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American cheese vs. Mozzarella — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan by Erna Harutyunyan | Last updated on April 17, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
American cheese
vs
Mozzarella

Summary

There are two types of Mozzarella: traditional and low-fat. Low-fat Mozzarella has two times less cholesterol than American cheese. American cheese has more calcium and vitamin B12, while Mozzarella is richer in vitamin B2 and zinc.

 

Introduction

Mozzarella has its roots in Italy and is typically crafted using either the milk of Italian buffalo or cows. American cheese is made from milkmilk fatsmilk solidsadditional lipids, and whey protein concentrate. A type of modern American cheese is processed cheese. Choosing the correct type of cheese is essential to making the right food.  

In this article, we'll compare these two foods' nutritional value and health effects.

Appearance

Mozzarella differs from American cheese in its appearance; it has a smooth, glossy surface, a white color, and a mild milk taste. American cheese's color can vary from orange and yellow to white, depending on the maker.

Taste and Use

Mozzarella is a famous cheese used in cuisine. The flavor is delicate and slightly acidic, with a freshness reminiscent of milk. It can be used fresh in salads or cooked in dishes. Shredded mozzarella cheese is also commonly used in pizzas and other Italian dishes. 

The flavor and texture of American cheese vary based on the cheese and additives used. Some traditional American foods, such as cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, frequently contain American cheese as an ingredient. However, it has been criticized for its high fat and sodium content. American cheese is used in cooking because it melts quickly and has a high calcium and protein content.

Nutrition

Dairy foods like cheese are nutrient-dense, providing proteinfats, and minerals. It has different nutritional values and tastes depending on how cheese is produced and what milk is used (1).  

American cheese and Mozzarella are popular cheese options but differ in nutritional value. American cheese has higher levels of calciumvitamin B12phosphorusvitamin A retinol, and selenium, but Mozzarella is richer in vitamin B2 and zinc.

On the other hand, American cheese contains 72% more sodium than Mozzarella, which should be considered by those watching their sodium intake. 

Regarding cholesterol, Mozzarella has only half the amount compared to American cheese. With 54 mg of cholesterol, Mozzarella is a better option for those looking to reduce their cholesterol intake. However, it is essential to choose the cheese that meets your nutritional needs, and both American cheese and Mozzarella can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Macronutrients and Calories

American cheese is higher in calcium, ironphosphoruspotassium, and copper than mozzarella cheese. On the other hand, mozzarella cheese has lower levels of sodium and higher levels of zinc compared to American cheese. Both kinds of cheese have equal levels of magnesium.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +85.9%
Contains more Carbs +19.4%
Contains more Other +182.1%
Contains more Protein +51.7%
Contains more Water +26%
18% 32% 4% 40% 7%
Protein: 18.13 g
Fats: 31.79 g
Carbs: 3.7 g
Water: 39.61 g
Other: 6.77 g
28% 17% 3% 50% 2%
Protein: 27.5 g
Fats: 17.1 g
Carbs: 3.1 g
Water: 49.9 g
Other: 2.4 g
Contains more Fats +85.9%
Contains more Carbs +19.4%
Contains more Other +182.1%
Contains more Protein +51.7%
Contains more Water +26%

Calories

100-gram of mozzarella cheese contains about 280 calories, while a 100-gram piece of American cheese contains about 371 calories.

Fats

American cheese is high in cholesterol and saturated fats. 100-gram portion of American cheese contains roughly 31.79 grams of fat.

Compared to American cheese, Mozzarella's fat content is low17.1 grams per 100 grams.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +70%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +152.7%
Contains less Saturated Fat -39.8%
65% 30% 5%
Saturated Fat: 18.057 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 8.236 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.286 g
67% 30% 3%
Saturated Fat: 10.867 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.844 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.509 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +70%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +152.7%
Contains less Saturated Fat -39.8%

Carbohydrates

The carbs in Mozzarella and American cheese are practically the same, and both are low-carb cheeses.

