It's unavoidable advice:
If you're going to eat cheese, it should be the fat-free or low-fat kind. Trouble is, that usually limits your choices to mass-produced, vacuum-sealed cheeses that have had much of their flavor sucked out along with the fat. So it's hardly an appetizing proposition. And for what real benefit? Fewer calories and a lower risk of heart disease? Not so fast.
"The combination of protein and fat in regular, full-fat cheese is very satiating," says Alan Aragon, a nutritionist in Westlake Village, California, and the Weight-Loss Coach. "As a result, eating full-fat cheese holds your appetite at bay for hours, and I've found that it cuts down my clients' food intake at subsequent meals." Aragon's advice: Enjoy snacks of full-fat cheese especially if you're on a diet. "Just don't eat it mindlessly," he says.
And if you're worried about your cholesterol, chew on this: Danish scientists found that when men ate a whopping 10 daily 1-ounce servings of full-fat cheese for 3 weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol didn't budge. Which isn't to say you should live on the stuff—just that you don't need to fear it. Full-fat cheese can be a healthy snack and a great way to make a bland meal taste better. "Cheese is the new wine," says Terrance Brennan, chef and owner of Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro & Wine Bar and Picholine restaurant, both in New York City. "There are thousands of different aromas, textures, and flavor profiles."
So look beyond the singles and strings and into the gourmet cheese section of your supermarket (or shop online at artisanalcheese.com), and use our guide to discover the best cheeses you aren't eating.