How many calories in a Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Stick?

Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Sticks are a popular snack made by Sargento Foods. They are convenient, individually wrapped cheese snacks that provide a quick protein and calcium boost. But how many calories are actually in one Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Stick?

Quick Answer

One Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Stick contains 80 calories.

Detailed Nutrition Information

Here is the detailed nutrition information for a Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Stick (1 stick):

Nutrition Facts Amount
Calories 80
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 180mg
Total Carbohydrate 1g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Calcium 15%
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 0%
Iron 0%

As you can see, a single Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese Stick contains 80 calories. It also provides 6g of protein and 15% of your daily calcium needs. The calories come mostly from fat (6g total fat, 4g saturated fat). It contains minimal carbohydrates and sugars.

Calories and Macronutrients Explained

What exactly are calories and macronutrients, and how do they relate to cheese?

Calories are a measure of the energy in food. Consuming more calories than your body uses will lead to weight gain. The number of calories in cheese comes primarily from fat and protein.

Macronutrients are the major nutrients that provide calories or energy in food. There are three macronutrients:

  • Fat: Cheese gets a high percentage of calories from fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram.
  • Protein: Cheese is a good source of protein. Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Carbohydrates: Cheese contains very minimal carbs. Carbs provide 4 calories per gram.

So the high calorie count in cheese comes mostly from its high fat content, with a moderate amount of calories coming from protein. The small amount of carbs in cheese contribute negligible calories.

Role of Fat in Cheese

Fat is the primary driver of calories in cheese. Hard cheeses like cheddar tend to have more fat than soft cheeses due to how they are produced. Fat makes up about 70-75% of the calories in cheddar cheese.

The rich, creamy, and smooth texture of cheese is due to its fat content. Fat carries flavor and gives cheese its characteristic mouthfeel. Several types of fat are found in cheese:

  • Saturated fat
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Polyunsaturated fat

The specific types and amounts of fat vary based on the type of cheese. Cheddar gets most of its fat from saturated fat. Fat also helps retain moisture and prolongs the shelf life of cheese.

Role of Protein in Cheese

Protein makes up about 20-25% of the calories in cheddar cheese. Cheese is an excellent source of high-quality protein.

Protein provides 4 calories per gram. The protein in cheese comes primarily from casein and whey, the two proteins found in milk. Cheese is a complete protein, meaning it provides all essential amino acids.

Protein gives structure to cheese and influences its texture. Cheese gets firmer and harder as it loses moisture during aging. This is partially due to protein cross-linking during the aging process.

The protein in cheese also contains branched chain amino acids like leucine, which may promote muscle growth and help maintain lean body mass when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Minimal Role of Carbs in Cheese

Cheese contains very minimal carbohydrates, usually less than 1 gram per serving. The small amount of carbs in cheese come from the lactose (milk sugar) retained after the cheesemaking process. Lactose gives 4 calories per gram.

Most cheeses are low in carbs since the whey is drained off during cheesemaking. Aged cheeses like cheddar have even less carbs because the lactose continues to convert to lactic acid as the cheese ages.

The minimal carbs in cheese mean it has little effect on blood sugar. This makes cheese a good option for low carb and ketogenic diets.

Factors That Affect Calories in Cheese

Several factors affect the number of calories found in different cheeses:

Type of Cheese

The type of cheese has a big impact on calories:

  • Harder, aged cheeses (like cheddar and parmesan) have less moisture and more fat due to aging. They contain more calories per ounce.
  • Soft fresh cheeses (like mozzarella and ricotta) have higher moisture and less fat. They have fewer calories per ounce.
  • Ingredient variations in cheese recipes also affect calorie content. For example, cream-enriched cheese made with added cream contains more calories than simpler cheeses.

Fat Content

Higher fat cheeses have more calories. Full-fat cheeses have around 100 calories per ounce. Meanwhile, reduced-fat and low-fat cheeses contain 30-60% less fat and calories.

For example, regular cheddar contains 114 calories per ounce, compared to reduced-fat cheddar with 89 calories per ounce (22% less). Fat-free cheddar slices contain just 49 calories per ounce (57% less).

Portion Size

Eating a larger portion of any cheese contributes more calories. Pay attention to serving sizes, especially for high-calorie cheeses.

For example, a typical 1-ounce portion of cheddar cheese is about the size of 4 dice. A 2-ounce portion would double the calories.

How Cheese Contributes to Weight Gain

Cheese is high in calories, fat, and sodium. Eating too much can lead to weight gain over time.