Vitamins

American cheese is fortified with vitamin D and is naturally high in vitamins such as A, EB12, and K.

Mozzarella contains many vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B6, and folate.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +82.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +433.3%
Contains more Vitamin D +100%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +63%
Contains more Choline +96.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +44.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +45.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +48.1%
Contains more Folate +12.5%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 57% 16% 18% 0% 4% 54% 2% 25% 13% 6% 188% 20% 7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 32% 3% 9% 0% 5% 79% 3% 0% 19% 7% 115% 11% 5%
Contains more Vitamin A +82.8%
Contains more Vitamin E +433.3%
Contains more Vitamin D +100%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +63%
Contains more Choline +96.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +44.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +45.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +48.1%
Contains more Folate +12.5%

Minerals

American cheese has more calciumphosphorus, ironpotassium, copper, and selenium.

It can cover your daily sodium needs 72% more than Mozzarella since it contains less sodium and more zinc.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +43%
Contains more Iron +152%
Contains more Phosphorus +22.3%
Contains more Potassium +38.9%
Contains more Copper +70.4%
Contains more Selenium +28.7%
Contains less Sodium -99%
Contains more Zinc +25.7%
Equal in Magnesium - 26
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 314% 24% 19% 275% 12% 218% 68% 16% 6% 111%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 220% 10% 19% 225% 9% 3% 86% 9% 0% 86%
Contains more Calcium +43%
Contains more Iron +152%
Contains more Phosphorus +22.3%
Contains more Potassium +38.9%
Contains more Copper +70.4%
Contains more Selenium +28.7%
Contains less Sodium -99%
Contains more Zinc +25.7%
Equal in Magnesium - 26

Glycemic Index

These two products have low glycemic index values.

Acidity

The pH of American and other mild cheeses is roughly 4.98. Commercial mozzarella cheeses had pH levels ranging from 4.7 to 5.5.

Weight Loss & Diets

Mozzarella has quite a lot of fat and calories and is not recommended in low-fat, low-calorie diets, but it beats American cheese in terms of comparison.

Health Impact

Saturated Mozzarella and American cheese fats can negatively affect health if consumed excessively. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and obesity.

Mozzarella cheese is a good source of dietary fatty acids in the present era. The study found that mozzarella cheese contains a high amount of saturated fatty acids, which are harmful to health, but also a high source of essential fatty acids, which are helpful to health. It is determined that technological circumstances such as milling pH have a minor impact on cheese fatty acid profile; however, after production, treatments and conditions such as packaging and storage significantly impact cheese fatty acid profile. The cheese will oxidize if packed in improper packing materials with low air barrier resistance. Furthermore, cheese stored in light may become oxidized, harming one's health (2). 

Some studies have found that consuming full-fat dairy products, including cheeses like Mozzarella and American cheese, may not increase the risk of heart disease and may even have neutral or protective effects on heart health. However, it's important to note that while these studies suggest that consuming saturated fat from dairy products may not harm heart health, they do not give the green light to consume these foods in unlimited amounts. Consuming cheese and other saturated fat sources in moderation is still essential as part of a balanced diet (3, 4).  

Mozzarella contains probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum strains (5). Both animal and human research indicates that these probiotics may enhance gut health and regularityboost immunity, and reduce inflammation in the body.

In one older trial of 1,072 older persons, drinking 7 oz. (200 milliliters) per day of fermented dairy containing Lactobacillus fermentum for three months significantly reduced the duration of respiratory infections compared to not drinking the drink (6).

As a result, dairy products containing this probiotic, such as Mozzarella, may enhance your immune system and improve your body's reaction to illnesses. More research, however, is required.

Cardiovascular Health

The saturated fat and sodium in American cheese may increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease (7).  

As part of a balanced diet, mozzarella cheese, which is lower in fat, can be a healthier option for people concerned about cardiovascular disease. However, monitoring portion sizes and overall calorie intake is still significant.  

