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American Cheese: A Gluten-Free Alternative

American cheese is a famous and loved cheese variety which is gaining further popularity in recent times. It is a remarkable variety of processed cheese which came into existence in 1910 in the USA. It is unique due to its salty flavour and low melting point. People also know it as ‘yellow cheese’ and alternatively as ‘store cheese’. 

People in various countries consume it due to its myriad potential health benefits.  American cheese is known for providing relief to several commonly occurring diseases. Furthermore, it has a low carbohydrate content, making it preferable for people following low-carb diets. The nutrients and vitamins in the cheese make it a healthy food. Some common benefits of consuming American cheese are blood pressure regulation, regulating blood cholesterol, promoting bone health, preventing osteoporosis, etc.

The American Cheese is also unique because it mixes well with other cheese variants to form its delicious taste and firm texture. 51% of American cheese is a mix of different cheese variants, and the rest uses emulsifiers and flavouring agents.

Preparation of American Cheese

The unique flavour of American cheese comes from mixing several other cheese forms. The process starts with two or more “real” cheese varieties. 

First, these different cheese variants are ground and mixed with emulsifying agents and ingredients like salt and colouring. Then, the mixture is heated until it becomes homogeneous. Later, the cheese goes through a heating process at 150° F for pasteurisation for a minimum of 30 seconds. Finally, the melted cheese is poured into large moulds to solidify it into bricks of cheese which you can convert into slices.

Nutritional Properties of American Cheese

As per  USDA, 100 g of American cheese serving contains:

Energy: 307 kcalProtein: 16.1 gFat: 23.1 gCarbohydrate: 8.85 gFibre: 0 g

Vitamins and Minerals

American cheese is rich in vitamins and minerals, essential for your body. One hundred grams of American cheese offers the following vitamins and minerals.

Calcium: 1380 mgPhosphorus: 768 mgSodium: 1280 mgSelenium: 16.2 µgVitamin A: 270 µgVitamin D: 6.5 µg (Vitamin D2 + D3)

Health Benefits of American Cheese

American Cheese is a low-carb food that contains high-quality protein. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and vitamin A and D. Its nutrient-rich profile offers numerous health benefits. For example, American cheese consumption helps bone formation, increases metabolism, boosts immune health, improves vision, and maintains skin integrity.  It is also gluten-free and can be a portion of healthy food in a protein-rich diet.

Here are some of the key benefits of American Cheese.

Manages Blood Pressure

Research suggests that dairy consumption, as part of a nutritious and energy-balanced diet pattern, may benefit BP control and prevent or delay the onset of hypertension. Since American cheese is rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, it benefits people suffering from low blood sugar. Furthermore, the calcium content of American Cheese can help regulate blood pressure for people suffering from chronic low blood pressure. However, consuming American cheese in moderation is essential because a high sodium consumption can lead to specific health issues.

Heart Friendly

Research suggests that dairy consumption, including low-fat milk, curd, and even cheese, is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Researchers found that substituting cheese, especially for red and processed meats, reduced the risk of stroke by 11%. Another study found that a higher cheese intake is associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease. The calcium, conjugated linoleic acid, and types of saturated fatty acids in cheese may be protective for the heart.

Treats Sodium Deficiency

Sodium deficiency can have several adverse effects on the body, including lethargy, seizure, coma and even an increased mortality rate. Therefore, people with sodium deficiency should include American Cheese as a part of their daily diet. American Cheese is known for its high sodium content, with 1280 mg per 100 g of cheese. Although your required daily sodium intake differs by age and gender, a portion of American cheese can significantly improve your sodium deficiency. In addition, it can also spare people from taking sodium supplements.

Prevents Obesity

The low-carbohydrate content of American cheese makes it a healthy option for people on a low-carb diet. It is no secret that a diet containing fewer carbohydrates and ample essential nutrients and minerals can help regulate your weight and curb obesity. Furthermore, people adopting a keto diet may also find American Cheese healthier than other varieties.

Improves Bone Health

The relationship between calcium and bone health is well-known. Hence, healthcare professionals and expert nutritionists always recommend dairy products to people with poor bone health. Since calcium deficiency is one of the most common causes of poor bone health, American cheese is a healthy option to improve your bone health. One hundred grams of American cheese offers 1380 mg of calcium, one of the best dairy products. 

Several studies prove that calcium is necessary for bone development and maintenance. An appropriate intake of calcium prevents bone loss by increasing bone mineral density. According to studies, phosphorus is a structural component of bones and teeth. Therefore, phosphorus works with calcium for bone development and increases bone mass. 

American cheese has a reasonable amount of calcium and phosphorus to offer bone health improvement benefits. Studies also show that calcium from American Cheese can fulfil calcium deficiency in children.

Suitable for Celiac Disease Prevention

Studies show that people who have Celiac disease cannot consume gluten. Since American cheese is a dairy product, it does not contain gluten. Hence, it is ideal for people with gluten allergies and celiac disease. In addition, it is a healthy alternative due to its rich nutritional profile.

