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Nutrition of Goat Cheese vs. Feta Cheese

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Nutrition of Goat Cheese vs. Feta Cheese
A bowl of feta cheese garnished with lettuce and olives. Photo Credit: Magone/iStock/Getty Images

Feta is a brined cheese traditionally made from sheep’s milk, although it may also contain goat’s milk. Greek and Bulgarian feta cheese are two examples. Goat cheese is a tolerable alternative for some people who are allergic to cheese made from cow's milk. Both feta and goat cheese provide essential nutrients, and you can consume them in a variety of ways as part of a balanced diet.

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Stick to Smaller Portions

A 1-ounce portion of feta cheese contains 75 calories, a comparable serving of hard goat cheese has 128 calories, and 1 ounce of soft goat cheese has 76 calories. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, full-fat cheese is one of the main sources of calories in the typical American diet. Consuming more calories than you expend every day can lead to weight gain. To limit your calorie intake when consuming cheese, monitor your serving sizes and eat your cheese with lower-calorie foods. Try a watermelon and feta salad or roasted eggplant topped with goat cheese.

Choose Cheeses Lower in Saturated Fat

An ounce of feta cheese contains 6 grams of fat, including 4.2 grams of saturated fat, while an ounce of hard goat cheese has 10 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated. An ounce of soft goat cheese has 6 grams of total fat and 4.1 grams of saturated fat. Cheese is one of the main dietary sources of saturated fat, which raises levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in your blood and can increase your risk for heart disease. You should get no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from saturated fat, which is 22 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Have your feta cheese with low-fat foods, such as lean ground turkey, or pair your goat cheese with healthy fats, such as walnuts.

Go with Goat Cheese for Less Sodium

Feta cheese has 260 milligrams of sodium in a 1-ounce serving. The same serving of hard goat cheese has 120 milligrams, while an ounce of soft goat cheese has 130 milligrams of sodium. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Healthy adults should limit daily intake of sodium to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams; certain groups should limit their daily intake to 1,500 milligrams. Cheese is among the top contributors of sodium to the typical American diet. To limit your sodium intake when you have feta or goat cheese, eat your cheese with low-sodium foods, such as cherry tomatoes with goat cheese, or feta in a salad with romaine lettuce and grapes.

Hard Goat Cheese Has More Calcium

An ounce of feta cheese has 140 milligrams of calcium, or 14 percent of the daily value for calcium. A comparable serving of hard goat cheese provides 254 milligrams of calcium, while an ounce of soft goat cheese has only 40 milligrams. Calcium is an essential nutrient for building and maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, dairy products are the main source of calcium, and the typical American gets less than recommended amount of calcium. Spinach is another source of calcium, and a Greek spinach and feta cheese pie can be a high-calcium entrée.

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