Diabetes

In general, it is well known that a diet high in saturated and trans fats can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (8). Cheese, mainly processed cheese like American cheese, is a common source of saturated fat in the diet. 

Low-fat mozzarella cheese may be a healthier option for people with diabetes as part of a balanced diet.

 Digestive Health  

Cheese can affect digestive health in different ways. Eating cheese can cause symptoms like bloating and diarrhea for some people because they have trouble digesting lactose (9).  

Cancer

A meta-analysis found a 10% increased risk of prostate cancer with cheese, including Mozzarella and American cheese, at 50 grams daily. The relationship between cheese and prostate cancer risk is not fully understood, and more research is needed (1). 

Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: April 17, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

American cheese vs Mozzarella infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
American cheese Mozzarella
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient American cheese Mozzarella Opinion
Net carbs 3.7g 3.1g American cheese
Protein 18.13g 27.5g Mozzarella
Fats 31.79g 17.1g American cheese
Carbs 3.7g 3.1g American cheese
Calories 371kcal 280kcal American cheese
Sugar 2.26g 1.23g Mozzarella
Calcium 1045mg 731mg American cheese
Iron 0.63mg 0.25mg American cheese
Magnesium 26mg 26mg
Phosphorus 641mg 524mg American cheese
Potassium 132mg 95mg American cheese
Sodium 1671mg 16mg Mozzarella
Zinc 2.49mg 3.13mg Mozzarella
Copper 0.046mg 0.027mg American cheese
Manganese 0.041mg American cheese
Selenium 20.2µg 15.7µg American cheese
Vitamin A 945IU 517IU American cheese
Vitamin A RAE 250µg 137µg American cheese
Vitamin E 0.8mg 0.15mg American cheese
Vitamin D 23IU 13IU American cheese
Vitamin D 0.6µg 0.3µg American cheese
Vitamin B1 0.015mg 0.02mg Mozzarella
Vitamin B2 0.234mg 0.34mg Mozzarella
Vitamin B3 0.076mg 0.12mg Mozzarella
Vitamin B5 0.403mg American cheese
Vitamin B6 0.054mg 0.08mg Mozzarella
Folate 8µg 9µg Mozzarella
Vitamin B12 1.5µg 0.92µg American cheese
Choline 36.2mg 18.4mg American cheese
Vitamin K 2.6µg 1.8µg American cheese
Tryptophan 0.232mg American cheese
Threonine 0.772mg American cheese
Isoleucine 0.938mg American cheese
Leucine 1.716mg American cheese
Lysine 1.516mg American cheese
Methionine 0.475mg American cheese
Phenylalanine 0.939mg American cheese
Valine 1.187mg American cheese
Histidine 0.546mg American cheese
Cholesterol 100mg 54mg Mozzarella
Trans Fat 1.144g Mozzarella
Saturated Fat 18.057g 10.867g Mozzarella
Omega-3 - DHA 0.006g 0g American cheese
Omega-3 - EPA 0.012g 0g American cheese
Omega-3 - DPA 0.021g 0g American cheese
Monounsaturated Fat 8.236g 4.844g American cheese
Polyunsaturated fat 1.286g 0.509g American cheese
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.009g American cheese
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 0.79g American cheese
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.001g American cheese
Omega-3 - ALA 0.137g American cheese
Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid 0.001g American cheese
Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid 0.033g American cheese

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
American cheese Mozzarella
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
31%
American cheese
22%
Mozzarella
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
106%
American cheese
66%
Mozzarella

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Mozzarella
Mozzarella is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.03g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Mozzarella
Mozzarella contains less Sodium (difference - 1655mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Mozzarella
Mozzarella is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 46mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Mozzarella
Mozzarella is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 7.19g)
Which food is cheaper?
Mozzarella
Mozzarella is cheaper (difference - $0.4)
Which food is richer in minerals?
American cheese
American cheese is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (27)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. American cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171290/nutrients
  2. Mozzarella - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167735/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.