Growing up, you probably had Velveeta in your pantry most of the time. It is essential for making queso, the perfect ingredient for quick mac and cheese, and it melts beautifully into omelets. It’s just an easy and convenient way to add cheese into any dish!
But now that you’ve gotten more conscious of your health and you’re following a ketogenic diet, you have to wonder, “Is Velveeta keto-friendly?”
The quick unfortunate answer is no and we have listed all the reasons why you have to give up on Velveeta when following the keto diet.
5 Reasons Why Velveeta Is Not Keto-Friendly
- High in Carbs and Sugar
A ¼-inch slice of Velveeta contains 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar which is too high for keto considering of its small serving size.
It’s so easy to overindulge with this cheesy treat so you will probably eat more than just a slice. As we all know, you can only eat a very limited amount of carbs while on keto so you better use on it on foods that are both nutritious and filling like avocado, broccoli, asparagus, berries, and kale.
- It’s Not Real Cheese
Velveeta was used to be made from real cheese. Today, it’s ingredients are milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, milk fat, and tons of preservatives. Because of this, the FDA forced Velveeta to change its “cheese spread” label to “cheese product”.
- Its Shelf Life is Unrealistic
Naturally-produced cheddar cheese only contains 3 ingredients – pasteurized milk, salt, and enzymes and an unopened pack can only last between 2 to 4 months when refrigerated.
On the other hand, Velveeta contains 17 ingredients – most of which are artificial preservatives and it can last up to 6 long months even without refrigeration. Any “food” that can last at room temperature for months simply implies that it has a concerning amount of additives on it.
- Contains Little To No Nutritional Value
Velveeta contains a moderate amount of calcium, a small amount of Vitamin A and 4 grams of protein per serving.
On the other hand, natural cheddar cheese not only contains higher amounts of nutrients that Velveeta has, but it also contains higher quality of protein and healthy fats. This is especially true if the milk used in the cheese are from organic, grass-fed cows that were not injected with synthetic hormones.
Additionally, cheddar cheese is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamins A, B12, D, and K2.
- Contains Higher Amounts of Lactose Than Real Cheese
Lactose is the naturally-occurring sugar of milk.
Velveeta contains high amounts of lactose because it’s made from milk and milk by-products. Individuals with lactose-intolerance often find that they are sensitive to Velveeta.
On the other hand, real cheddar cheese contains only trace amounts of lactose even if it’s also made from milk. This is because the lactose is already consumed by the enzymes during the creation of the cheese. Thus, unlike Velveeta, real cheddar cheese can be eaten with people with lactose intolerance.
Alternative Keto-Friendly Cheddar Cheese Brands To Velveeta
The obvious alternative to Velveeta is natural cheddar cheese. However, not all cheddar cheese brands are created equal and most of them are just like Velveeta that are loaded with artificial additives.
So to make your life easier, we have listed our handpicked keto-friendly cheddar cheese brands that are organic, grass-fed, non-GMO, and free from synthetic hormones. All of them can easily substitute Velveeta especially when you’re on a keto diet.
Best Value: Organic Valley Mild Cheddar Cheese
Best Grass-Fed: Kerrygold Grass-Fed Aged Cheddar
Best Sharp Cheddar: Tillamook Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese
How To Make Keto Bacon Cauliflower “Mac” ‘n Cheese
- 2 cups (200 g) cheddar cheese
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 large head cauliflower
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) heavy cream
- 4 oz (115 g) cream cheese
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 4 cups water (960 mL)
- fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish
- Cook the bacon on medium-high heat for 6 minutes or until crisp.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and pat with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Chop the bacon and set aside.
- Chop the cauliflower into small pieces.
- Pour the water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the chopped cauliflower. Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until slightly tender.
- Drain the water and set aside the cauliflower. In the same saucepan, put the cream cheese, heavy cream, salt, cayenne, and paprika. Mix well and cook for 4 minutes until smooth and thick.
- Add the cauliflower and the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Mix the chopped bacon.
- Serve in a bowl and garnish with parsley.
Best Keto-Friendly Cheddar Cheese Recipes
Here are other delicious keto recipes with cheddar cheese that you can try. Click any of the pictures below for the recipe.
Velveeta and Cheddar Cheese FAQs
Velveeta is not good for keto because it contains high amounts of carbs and sugar per serving (3 grams of carbs per 1 oz serving). It also contains a concerning amount of artificial preservatives which makes it possible to last longer than natural cheese even without the need of refrigeration. Moreover, Velveeta contains little to no nutritional value unlike natural cheddar cheese which is packed with high quality protein, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Organic cheddar cheese is the best keto-friendly alternative to Velveeta cheese.
Velveeta is used to be made from real cheese, but now it’s made from 17 ingredients including milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, milk fat, and tons of preservative. On the other hand, real cheddar cheese is just made from 3 ingredients – pasteurized milk, salt, and enzymes. The FDA even forced Velveeta to change its label from “cheese spread” to “cheese product” due to this fact.
Velveeta is bad for you because it’s made from a lot of artificial additives that are harmful to your health. If you want to add cheese in your diet, then just go with the naturally-processed cheddar cheese from Organic Valley, Kerrygold, and Tillamook.
Velveeta does not contain wheat, barley, oats, or rye in the ingredients list so it’s gluten-free.
Kraft explicitly warns that the texture might become grainy or mushy because of the crystals that might form when you freeze Velveeta. Freezing may also cause the ingredients to break down and cause water to form on the surface of the product. Moreover, freezing can also impact the flavor negatively.
Velveeta is not considered vegan because it contains milk products.
Velveeta is not the same as American Cheese in terms of ingredients and texture. However, Velveeta tastes almost the same as American Cheese.
Unopened Velveeta can last up to 6 months when unopened even without refrigeration. Once opened, it can last up to 8 weeks as long as it’s refrigerated.
Velveeta contains dairy because it contains milk products.
Velveeta contains more lactose than real cheddar cheese. Real cheddar cheese contains just trace amounts of lactose because the enzymes used during the creation of the cheese has already consumed the lactose from the milk. Most lactose-intolerant individuals are sensitive to Velveeta but not in cheddar cheese.
Natural cheddar cheese is keto-friendly because it is high in healthy fats but it does not contain carbs and sugar. It is also high in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. However, make sure that you are buying real cheddar cheese and not just processed cheeses like Velveeta or American Cheese. Some of the keto-friendly cheddar cheese brands include Organic Valley, Kerrygold, and Tillamook .
Cheddar cheese is gluten-free because it is only made of 3 ingredients – pasteurized milk, salt, and enzymes. Products with gluten usually contain wheat, oats, barley, and rye.
Cheddar cheese contains trace amounts of lactose because enzymes used during the creation of the cheese has already consumed the lactose from the milk. Most lactose-intolerant individuals can eat cheddar cheese without having digestion problems.
Yes, cheddar cheese is vegetarian because it does not contain any animal meat. Cheddar cheese is made from pasteurized milk, salt, and enzymes.
Unopened cheddar cheese can last between 2 to 4 months in a fridge and up to 8 months in a freezer. Once opened, it can last for 3 to 4 weeks as long as it is refrigerated.
Freezing most types of cheese often changes its texture and the cheese becomes crumbly when thawed. However, firmer cheese varieties like cheddar, Swiss, and gouda tend to withstand freezing with the least damage in terms of flavor and texture.
Don’t forget to share this keto guide with your friends!