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Cheese is OK for dieters, health watchers - study says

April 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you are watching your weight and overall health, it is OK to say yes to cheese, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

When Danish researchers set out to find out what effects dairy products have on test subjects, they were pleasantly surprised to find cheese eaters had 7 percent lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, than testers who ate butter.

Both are known for high saturated fat content, so researchers theorize the protein and calcium in cheese make the difference. They help to provide satiety or fullness.

But of course, not all cheese is created equal. For example, cheddar has 110 calories an ounce with 9 grams of fat, while feta offers 4 fat grams at 75 calories.

Obika in Century City has a fun way to get "cheesy" with a Mozzarella Bar.

"Obika was the first Mozzarella Bar in the world in 2004 in Rome, and then now we have 18 Obika between Rome, Milan, London, New York, Los Angeles," said CEO Raimondo Boggia.

Boggia says the buffalo milk mozzarella is a dieter's delight, because it is 30 percent less calories than the cow milk mozzarella.

Even better is the ricotta, which has less fat than the buffalo milk mozzarella. It is made from the leftovers of the mozzarella cheese-making process.

Boggia offers a sampler of classic and smoked buffalo mozzarella, along with ricotta and the higher fat burrata. As a full service Italian restaurant, thin crust pizza and al dente pasta show dieters that they can enjoy Italian without getting weighed down. The restaurant even offers whipped ricotta as dessert with orange zest, pine nuts and a bit of honey.

"We bring abroad the best artisanal quality and the best pristine products of the Italian tradition," said Boggia.

No matter where you choose your cheese, keep your serving size to about an ounce for good health.