying to boost your intake of vitamin C, try adding tomato to sandwiches made with either soy or conventional milk-based cheeses.

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