It may be a little retro, but cottage cheese and weight loss still go together. Low in calories and filled with satiating protein and bone-building calcium, cottage cheese may be a dieter's dream food.
And as part of a reduced-calorie diet, it may help you lose some of those unwanted pounds. If you're looking for a protein-packed entrée or side dish you can eat plain or dress up, consider giving cottage cheese a try.
Low-fat and nonfat cottage cheese are low in calories and rich in satiating protein and can support your weight-loss efforts.
Read more: Cottage Cheese Nutrition Facts
Count the Calories in Cottage Cheese
Calories are the most important part of any weight-loss plan. In order to lose, the number of calories you eat every day should be less than what you burn. Calorie needs vary depending on age, gender, body size and activity.
Most inactive women can lose on 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, and most men and active women lose on 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Cottage cheese calories vary, depending on fat content, with full-fat versions containing 220 calories per cup and nonfat versions containing 100 calories per cup, according to the USDA.
On a weight-loss diet, the nonfat version makes the most sense because it has the smallest number of calories in the same serving size. But if taste is an issue in the nonfat version, you may find the low-fat version — 1 percent fat — a happy medium with 160 calories per cup.
Give Props to Protein
You've probably heard that eggs make a good breakfast when you're trying to lose weight because they keep you full. Cottage cheese may work just as well as eggs, according to a July 2015 study published in Appetite.
This study, which compared the satiating power of eggs versus cottage cheese in a small group of volunteers, found that they both helped control hunger and concluded it was related to the protein.
Like the calories, the amount of protein in cottage cheese varies depending on the amount of fat. A 1-cup serving of full-fat cottage cheese has 25 grams, low-fat has 28 grams and nonfat has 15 grams.
Getting 25 to 30 grams of protein at a meal may be the target number for appetite control and weight loss, according to an April 2015 review article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, making the low-fat cottage cheese a good choice.
Upping your intake of protein also helps preserve muscle while you lose the fat on your weight-loss diet. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and keeping more of it while you lose weight may limit a slowdown in your metabolism.
Read more: Different Ways to Eat Cottage Cheese
Get Your Calcium
Dairy foods like cottage cheese are a good source of calcium, which is not only good for your bones but your weight as well. A reduced-calorie diet rich in dairy foods may help you lose more weight and excess body fat, according to a September 2012 study published in Obesity Research.
Though the researchers found that a calcium-rich diet improved weight loss for those following a reduced-calorie diet, the study was small with only 41 participants. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, results from clinical studies on calcium and weight loss have been mixed.
Calcium content in cottage cheese varies, according to the USDA, with 187 milligrams in a cup of regular, 138 milligrams in a cup of low-fat and 125 milligrams in a cup of nonfat.
While cottage cheese may not be as rich in calcium as yogurt or milk, it can help you meet your needs. According to the National Academies of Sciences, adults should have 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.
- USDA: "Cottage Cheese"
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Healthy Eating"
- Appetite: "The Satiating Effects of Eggs or Cottage Cheese Are Similar in Healthy Subjects Despite Differences in Postprandial Kinetics"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "The Role of Protein in Weight Loss and Maintenance"
- Obesity Research: "Calcium and Dairy Acceleration of Weight and Fat Loss During Energy Restriction in Obese Adults"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium"
- National Academies of Sciences: "Vitamins and Minerals"