Who does not like good cheese? Whether it is in a fresh salad or a cheese board, then cheese is the way to go. If you are passionate about this food, then you certainly know about feta and goat cheese.
Keep on reading to see some of the differences between goat cheese vs. feta cheese. You can begin using these two foods accordingly and truly enjoy their unique properties.
What Is Feta Cheese?
Feta cheese is sheep’s milk cheese that is brined and has a white, grainy texture. In some cases, it can be made using a mixture of sheep and goat milk. The cheese is fresh and dry, usually without any holes.
This type of cheese is known for its salty and acidic flavor. Usually, feta cheese comes in a large block that has been aged in brine. Depending on its age, feta can be sharp or milder in flavor.
For the most part, feta cheese is used in salads, savory dishes, baked goods, omelets, and sandwiches. The term “feta” is a protected designation of origin in the European Union (EU), which means the name can only be used in a product produced in the traditional Greek way. This denomination stipulates that this cheese should be 100% sheep’s milk or only up to 30% goat’s milk.
Outside of the EU, feta can refer to other brined cheeses with a mixture of different kinds of milk. These days, you can find feta cheese made only with cow’s milk sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, and Germany. By EU standards, feta should be 56% moisture and have a minimum fat of 43%, and a pH of 4.4 to 4.6.
Feta cheese has a crumbly texture, which is why it is often used as a topping. However, this cheese can have a better quality when it is smooth and creamy. This cheese only keeps for about one week and will become very dry after that, even when you store it in the refrigerator.
As with other dairy and cheese, feta is also a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Because it is drier and ages longer, this food is lower in fat. Keep in mind, though, that feta can be high in sodium depending on the manufacturer.
One cup of crumbled feta cheese (150 g) has the following nutritional content (*):
- 398 calories
- 21.3 g protein
- 32.2 g fat
- 5.82 g carbohydrate
- 0 g fiber
- 0 g sugar
- 740 mg calcium
- 0.975 mg iron
- 28.5 mg magnesium
- 506 mg phosphorus
- 93 mg potassium
- 1710 mg sodium
- 188 µg vitamin A
- 134 mg cholesterol
Is Feta Cheese Healthy?
Feta is a fresh cheese, which means it is lower in fat than other types of cheese. It is also a great source of calcium and protein. Unlike other cheeses, feta can be a healthier alternative to other types.
To begin with, feta is a great option to obtain your daily calcium intake. Calcium is not just essential in bone strength, but also for nerve functioning and muscle building. Eating this cheese is also a healthy alternative for those that cannot get their calcium from dairy.
Feta also happens to be high in other vitamins and minerals. These include riboflavin, vitamin B12, zinc, and phosphorus. All of these nutrients play roles in important body processes, including energy metabolism, wound healing, and bone health.
Because it is prepared using brine, feta cheese contains some probiotics in it. It is particularly high in Lactobacillus Plantarum, a potent beneficial strain that can restore your gut health. Probiotics can also prevent inflammation and protect your gut from harmful bacteria.
All fresh cheese contains lactose, and since feta is also fresh, it does have a high lactose content. For those allergic or intolerant to lactose, feta is not a good option. If you have this problem, aged cheese is a better choice.
Since feta is fresh, it is also at higher risk for bacterial overgrowth due to its moisture. Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria found in soil and water that can grow in feta cheese. Those at risk for infection, such as pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, and cancer patients, should be careful with this cheese.
Due to its preparation method, feta cheese is very high in sodium. Excess sodium can raise blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and fluid retention. If you are using feta, keep in mind that it accounts for over half of your daily value (DV) for sodium, so you should avoid using any extra salt.
For the most part, feta cheese is a good option to obtain a healthy boost of protein, fat, and calcium. However, since it is high in sodium, it should not be something that you eat multiple times a day. Enjoy feta here and there on salads, cheese plates, toast, or pasta.
What Is Goat Cheese?
As the name suggests, goat cheese is a type of cheese that comes primarily from goat’s milk. This type of cheese can be aged or fresh, with varying flavors depending on the preparation.
Unlike other cheese, goat cheese is higher in medium-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are more easily digestible and give off the tart flavor in this cheese. It is also high in probiotics, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and phosphorus.
Goat cheese dates back to 8,000 BC or earlier due to the availability of goat’s milk. It provided a source of energy and protein long before cow’s milk became available. There is some evidence of goat cheese making from 7,000 years ago in Poland.
This cheese is made in many countries, including China, Japan, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each region has its type of goat cheese, and the preparation method varies. You will likely see goat cheese with other kinds of milk offered commercially.
When fresh, goat cheese is bright white but turns yellow as it ages. Unlike cow’s milk cheese, goat milk has a higher fat content, and the flavor is more tart. You can eat some goat cheese immediately, while others require a long time to age.
Some examples of goat cheese include blue cheese, brie, gouda, and camembert. These are usually grouped depending on their age. In some cases, feta cheese is offered as goat cheese because it might contain a combination of goat and sheep’s milk.