A 1-ounce portion of cheddar cheese provides:

  • 114 calories
  • 9g of fat (6g saturated fat)
  • 176mg sodium

If you ate a 4-ounce serving, that would provide over 450 calories and 34g of saturated fat. It’s easy to overeat calorie-dense cheeses, especially when adding cheese to sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and casseroles.

Studies show dairy foods including cheese may contribute to weight gain:

  • A study in over 120,000 people found those who ate the most cheese and yogurt gained more weight over time compared to non-dairy eaters.
  • Another large study associated each daily serving of cheese with a 6% increased risk for obesity.

Cheese may promote weight gain in several ways:

  • It’s high in fat and calories, which promotes calorie excess.
  • The fat and protein in cheese may increase appetite signals and promote overeating.
  • Cheese is palatable and easy to overeat.
  • Cheese often gets paired with other high-calorie foods like pizza, pasta, and burgers.

That being said, cheese can absolutely be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Just keep portions moderate and choose reduced-fat varieties when you can.

Tips for Healthy Cheese Consumption

Here are some tips to enjoy cheese in moderation as part of a healthy diet:

  • Stick to 1-2 ounce portions to control calories and fat.
  • Choose reduced-fat or part-skim cheeses to cut calories.
  • Include cheese as a flavor enhancer or condiment instead of the main meal component.
  • Balance out cheese with non-starchy veggies and lean proteins.
  • Avoid frying cheese or breading and deep-frying it.
  • Limit processed cheeses high in sodium, like American cheese.
  • Read labels and compare fat and calories between cheese varieties.

With smart portioning and choices, you can incorporate cheese into your diet in a healthy way.

Health Benefits of Cheese

Despite its high fat and calorie content, cheese has some surprising health benefits when consumed in moderation. Here are some of the most notable ways cheese can benefit your health:

Bone Health

Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, providing about 200mg per ounce. Calcium plays a vital role in bone mineralization and protecting bone health.

Getting adequate calcium from foods like cheese may reduce risk of osteoporosis over time. One study found older adults who consumed the most cheese had higher bone mass.

Muscle Development

Cheese provides a good amount of branched chain amino acids like leucine that directly stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Consuming cheese along with adequate protein from other foods can help support muscle mass.


Despite being energy-dense, cheese may have appetite-reducing properties. The protein and fat in cheese help delay stomach emptying to promote feelings of fullness compared to non-fat foods.

One study found cheese consumption caused a greater release of appetite-regulating hormones PYY and GLP-1 to reduce hunger.

Heart Health

While cheese is high in saturated fat, some studies suggest cheese may protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, a key step in the development of heart disease.

A study in over 1,500 adults found that those who consumed cheese daily had a 14% lower risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those consuming cheese weekly.

Nutrient Absorption

Eating calcium-rich cheese with iron-rich foods like spinach has been shown to increase iron absorption. The calcium helps improve the bioavailability of plant-based iron sources.

Cheese and Weight Loss

Can you eat cheese and still lose weight? It depends.

Cheese is energy-dense and easy to overconsume. Most health experts recommend limiting higher-fat cheeses when trying to lose weight.

However, emerging research shows certain dietary patterns with cheese, like the Mediterranean diet, may support weight loss:

  • One study found Mediterranean dieters lost more weight than low-fat dieters despite eating more calories total.
  • Another study associated each daily serving of cheese with less weight gain over time.

The key is portion control. When eating cheese in moderate portions as part of an overall healthy eating pattern, cheese may not need to be vilified for weight loss.

Strategies to incorporate cheese into a weight loss diet:

  • Stick to 1–2 oz portions of full-fat cheese.
  • Choose reduced-fat cheese and limit higher-fat varieties.
  • Eat cheese with non-starchy vegetables or whole grains to increase nutrients and fiber.
  • Avoid adding extra cheese where unnecessary.
  • Limit cheese as the main protein or meal component.

With smart moderation, cheese can be part of an effective weight loss diet for many people.

The Bottom Line

To summarize the key points:

  • One Sargento Mild Cheddar Cheese stick contains 80 calories, 6g fat, and 6g protein.
  • Cheese gets most of its calories from fat, with a moderate amount from protein. Carbs contribute few calories.
  • Harder, aged cheeses have more fat and calories than soft fresh cheeses.
  • Cheese can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. But in moderation, it can be part of a healthy diet.
  • For health, stick to 1–2 ounce portions of cheese and choose reduced-fat varieties when possible.
  • With portion control, cheese can be included even in weight loss diets for some people.

So savor your cheese in sensible portions. With balance and moderation, cheese can fit into an overall healthy and balanced way of eating.

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