Other Benefits

Since American cheese tastes delicious, it is a healthier alternative for children and young adults who do not like milk to fulfil their calcium needs. The enzymes used while making American Cheese can improve the body’s metabolism. Research suggests that energy metabolism and neural control of appetite regulate body weight and may contribute to the aetiology of obesity.The high-fat content of American Cheese makes it ideal for winter recipes.

The HealthifyMe Note

American Cheese is more cost-effective than cheddar, Swiss cheese, and mozzarella. American cheese has a long shelf life and does not spoil if kept at the correct temperatures. It can be an excellent addition to your diet if you wish to go gluten-free. The high calcium content is beneficial for preventing calcium deficiency. It is a versatile ingredient that you can use raw and cooked.

Ways to Consume American Cheese

American Cheese is available in many forms. You can buy American cheese slices or bricks. Since it has a long shelf life, you can be worry-free about the quantity you purchase as you can store it for a long. However, if you want to store it for a long time, you should keep it in the freezer. 

You can use American cheese in its raw and cooked form. In addition, you can incorporate American cheese into various dishes like burgers, homemade pizza, pasta, sandwich, salads, etc. 

Delicious and Healthy Recipes Using American Cheese

Cheese is a common and popular ingredient in many dishes. Not many people dislike cheese as it has a delicious flavour that significantly adds to any dish’s taste. Depending on your tastes and cuisine preferences, you can make a huge list of dishes, from meals to snacks. Here are some of the healthy recipes you can try using American cheese.

Ultra-Healthy Veggie Sandwich with American Cheese

Veggie sandwiches are the ideal food choice for keto lovers and people who want to eat a healthy balanced meal. Here is how you can make this delicious recipe with American Cheese. Avoid using extra salt as American Cheese has a high sodium content.

Portion Size: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes 

Ingredients

Gluten-free bread or brown bread: 2-4 slices American Cheese: 2 slicesFresh iceberg lettuce: 2 leavesFresh tomatoes: 1 (sliced)Mustard mayonnaise (veg): 1 tspPlain eggless mayonnaise: 1 tspPepper: as per taste Chilli flakes: as per taste

Preparation

Take the bread slices and lightly toast them according to your preference. Take the bread slices out of the toaster or griller and place them on a clean plate to assemble the sandwich. First, add the cheese slices to the bread. Then, wash the lettuce and place it in the bread. Finally, top it with the chopped tomatoes.Sprinkle some crushed or powdered pepper on the veggies to add taste. Finally, add chilli flakes for some spiciness.Add some eggless mayo and eggless mustard mayo according to your choice.Put the loaded bread slices together to complete the assembly. Slice diagonally from the middle to make it easier to eat.Serve the sandwich with a healthy dip of your choice.

American Cheese Chicken Wrap

Chicken wraps are perfect for meat lovers who want a healthy and balanced meal. You can enhance the taste of a chicken wrap when adding some delicious and healthy American Cheese slices. This recipe is easy to make and requires less time for assembly.

Portion Size: Serves 1

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Wheat tortillas or parathas: 1-2 sheetsSliced Chicken Breast: 174 grams Sliced Red Onion: 125 gramsSliced Cucumber: 300 gramsSliced Tomato: 57 gramsAmerican Cheese: 2 slicesPepper: As per tasteSalt: As per tasteOlive oil: 15 mlLime: 1 pieceHerb mix: As per taste

Preparation

Take a pan and light toast the wheat tortillas without oil. You can also use wheat parathas instead of tortillas.Take a separate pan and add olive oil. Let the oil heat.Take out the chicken breaststroke and cover it with pepper and the herb mix.Slightly pan-sear the chicken when the oil is hot. Make sure both sides are slightly brown. Fry in low heat for 15-20 minutes till cooked. Take out the wheat tortillas and spread them out for assembly. Sprinkle some pepper on the tortillas for extra taste.Place the American Cheese slices, red onions, tomatoes, and cucumber on the tortillas. Sprinkle some herb mix on top.Place the cooked pan-seared chicken on the tortillas and drizzle some lime juice on top. Roll the tortillas to finish the wrap. Serve with eggless mayo or tomato ketchup.

American Cheese and Potato Bake

It is another vegetarian delight you can eat as a side dish with your meals. It can also be an excellent snack for winter evenings. Pair it with some pasta salad or even herb rice. 

Portion Size: Serves 1-2

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Ingredient:

Potatoes: 450 gramsFinely Chopped Onion: 125 gramsOlive oil: 10 ml (2 tsp)Salt: As per taste Pepper: As per taste Shredded American cheese: 15 gmThyme: 3 kernels

Preparation

Take the potatoes and slice them into thin pieces. Ensure they are not too thick; otherwise, they won’t cook properly. You can keep the skin on for extra crisp.Take a clean bowl and add the sliced potato with oil, onions, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and thyme. Mix them to coat the potatoes evenly. Then, take a baking tray and line the potatoes evenly. Make sure not to pack them too loose. Sprinkle the remaining mix on top. You can add extra cheese on the top as well. Cover the pan with foil.Preheat the microwave and keep it prepped. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes at 350°C. Pause after 10 minutes to check the level of cooking.Take the tray out of the oven and remove the potatoes to a plate. Serve with eggless mayo, sour cream, Rachel dressing, or ketchup.

