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Health Food of the month - Mascarpone Cheese

November 2017

mascarpone cheese

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Chesnuts

Seaweed

Ice cream


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

So much is written about health food and super foods but sometimes it can be a good idea to look at the downside of some of the latest popular foods.

Mascarpone cheese is a case in point. This lovely creamy cheese with a rich flavour is used increasingly in both sweet and savoury meals and it can be easy to consider it just another of the modern cheeses with average nutritional value.

But while this soft white tasty cheese is perfect for special occasions, it is definitely not something you should be eating all the time. It is packed with calories and also with bad fats that not only will affect your waistline but could also affect the health of your heart.

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese made with the addition of certain acidic substances including lemon juice or vinegar. It is thought to originate from an area southwest of Milan over 300 years ago and is one of the main ingredients in the famous Italian desert Tiramisu.

There is some nutritional value of course. After all mascarpone is cheese is like any dairy product and contains some protein and calcium – one tablespoonful will contain around 1.6g of protein and 5% of your daily calcium requirements. It contains vitamin A and also a little sodium, which all of us need in small amounts.

But, and there is a big but, it is also a cheese that contains one of the highest levels of fat. A tablespoonful of mascarpone will contain around 10 grams of fat and of this, a high 7 grams is saturated fat.

As a comparison, for each 100 grams of cheese:

Cheddar Cheese contains 35g of fat which includes 22 grams of saturated fat
Edam Cheese contains 26g of fat which includes 16 grams of saturated fat
Brie contains 29g of fat which includes 18 grams of saturated fat
Mascarpone contains 44g of fat which includes 29 grams of saturated fat

This is a very high proportion of saturated fat – this is the fat that has been proved to raise “bad” cholesterol levels in your body putting you at a higher risk of heart disease.

It is worth noting that around a tablespoonful of Mascarpone will offer around 20 milligrams of cholesterol.

That said, of course Mascarpone is a really lovely cheese and is perfectly safe to use on occasions to add that fabulous extra texture and flavour to special meals.  It can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes and is ideal for cake fillings, cheese cakes, and even in savoury sauces to add a lovely new flavour. It can be kept in the fridge for several weeks (it needs to be well covered) and even frozen although it can then lose some of its flavour and texture when thawed.

There are some versions of low fat mascarpone cheese now coming on the market which will be a useful alternative for those watching their bad fat intake.

 


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