Pepper Jack cheese is the perfect choice for keto meals because it’s the lowest-carb cheese. Not only does it have a low carb count, but it also includes a healthy dose of fats. It’s also a source of calcium and protein, not to mention natural lipids that are essential for health.
Pepper Jack Cheese
Serving Size: 1 ounce (28g)
Is Pepper Jack Cheese Keto?
Yes, Pepper Jack cheese is keto-approved. The net carbs in Pepper Jack cheese are 0 g per portion, which means you can practically enjoy as much of it as you want. It’s a high-protein, high-fat cheese that will help you get into a ketogenic state easily.
As you probably already know, keeping your carb count in check is important for maintaining ketosis. Even if you scale up, you’ll find that 100g of Pepper Jack cheese is only 0.7g of carbs. That’s very little compared to the maximum daily carbs of 30g that you’d strive for when on keto. This buttery favorite, also known as Monterey Jack, is common in many keto recipes due to the aforementioned low carb count.
Health Benefits of Pepper Jack Cheese
We already know that the calories in Pepper Jack cheese are relatively low when compared to other cheeses. This not only makes it better for the ketogenic diet, but there are quite a few health benefits, too. Let’s take a look at them.
High Source of Protein
Your protein intake is very important, whether you’re a professional athlete or just someone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. Generally speaking, most people need to add more protein to their diets and reduce their carbohydrate intake. This will allow your body to work towards optimal health. Pepper Jack provides 7g of protein per portion, which is not a small amount.
Better Bone Health
As this cheese contains a lot of calcium, consuming it regularly will likely improve your bone health. Calcium is important for children to grow healthy bones, as it is part of the basic bone structure. Eating calcium-rich foods like Pepper Jack cheese can also help older people reduce their risk of osteoporosis—a debilitating, degenerative disease that people get as their bones lose calcium when they age.
Most of us need to learn how to consume fewer calories overall. One of the best ways to do that is to eat foods that keep us satiated for longer. Because Pepper Jack is a high-fat, high-protein cheese, it will keep you full for a long time. This means you are less likely to overeat.
Improved Weight Loss
As this cheese is highly satiating, you would likely consume fewer overall calories when it is included in your diet. Also, if you add it to your recipes, this cheese will help you achieve ketosis. According to scientific research, ketogenic diets aid in weight loss and improve overall health.
Suitable for Other Low-Carb Diets
This cheese is not only keto-approved, but it’s also suitable for strict keto diets that heavily restrict carbohydrate intake. Even if you’re on other diets, such as Atkins, Pepper Jack cheese is a great low-carb option to consider adding to your meals.
Suitable for Lactose Intolerance Patients
Lastly, research has shown that Pepper Jack cheese is relatively well tolerated by those who have lactose intolerance. Of course, every individual has their own reaction to lactose in cheese, so proceed carefully and consult with a dietician if needed.
How to Incorporate Pepper Jack Cheese into a Keto Diet
Now that you know about the low carbs in Pepper Jack cheese, you’re right in thinking that you need recipe ideas on how to use it. Consider the following options:
- Grilled cheese: When paired with keto bread, this gooey cheese is a great option for a light lunch or quick snack.
- Add on meatballs: Because it melts so well and has a mild flavor, Pepper Jack goes well with meatballs.
- Quesadillas: Make a Mexican-style grilled cheese with chicken (or any other protein) using Pepper Jack and Oaxaca cheese together.
- Add to a salad: You don’t need to heat this cheese to enjoy it. Shred it and add it to any salad to increase its protein and fat content.
- Melt on your favorite proteins: Be it grilled chicken, barbeque beef, or pulled pork, Pepper Jack pairs well when melted on top.
- Casseroles: Vegetable-based dishes like Cauliflower gratin, green bean casserole, or even broccoli cheese—work well with Pepper Jack.
Which Cheese to Avoid on Keto?
Low-carb cheeses are the only types of cheese you should eat when on keto. Unfortunately, that’s not how cheese is categorized in the dairy section of your grocery store. Even though cheese is not considered a source of carbs, small amounts quickly add up. Here are the cheeses you should avoid on keto:
- Low-fat cheese: To preserve the flavor profile of cheese, manufacturers add in a lot of sugar and carbohydrates when they remove fats. In other words, the price of that “low fat” label is added carbs. Low-fat cheeses also don’t work well with keto because you need fats to turn into ketones and reach ketosis.
- Processed cheeses: When on keto, you should eat wholesome natural ingredients. While many processed cheeses (American, spray-on, etc.) are high-fat, they also include ingredients that are detrimental to your health. Many also contain a high level of carbs.
- Cottage cheese: Lastly, this cheese is usually considered healthy, but it is not keto-approved for its high carbohydrate content (5g in a half-cup serving). That may not be much, but it can add up quickly.
All in all, Pepper Jack is a nutrient-dense cheese that you can add to your keto meals without worry. It’s not going to get you out of ketosis and will aid in you achieving your goals. Its mild buttery flavor compliments a wide variety of dishes, so it’s an easy cheese to incorporate into your meals. You can even enjoy it alone as a snack!