Cheddar Cheese Vs. American Cheese: Which One Is Healthier?

Cheese is a versatile dairy product available in uncountable varieties. It has become a standard accompaniment to most food options such as burgers and pizzas, Mexican dishes, sandwiches, and whatnot.

Be it a snack, appetizer, sauce, pastry, or soup; cheese has invaded every dish.

Have you ever wondered about its nutritious value with cheese as a bigger adjunct to food? Out of thousands of varieties of cheese, American and cheddar cheese are widely used, and people often wonder whether these two are high-quality options or low-quality.

Since American and cheddar cheese are a major part of your food, you must know which one is healthier and should be used frequently.

Cheddar cheese is rich in nutrients and contains a higher content of proteins, fats, and calories. It’s also rich in vitamins such as vitamins B2 and folate. On the other hand, American cheese has a higher content of carbohydrates and is rich in iron, calcium, potassium, and copper. While both types of cheese have some positive effects on health, cheddar cheeses have more beneficial effects on health than American cheese.

Today’s article will explain the difference between cheddar cheese and American cheese, their nutritious value, potential health benefits, and downsides:

What Is American Cheese?

American cheese has a smooth, soft, and creamy texture. It has a light flavor or can be regarded as bland in taste. Other cheeses are added to produce more flavor.

Unlike other cheeses, it is not made by natural aging; thus, it is not considered real cheese.

It is made by artificial processing and has fewer flavors. Milk, whey protein, food coloring, and emulsifiers are used in its artificial processing.

Being a popular food adjunct in America and Canada, it is an important part of hamburgers, cheese dips, and cheese toppings. Although it cannot meet the period of naturally processed cheese, it still has an aging time of 80-90 days.

Because of the addition of food colorings, it’s available in various colors such as orange, white and yellow.

It can be an affordable substitute for Swiss or cheddar cheese.

What Is Cheddar Cheese?

Cheddar cheese is naturally processed cheese with a hard texture. Usually, it comes in block shapes, has a sharp taste, and crumbles easily.

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Since it is naturally processed, it is generally white but available in off-white or yellow.

Cheddar cheese is a popular food adjunct in the UK and is more expensive than American cheese. The extended aging time gives it a strong cheesy taste.

History

British colonials in America first commercially processed American cheese. In the 1970s, it was then exported back to England. Despite being recognized as American cheese, its official name is pasteurized processed cheese food.

The reason for being called processed cheese is its preparation from cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, granular cheese, and washed cheese.

This blend of cheeses should be at least 51% of the final product’s weight. The overall requirement for its preparation is 50% milk fat content and 40% moisture.

Cheddar cheese first originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. The earliest record of its production dates back to the 12th century. Like American cheese, its preparation requires a minimum of 50% fat content and a maximum of 39% moisture content.

Production

American cheese is artificially made by blending various natural kinds of cheese. All these cheeses are melted and then emulsified with suitable salts. It is then reformed into molds and saved as slices.

Sometimes, a stabilizing agent (polysaccharide xanthan gum) is added to prevent ingredients’ separation.

Cheddar cheese is made from cow milk. Its preparation consists of preparing and standardizing milk, adding stated culture with rennet, coagulating the milk, and then cutting it into cube shapes.

The cubes are then heated and agitated; whey is removed and fused into slabs. After that, it is continuously stirred, salted, pressed, and then stored in caves for at least 3-18 months.

Their Uses

American cheese is commonly used in America in hamburgers, mac, and cheese, cheese dips, grilled cheese, and sandwiches.

Cheddar cheese is commonly used in the UK and is the second most popular cheese in America. It is essential for various dishes such as soups, grilled sourdoughs, soufflés, and cheddar melts.

Nutrition

A breakdown of their nutritious details can help understand the difference between the two kinds of cheese and comprehend which one is healthier.

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The given nutritional values are for processed American cheese D and cheddar cheese.

