Is Cheese Good For Bodybuilding? Truth Revealed

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 10, 2023
Is Cheese Good For Bodybuilding?

Cheese is a mouthwatering, versatile, and ever-popular dairy product that has found its way into countless dishes across the globe.

But when it comes to bodybuilding, there’s often a heated debate surrounding the role of cheese in a muscle-building diet.

With its high protein content and delicious taste, many fitness enthusiasts wonder if incorporating cheese into their meal plans can provide a much-needed boost to their muscle gains.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional profile of cheese, weigh its pros and cons, and ultimately uncover whether or not this delectable dairy delight deserves a spot in your bodybuilding diet.

So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction in the great cheese debate!

Nutrition of Cheese

Cheese is a nutrient-dense food that offers a rich source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. The protein content varies depending on the type of cheese, but generally, you can expect to find around 20–30 grams of protein per 100 grams of cheese.

In addition to protein, cheese also provides essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A, all of which contribute to maintaining strong bones and overall health.

However, it’s important to note that cheese can be high in calories, fat (particularly saturated fat), and sodium.

These factors may need to be considered when incorporating cheese into a bodybuilding diet, as excessive calorie intake can lead to unwanted weight gain, while high levels of saturated fat and sodium may have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

By choosing lower-fat, reduced-sodium cheese options or consuming cheese in moderation, you can still enjoy the nutritional benefits of this protein powerhouse without compromising your dietary goals.

Cheese Contains a lot Of Protein

Cheese stands out as a protein-rich food, making it an attractive choice for bodybuilders seeking to fuel muscle growth and recovery.

With an average of 20-30 grams of protein per 100 grams, cheese offers a complete, high-quality protein source containing all nine essential amino acids needed by our bodies.

Some varieties, such as Parmesan, Swiss, and Gouda, even surpass this average, rivaling traditional protein sources like chicken or beef.

However, it’s crucial to consider cheese’s caloric density, fat, and sodium content when incorporating it into a bodybuilding diet.

By opting for lower-fat, reduced-sodium choices and practicing moderation, you can effectively utilize cheese’s protein potential without jeopardizing your nutritional objectives.

Cheese Tastes Good

Bodybuilders often incorporate cheese into their diets not only for its nutritional benefits but also for its delicious taste.

The rich, savory flavors of cheese can enhance the palatability of meals, making it easier to consume the necessary calories and protein for muscle growth.

With a wide variety of textures and tastes across different cheese types, bodybuilders can enjoy a diverse range of flavors while adhering to their dietary goals.

Cheese is Casein Protein – A Muscle-Building Advantage

One of the key reasons cheese is highly valued in bodybuilding diets is its primary protein type, casein.

Casein protein accounts for approximately 80% of the protein found in cheese, making it a significant source of this slow-digesting protein.

Casein protein digests more slowly and releases more into the bloodstream than whey protein, which the body absorbs quickly.

This gradual release provides a steady supply of amino acids to the muscles over an extended period, supporting muscle growth, repair, and reducing muscle breakdown, particularly during periods of fasting or sleep.

Consequently, the casein protein found in cheese can be especially beneficial for bodybuilders seeking to maintain a constant anabolic state, promoting optimal muscle development and recovery.

However, it’s essential to balance cheese intake with other protein sources and consider its calorie, fat, and sodium content when incorporating it into a bodybuilding diet.

Cheese Has Calcium: A Crucial Element in Bodybuilding

Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in various bodily functions, including muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and bone health.

Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, making it a valuable addition to a bodybuilder’s diet.

Adequate calcium intake is crucial for bodybuilders, as it supports proper muscle function during workouts and helps prevent injuries related to muscle cramps or spasms.

Calcium is necessary for maintaining strong bones, which is particularly important for bodybuilders who engage in high-intensity training, as this can put significant stress on the skeletal system.


What Kind of Cheese Should You Eat?

Here are some cheese varieties that are suitable for bodybuilding diets:

  • Cottage Cheese: Low in fat and high in protein, this cheese is a popular choice among bodybuilders. It contains casein protein, which provides a slow, steady release of amino acids, promoting muscle growth and recovery.
  • Greek Feta: Made from sheep’s milk, Greek feta is lower in fat and calories compared to other cheeses while still providing a good amount of protein. Opt for reduced-sodium versions if available.
  • Swiss Cheese: Swiss cheese has a relatively high protein content and lower fat levels than many other varieties, making it a suitable option for bodybuilders.
  • Parmesan: This hard cheese has a high protein content and can be used in small amounts to add flavor to dishes without adding too many additional calories or fat.
  • Mozzarella: Choose part-skim mozzarella for a lower-fat option that still provides adequate protein. This cheese is also lower in sodium compared to other varieties.
  • Ricotta: Opt for low-fat or fat-free ricotta as a versatile cheese choice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes while providing a good amount of protein.

Remember to consume cheese in moderation and balance it with other protein sources to maintain a well-rounded bodybuilding diet.

The Drawbacks of Cheese For Bodybuilding & Muscle Growth

Although cheese offers several benefits for bodybuilding and muscle growth, there are some drawbacks to consider when incorporating it into your diet:

  • High Caloric Density: Cheese is calorie-dense, which can be problematic for bodybuilders trying to maintain a specific caloric intake or those on a cutting phase. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain and negatively impact body composition.
  • High Fat Content: Many types of cheese contain high levels of saturated fat, which can contribute to increased cholesterol levels and potential cardiovascular issues if consumed in excess.
  • Sodium Content: Cheese can be high in sodium, which can lead to water retention, increased blood pressure, and hinder muscle definition. Opting for reduced-sodium varieties can help mitigate this concern.
  • Lactose Intolerance: Some individuals may have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and other digestive issues. For those with lactose intolerance, it’s essential to find alternative protein sources or opt for lactose-free cheese options.
  • Hormones and antibiotics: Some dairy products, including cheese, may contain hormones and antibiotics used in the production process. These substances can potentially disrupt hormonal balance and negatively affect bodybuilding progress.

Conclusion of Is Cheese Good For Bodybuilding?

In conclusion, cheese can be a beneficial addition to a bodybuilding diet when consumed mindfully and in moderation. It offers a rich source of high-quality protein, including slow-digesting casein protein, which supports muscle growth and recovery.

Cheese also provides essential nutrients such as calcium, which is crucial for muscle function and bone health.

However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks, such as high caloric density, fat content, sodium levels, and lactose intolerance. To maximize the benefits of cheese for bodybuilding, opt for healthier varieties like low-fat, reduced-sodium, or lactose-free options.

Balance cheese consumption with other protein sources to ensure a well-rounded diet that supports your bodybuilding goals without compromising your overall health.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.