American Cheese: Storage and Food Safety

Since American Cheese has a long shelf-life, many people like to store it for prolonged use. However, you should follow specific safety measures when storing American Cheese for a long time. Here are some precautions you should take.

Place the cheese slices or blocks in airtight containers before putting them in the freezer.Check the expiry dates and date the container accordingly before discarding the packet.Do not consume the cheese if it develops a foul odour.Check if the cheese has mould growing on it. Throw the cheese away if this happens.Keep the American Cheese refrigerated. Do not keep the cheese outside for more than 1-2 hours.People who want to store cheese indefinitely should place it in the freezer for best results.

Potential Health Hazards of Consuming American Cheese

Allergies

Some people can be allergic to American cheese. Such people should avoid the consumption of it and find other alternatives. People with dairy intolerance can eat American Cheese, but it might upset their stomachs. Therefore, people with severe dairy allergies should avoid American Cheese, or they may suffer from some serious health issues.

Adverse Effects

Like every other food, American Cheese is not a perfect ingredient for everyone. Although it does not harm you if you eat it in moderation, excess consumption can be harmful. So, here is what you should keep in mind when consuming American cheese.

Since American Cheese has a high-fat content, it might cause weight gain if you eat it in huge quantities. Dairy products are not ideal for a vegan diet as it does not allow dairy consumption.American Cheese has a high sodium content. So people with high blood pressure should not take it every day.American Cheese is processed cheese which contains preservatives. Therefore, overeating American Cheese is not healthy in the long run.Too much American Cheese can clog the arteries and promote plaque buildup, which can cause heart issues.

The HealthifyMe Note

If you want to consume American cheese for its health benefits and delicious taste, limit your consumption to 1-2 slices daily. People with high blood pressure and cholesterol should avoid taking cheese daily. Furthermore, you should consume American cheese as a part of your meals only once or twice a day.

Summary

American Cheese is quite beneficial for the body. It is tasteful and rich in nutrients to replenish the body’s nutrient deficiency. In addition, the high calcium content can be helpful for the growth and maintenance of bones. 

American Cheese is very versatile, and you can use it in various cuisines. For example, you can incorporate it into different dishes for breakfast or dinner. Since it’s gluten-free and low in carbs, you can feast on American cheese even on a low-carb diet. It is an ideal ingredient for a keto and gluten-free diet that focuses on weight loss. However, you should be careful about the quantity of consumption as excess consumption can negatively affect your health. In addition, refrain from consuming American cheese if you develop an allergy.

Everyone should follow all precautions of storing cheese and consuming cheese. If you can consciously eat American Cheese, you will enjoy the various benefits of the ingredient without suffering from its adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is American Cheese worse for you?

A. American Cheese has a lower calorie count than many popular kinds of cheese. It is also rich in minerals like calcium and sodium. Therefore, American Cheese is not as unhealthy as is commonly perceived by people. However, you should always consume it in moderation to reap its health benefits.

Q. Is American Cheese healthier than Cheddar?

A. American Cheese is way more healthy than cheddar cheese. American Cheese has a lower calorie count than cheddar cheese, making it a healthier option. It also has a better calcium content than cheddar, which is better for bones and the body’s overall growth.

Q. Is American cheese healthy?

A. If you eat it in moderation, American cheese is a healthy alternative to various cheese forms like cheddar and swiss cheese. American cheese is relatively lower in calories and rich in minerals, making it a healthy choice. In addition, its Vitamin A content can benefit the body significantly.

Q. Is American cheese high in sugar?

A. No, one hundred games of American cheese has no sugar. However, it is high in sodium, which can cause concern for people with high blood pressure. 

Q. Is there any protein in American cheese?

A. Yes, American cheese has some amount of protein. However, it is less than cheese variants like cheddar or Swiss cheese. One hundred grams of American cheese offers 16.1 grams of protein. Conversely, a recommended dose of about 30 grams of cheese will provide you with approximately 5 grams of protein.

Q. What are the side effects of eating cheese?

A. Excess consumption of American Cheese can cause some health problems. For example, the high sodium content of American Cheese can increase blood pressure levels and cause some damage to the heart. In addition, people who are allergic to dairy should avoid eating it as it might lead to stomach-related issues.

Q. Is it OK to eat cheese every day?

A. Yes, as long as you eat it in moderation, it is ok to consume cheese daily. However, it would be ideal not to include cheese in every meal every day. Also, people with high blood pressure should avoid eating cheese daily and switch to having it occasionally.

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