Already have an account?
Get back to the
Diets

Cottage Cheese: The Old-Fashioned Diet Food Is the Hot New Way to Melt Fat — Even Doctors Are Using It to Lose Weight!

Marie Damm went from size 3x to size 12 thanks to cottage cheese: "I feel like Superwoman"

With 200 million hits, TikTok is going wild for a creamy super-protein that our grandmothers swore by: cottage cheese. Carb-conscious and keto dieters in particular are raving, saying cottage cheese allows them to enjoy everything from extra-fluffy eggs and pancakes to cheesy dips, creamy pasta and no-churn ice cream as they crush their nutrition goals. But does cottage cheese really help with weight loss? Is cottage cheese keto? And is cottage cheese ice cream anywhere near as good as TikTokers say it is? We’re here to answer all your questions — and share success stories and simple but delicious cottage cheese recipes. So keep reading and prepare to be inspired:

What is cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is made by using acid to curdle any variety (nonfat, reduced-fat or regular) of milk, creating soft and creamy curds. Because cottage cheese isn’t aged, it’s considered a fresh cheese and has a mild flavor. The stuff dates back to the 1800s, when it was a popular option on homesteads and in cottages to use up excess milk. It’s even referenced in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town on the Prairie, where Ma serves it for dinner alongside tomatoes and blackbird pie.

Cottage cheese in a blue bowl that can help with a keto diet
Letterberry/Shutterstock

Does cottage cheese help with weight loss?

According to the latest research from Florida State University, simply consuming cottage cheese as a daily snack leads to stronger muscles, a quicker metabolism and better overall health. What makes such a mild cheese so powerful? For starters, it’s loaded with nutrients that heal and transform, like energizing riboflavin, waist-shrinking folate, thyroid-boosting selenium and fat-blocking calcium. 

Perhaps most crucial of all, each 162-calorie cup of cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams of casein and whey, two “super-proteins” found only in dairy products. Both casein and whey are proven to have surprising health benefits. (More on those benefits, below.) And many folks simply feel this special protein provides advantages other proteins don’t. “Cottage cheese is awesome,” raves New York weight loss expert Tro Kalayjian, DO, who personally shed 150 pounds while enjoying lots of the stuff. If you want to get lean, “it’s one of the best foods you can eat.” 

How casein and whey decrease hunger

Though just about every form of protein helps steady blood sugar and spike stop-eating hormones, cottage cheese has distinct advantages. For reasons scientists don’t fully understand, whey is better than other proteins at triggering the most important stop-eating hormones; one study even found it works better than fiber! 

“Whey digests quickly, but casein is absorbed slowly,” notes Dr. Tro, co-host of the Low Carb MD podcast. “So the hunger-control benefits you get are both immediate and long-lasting.” It’s why Dr. Tro tells patients they can eat as much cottage cheese as they please. “People just won’t eat three or four cups of cottage cheese because it fills you up so fast and keeps you full so long.” 

Bonus: Healthy cottage cheese–based desserts satisfy your sweet tooth. And the stuff has sodium in it too. “In my experience, it’s one of the few foods that gets salt cravings in check,” notes Dr. Tro. 

How cottage cheese boosts metabolism  

Let’s say you make yourself a trendy cottage cheese bowl with fun toppings — maybe melted peanut butter plus low-sugar jam, or a heap of taco fixings. It’ll not only be delicious, it will rev your metabolism significantly more than if you chose a peanut butter sandwich or taco meal. Why? “When your body breaks down protein, it releases a lot more heat than when you digest carbs or fat,” explains Dr. Tro. That heat incinerates calories. So eat cottage cheese regularly, “and metabolism can go up by 200 calories or more per day,” he says. (Click through to discover how getting more protein in the morning is helping women over 50 to lose belly-fat fast.)

The benefits of cottage cheese for women over 50

Whey and casein are an incredibly rich source of amino acids we need in abundance to build and maintain strong, firm muscles as we get older. Amino acids set off little biochemical reactions in muscle tissue that have been shown to double the rate of fat loss in those of us over age 50. The impact is strong enough that a University of Arkansas team concluded cottage cheese nutrients work nearly as well as workouts! 

Meanwhile, University of Tennessee researchers have evidence that a compound in whey called peptides block enzymes that trigger fat-cell growth. So we burn more fat and store less of it. “Grandma knew what she was doing when she reached for cottage cheese to help herself slim down,” says Dr. Tro. “Your metabolism and your health can change right away.” (Click through for more health benefits of cottage cheese.)

Is cottage cheese keto?

While cottage cheese does contain more natural milk sugars (carbs) than hard cheeses, brands like Good Culture still weigh in at just 3 grams of carbohydrates in a half cup serving or 6 grams per cup. Dr. Tro says that fits easily into a typical keto carb budget of 20-40 grams of per day.  (Click through for more on how dairy can drive keto results.) 

Does cottage cheese contain probiotics?

Brands with “live and active cultures” on the label — such as Breakstone’s Live ActiveHorizon Organic and Good Culture — “are full of probiotics, just like yogurt,” notes Dr. Tro. That means they help with everything from digestion to immunity to burning off belly fat. (Click through to learn more about the health benefits of probiotic foods.)

Does cottage cheese ice cream actually taste good?

In a word: Yes! Cottage cheese ice cream gone mega-viral for good reason. It whips up with as few as two ingredients, can be customized to suit your nutrition preferences and tastes (you can use any sweetener and add-ins you like) and tastes shockingly like real ice cream with just a hint of cheesecake mixed in.