Per 100gCheddarAmerican cheese
Calories410307
Carbohydrates2.13 g8.85 g
Fat33.82 g23.06 g
Protein24.25 g16.09 g
Water36.15 g45.07 g
Calcium711 mg1375 mg
Iron0.16 mg0.95 mg
Magnesium27 mg34 mg
Potassium76 mg295 mg
Sodium644 mg1279 mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.027 mg0.04 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.434 mg0.425 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.039 mg0.17 mg
Vitamin B60.075 mg0.124 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)0.027 mg0.018 mg
Vitamin E0.78 mg0.84 mg
Vitamin K0.002 mg0.003 mg

1) Calories and Macronutrients

Both types of cheese are rich in calories; however, cheddar cheese is higher in calories than American cheese. Both have the same average serving sizes, i-e, 1oz or 28.35g.

A 100g serving of American cheese and 307 calories, whereas a 100g serving of cheddar cheese has 410 calories.

Regarding macronutrients, cheddar cheese contains 37% water, and American cheese contains 45% water.

Source of calories in cheddar cheese

2% CARBS

24% PROTEIN

74% FAT

Source of calories in American cheese

12% CARBS

21% PROTEIN

68% FAT

2) Proteins

Every 100g serving of cheddar provides more protein than American cheese.100g serving of cheddar contains 24.25g of protein, and 100g of American cheese has 16.09g of protein.

Both are high in essential amino acids; however, cheddar cheese is rich in all essential amino acids except lysine.

3) Fats

Cheddar cheese is slightly higher in fat content than American cheese; however, American cheese has more trans fat and cholesterol than cheddar.

American cheese has 23.06g/100g of fats, and cheddar cheese has 33.82g/100g of fats, making a 47% difference.

Both types have saturated fat as the predominant fat type, followed by monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

4) Carbohydrates

American cheese has more carbohydrates than cheddar, and the sugar content primarily consists of lactose and galactose. Cheddar also contains glucose. Both types do not have any dietary fiber content.

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There are 8.85g/100g of carbohydrates in American cheese and 2.13g/100g in cheddar cheese, which makes a difference of 315%.

5) Vitamins

Both cheese types have almost the same vitamin content, but cheddar has more vitamins.

Cheddar has more folate, vitamin B2, and vitamin A. On the other hand, American cheese has more vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Both contain a similar amount of vitamin D, vitamin B5, and K and have no vitamin C.

6) Minerals

American cheese contains more minerals than cheddar cheese. It has more iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and choline.

On the other hand, cheddar has more zinc and selenium. Cheddar also has less sodium than American cheese.

7) Glycemic index

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the glycemic index of cheddar cheese is 0, and the glycemic index of low fat, processed cheese is equal to 10.

Health Benefits

Cheeses are generally considered bad for health because of a greater percentage of high saturated fats and calorie content. However, they can have some positive effects on health:

1) Cardiovascular Health

Dairy and cheese are reported to be inversely related to the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It can also benefit high blood pressure patients because of its high calcium content and other bioactive peptides.

Since American cheese contains more sodium, cheddar is a better option for people with high blood pressure.

Additionally, in a study on animals, the consumption of processed cheeses has been found to improve markers of cardiovascular disease.

2) Cancer

Strong evidence exists that suggests that daily consumption of dairy can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Fermented dairy products are also beneficial for significantly decreasing the risk of bladder and esophageal cancer.

3) Diabetes

Both have a low glycemic index, but cheddar has a lower index than American cheese so you can use it.

Negative Health Effects

1) Cancer

While cheese can protect against some forms of cancer, American and cheddar cheese has also been associated with a significant risk of breast cancer. Both contain high calcium content, so high cheese intake can cause prostate cancer.

2) Neurological Effects

Increased intake can also lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Cheddar Cheese or American Cheese

Looking at their nutritious value, we can say that both are good sources of calcium, protein, vitamins, and fats. Cheddar is richer in vitamins and expensive, whereas American cheese is richer in minerals and affordable.

Cheddar is high in fats; however, American cheese contains more trans-fats that can cause cardiovascular diseases. Cheddar also has lower sodium content.

So overall, cheddar cheese is a healthier option than American cheese.