One cup of crumbled goat cheese (140 g) has the following nutritional content (*):
- 510 calories
- 30.2 g protein
- 41.7 g fat
- 0.168 g carbohydrate
- 0 g fiber
- 0.168 g sugar
- 417 mg calcium
- 2.27 mg iron
- 40.6 mg magnesium
- 525 mg phosphorus
- 221 mg potassium
- 581 mg sodium
- 570 µg vitamin A
- 111 mg cholesterol
Is Goat Cheese Healthy?
As with feta, goat cheese is a good option when it comes to a snack high in protein. However, keep in mind that this cheese is also high in fat. For the most part, these fats are healthy, but they can add up when consumed in excess.
Like other types of cheese, this one contains probiotics as well. These microorganisms are essential in helping restore gut health while reducing inflammation and the risk for infection and disease. The strains usually found in goat cheese are L. acidophilus and L. Plantarum.
Although it contains less calcium than feta, goat cheese is a good source of calcium. Calcium is part of bone strength, metabolic processes, and neuron connections. You can obtain more calcium from eating goat cheese than from eating or drinking other foods.
Goat cheese also has capric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. With goat cheese, you give your body an extra boost in immune and cell barrier protection against oxidative stress and pathogens. Capric acid is also easier to digest than other fats.
If you want a good source of vitamins and minerals, then goat cheese is a great option. It contains vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and copper. These nutrients are essential in body processes, including vision, bone mineralization, oxygen transport, and iron metabolism.
Unlike feta, goat cheese can be lower in sodium. The sodium content depends highly on the manufacturing and aging process. However, you can usually consume it without worrying excessively about your salt intake.
Remember that goat cheese can have varying degrees of fat depending on age. It also contains lactose, which makes it hard to digest for those with sensitivities and intolerance. However, an aged goat cheese might be lower in lactose and easier to digest.
What Are The Key Differences Between Feta Cheese and Goat Cheese?
The first thing to know about feta and goat cheese is that they do not have the same origin. Feta cheese is originally from Greece and remains a staple in this culture. Goat cheese appears to be around much longer, particularly in France and Poland.
For the most part, the thing that sets these two types of cheese apart is the type of milk in them. The original feta cheese is made with 100% sheep’s milk or only up to 30% goat’s milk. Goat cheese is made only with goat’s milk.
Because the milk and aging vary slightly, the flavor of these two kinds of cheese is not the same. Feta cheese is fresh, salty, and somewhat acidic. Goat cheese has different flavors, it can be very fresh, tart, and creamy, but also tangy and complex as it ages.
The nutrient profile of both kinds of cheese is also different. Feta cheese is higher in sodium, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and probiotics. Goat cheese has more medium-chain fatty acids and vitamin A.
In general, the texture is not the same either. Feta can be creamy and dense, almost like yogurt, but it can also be grainy and dry. Goat cheese has a very different texture, it can be creamy and spreadable but also gooey and dense.
The lactose content in both types of cheese is slightly different. For the most part, feta cheese has a higher lactose content because it tends to be fresher. Goat cheese is slightly lower in lactose, particularly when it is aged longer.
A final difference is how to use these cheeses. Feta cheese is often a topping for salads, spreads, and sometimes sauces. Goat cheese can be part of cheese boards and spreads, or you can eat it on its own.
|Main Differences||Feta Cheese||Goat Cheese|
|Origin||Greece||France and Poland|
|Milk||Sheep’s milk||Goat’s milk|
|Flavor||Sweet, tart, and salty||The flavor depends on the age. This cheese can be sweet and creamy or smoky and complex|
|Uses||Sauces, salads, spreads, toast, pasta||Cheese boards, spreads, and on its own|
|Cost per 8 ounces||$4.99 to 10.99||$5.17 to 29.99|
|Calories per cup||398 calories||510 calories|
Is Feta Cheese or Goat Cheese Healthier?
These two foods can be a healthy alternative to cow’s milk cheese. Feta can be a better choice when you want a higher vitamin and mineral content, but it is also higher in salt. Goat cheese offers better types of fat and contains less lactose.
For the most part, goat cheese is the better choice as it is nutritionally similar but has more antioxidants and much less sodium. You should be mindful of the type of goat cheese you pick, as some aged ones contain excess fat. Try to pair your cheese with something lower in salt and carbohydrates.
If you have a lactose allergy or intolerance, be careful with how much you eat of these cheeses. Feta can be a good solution for a salad, but goat cheese is better in the long run. Always limit how much fat and sodium you take every day.
Although feta cheese can contain goat cheese on top of sheep milk, this is not always the rule. Now you are more aware of how feta and goat cheese differ and how they are similar. Be sure to choose the right one next time you decide to experiment with your cooking.
*image by Alex33#33/depositphotos
*image by bit245/depositphotos