Check out this strawberry cheesecake cottage cheese ice cream from Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie or try an Oreo-flavored cheesecake ice cream created by Danny Fix of The Dieting Cheat Code.

What if I hate the texture of cottage cheese curds?

The solution to smoothing out the texture of cottage cheese is easy: Toss it in a blender. TikTokers dump containers into the blender, whir it smooth and then pour back in the container to use all week. Once blended and free of curds, It’s a lower-cal and higher-protein swap for anything you’d normally have with cream cheese or sour cream. 

“Cottage cheese helped me reverse prediabetes and lose 103 lbs”

Before and after of Jen Witherspoon who lost 103 lbs with the help of cottage cheese
mommajenzhere

By the time Jen Witherspoon was diagnosed with prediabetes and a fatty liver, the Texas mom was already desperate to feel better. “I could barely walk from the parking lot to the grocery store,” she recalls. Her doctor offered meds but little diet guidance, so she turned to social media for inspiration. 

Jen, 46, was soon aiming to get lots of protein for as few calories as possible. “Cottage cheese became my go-to,” she shares. Protein-packed, no-cook and budget-friendly, “it controls your hunger as well as a chicken-fried steak!” 

She whipped the stuff into smoothies, spread it on bagels and used it as a salad topper. She even blended it with cream cheese and strawberries to make a tasty fruit dip. “Cottage cheese is good added to so many things. And it keeps you so full, it’s easier to make healthy choices all day.” 

In 17 months, Jen shed 103 pounds and fully reversed her health issues. Looking back, she says she succeeded by focusing on just one day and often just one meal at a time. And, of course, cottage cheese gave her a nice boost. “When I hit my goal, I just crumbled to the floor in tears of joy!”

And Marie lost 58 lbs at age 63: “I feel like Superwoman!”

Before and after of Marie Damm who lost 58 lbs with the help of cottage cheese
Nathan Bolster, Shutterstock

Dieting since age 9 and having reached 278 lbs,  Marie Damm finally resorted to weight-loss surgery in her 40s. While it did help, it wasn’t the total fix she’d hoped for. “In six months, my weight was climbing again,” recalls the Georgia caregiver. “I just couldn’t control my portions.” 

Years later, as unhealthy living took a harsh toll on women in her life, Marie went to wellness coach Jacynta Harb of Sparkle Wellness. “She had me use MyFitnessPal and start looking at my protein and nutrient intake.” 

The focus on health helped motivate Marie to make better choices — like trading her daily sandwich for a cottage cheese bowl loaded with fruit. “Bread triggers my appetite, and I found cottage cheese shuts it down.” The swap was a game changer. As she shed 58 pounds, Marie’s diabetes, high blood pressure and acid reflux disappeared. At 63, “I can do 10 times more than I used to. I feel like Superwoman!” 

Try these easy and slimming cottage cheese recipes

Any way you add cottage cheese will infuse meals with slimming super-protein. To help boost fat burn, Dr. Tro suggests using a free app like CarbManager to help get carbs down as you enjoy as many cottage cheese–spiked treats as your carb budget allows. We’ve got ideas to inspire you below. And click through for a keto-friendly cottage cheese bread recipe along with more tasty ways to work cottage cheese into your diet.

Cottage Cheese ‘Alfredo’ 

Plate of Cottage Cheese ‘Alfredo’ past
Michaelnero/Shutterstock

Inspired by TikToker @JakeCohen, who has lots more great cottage cheese recipes

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 servings cooked protein pasta or spiralized zuchinni

Directions:

In blender, blitz cheeses, seasoning and garlic until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour in skillet over medium heat. When simmering, stir in pasta or zucchini. Add cooked chicken, if desired. Season. Serves 4

Cottage Cheese Power Bowl

Bowl of keto-friendly cottage cheese with slices of cucumber, egg and tomatoes
New Africa/Shutterstock

This savory dish is perfect for a quick breakfast — customize it with whatever fresh veggies you have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
  • ¼ cup cucumber slices
  • ¼ cup diced yellow pepper

Directions:

In bowl, add cottage cheese. Top with tomatoes, egg, cucumber and pepper. Season as desired with salt and pepper, or finish with Everything Bagel seasoning. Serves 1

Bonus recipe ideas

Amped-up eggs: For extra creaminess and double the protein, just scramble 2 eggs with ½ cup cottage cheese in olive oil over medium heat. 

Protein toast: Swap mashed or blender-whipped cottage cheese for cream cheese on low-carb toast or bagels; load on fun toppings.

Ultra-easy pudding: Blend 16 oz. cottage cheese until smooth. Blitz in 1 Tbs. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. vanilla and ¼ cup healthy sweetener.

And for another sweet treat, check out this Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry dupe from dietitian Ilana Muhlstein:

@nutritionbabe

This was unreal! #mcdonalds #strawberryshortcake #mcflurry #cottagecheeserecipe #cottagecheeseicecream #highproteinrecipes

♬ original sound – NutritionBabe

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.


For more on how dairy can boost keto results, check out This Delicious Keto-Friendly Ice Cream Can Actually Help You Lose Up to 12 Pounds in a Week

For more on how adding back dairy can help you lose weight faster, check out this story from our sister magazine: Nutritionist: Adding *This* Butter Back Into Your Diet Can Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau So You Lose Faster Than Ever

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.