Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.
For some people, Velveeta cheese is a comfort food and its gooey goodness is a bit addictive. Whether creating a gooey grilled cheese sandwich from this soft cheese or spreading it on crackers, some Velveeta fans can’t live without its soft, satisfying taste and texture. But is Velveeta healthy?
What Is Velveeta?
Velveeta is a brand of processed cheese produced by Kraft Foods. It made its debut in1918. Back then, it was deemed to be a healthy and nutritious product and was even endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1930s.
This “velvety cheese” is made from a blend of milk, whey, and vegetable oils. With a smooth, creamy texture and a mild flavor, people some people use it as a melting cheese, for example, in grilled cheese sandwiches and nachos.
Although Velveeta cheese advertises its product as a soft cheese, if you read the label, you’ll see it’s a ‘processed cheese food” and only mentions cheese as the last item on the list, labeled “cheese culture”. So, it only contains a small amount of cheese and is more of a cheese product.
Other ingredients include milk, milk fat, whey protein, and alginate which is a gum found in seaweed. It also contains sodium citrate and coloring. If you’re looking for a natural food product, Velveeta doesn’t qualify since it undergoes a fair amount of processing.
Velveeta Is High in Protein
Even though Velveeta contains only cheese culture, it’s a surprisingly good source of protein at five grams per serving. This is due to the milk and whey in Velveeta.
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process and whey protein is frequently used by bodybuilders because it’s a complete protein with all the essential amino acids bodybuilders need to build lean body mass.
What About the Fat and Calorie Content of Velveeta?
In terms of calories and fat, a serving of Velveeta cheese has six grams of fat, of which four grams are saturated. An abundance of saturated is harmful because it can raise your cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease. Too much saturated fat could also contribute to weight gain, which can increase your risk for other health problems, such as diabetes.
In contrast to Velveeta, a single serving of some cheddar cheeses made with whole milk can have up to fourteen grams of fat per serving. Velveeta is lower in fat than most standard cheese and cheese spreads and has no trans fat.
What about calories? A single serving has eighty calories, less than most standard, whole milk cheeses. However, the serving size of Velveeta is small. If you consumed a single container of this processed cheese, you’d be up 2,500 calories, as much as some people need in an entire day.
Other Nutritional Information
Because it’s processed, Velveeta cheese is high in sodium with 410 milligrams per serving, almost a quarter of the recommended daily sodium intake in a single serving.
Due to its high sodium content, it's not a desirable choice for those with blood pressure issues, heart problems, or anyone trying to reduce their sodium intake. It’s also lower in cholesterol than most standard dairy-based cheeses.
One nutritional benefit of eating whole cheese is the high CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content. Some studies show CLA has potential health benefits and may help with fat loss. Even though Velveeta is not a true cheese, it’s a reliable source of CLA, containing more than most whole milk cheddar cheeses.
Is Velveeta Cheese Healthy?
If you're looking for a natural product, Velveeta processed cheese spread isn’t for you. Not only is it processed, but it contains enough preservatives that you can store it in the cabinet unopened without refrigeration.
In terms of fat content, calorie content, and overall nutrition, it’s not as bad as you might expect for a processed product, although the high sodium content is a drawback. Because of the preservatives and high sodium content, it may be best to eat dairy-based cheese in moderation and avoid Velveeta. At least you’re not filling your body with preservatives and additives.
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- Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Kunutsor S, et al. Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(6):398-406. PMID: 24723079 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24723079/.
- "CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review - Healthline." 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/conjugated-linoleic-acid.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.