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Cottage cheese vs. Feta — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on May 10, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Cottage cheese
vs
Feta

Summary

Feta provides more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and carbs, whereas cottage cheese contains more potassium and choline. Compared to cottage cheese, feta is high in all vitamins. On the other hand, cottage cheese provides fewer calories, cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium

Introduction

Feta cheese and cottage cheese are both popular types of cheese but have some key differences. Feta is typically made from sheep's milk or a combination of goat's and sheep's milk. However, it can also be made from cow and buffalo milk. Cottage cheese is traditionally made from cow's milk. Feta cheese is aged and cured in a brine solution, giving it a distinct flavor and texture. Cottage cheese is produced by curdling milk with an acidic substance such as vinegar or lemon juice, and then the whey is drained.

Nutrition

This section of the article will compare the nutritional information of feta and cottage cheese.

Macronutrients and Calories

Feta is denser than cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains 80% water, whereas feta contains 55% water

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Water +44.5%
Contains more Protein +27.8%
Contains more Fats +394.9%
Contains more Carbs +21%
Contains more Other +268.8%
11% 4% 3% 80%
Protein: 11.12 g
Fats: 4.3 g
Carbs: 3.38 g
Water: 79.79 g
Other: 1.41 g
14% 21% 4% 55% 5%
Protein: 14.21 g
Fats: 21.28 g
Carbs: 4.09 g
Water: 55.22 g
Other: 5.2 g
Contains more Water +44.5%
Contains more Protein +27.8%
Contains more Fats +394.9%
Contains more Carbs +21%
Contains more Other +268.8%

Calories

Feta provides over 2.7 times more calories per hundred grams than cottage cheese. A hundred grams of feta has 264 calories, whereas cottage cheese has 98 calories

One serving of feta (1 oz or 28.35g ) has 75 kcal, whereas one serving of cottage cheese (4 oz or 113g) provides 111 kcal.

Protein

Feta has a high protein content. In a 100g serving, feta and cottage cheese have 14.21g and 11.12g of protein, respectively. Both provide all amino acids, feta being higher.

Fats

Feta provides over five times more total fats. In a 100g serving, feta and cottage cheese have 21.28g and 4.3g of fats, respectively. 

Cottage cheese has over 8.7 times less saturated fats, whereas feta has over six times more monounsaturated fats and five times more polyunsaturated fats. In a 100g serving, feta and cottage cheese have 15g and 1.7g of saturated fats, respectively.

Cholesterol

Feta has significantly higher cholesterol levels compared to cottage cheese. 

A hundred grams of feta has 89 milligrams of cholesterol, whereas cottage cheese provides 17 milligrams.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -88.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +494.2%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +380.5%
66% 30% 5%
Saturated Fat: 1.718 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.778 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.123 g
74% 23% 3%
Saturated Fat: 14.946 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.623 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.591 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -88.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +494.2%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +380.5%

Carbohydrates

Compared to cottage cheese, feta provides more carbs. In a 100g serving, feta and cottage cheese have 4.09g and 3.38g of net carbs, respectively. Both lack dietary fiber.

Lactose 

The lactose content of cottage cheese and feta can vary depending on the preparation method and brand. Generally, feta cheese contains very little lactose, typically 1.4 g per 100 grams. Cottage cheese, on the other hand, can contain more lactose, usually 3.2 g per 100 grams (1).

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
100%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0 g
Glucose: 0 g
Fructose: 0 g
Lactose: 2.67 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g

Vitamins

Feta is the winner in this category. Feta has over five times more vitamin B2, three times more vitamin A, nine times more vitamin B6, and four times more vitamin B12. It also has more vitamins B1, B3, B5, E, 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.
:
11
Feta
Contains more Choline +19.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +201.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +125%
Contains more Vitamin D +300%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +470.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +417.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +901%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +73.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +821.7%
Contains more Folate +166.7%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +293%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 9% 2% 3% 0% 7% 38% 2% 34% 11% 9% 54% 11% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 26% 4% 12% 0% 39% 195% 19% 59% 98% 24% 212% 9% 5%
Contains more Choline +19.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +201.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +125%
Contains more Vitamin D +300%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +470.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +417.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +901%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +73.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +821.7%
Contains more Folate +166.7%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +293%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%

Minerals

Feta has over six times more calcium, two times more phosphorus, two times more magnesium, seven times more zincand 1.5 times more selenium. Both contain high amounts of sodium, feta being higher. 

In a 100g serving, feta and cottage cheese have 917 mg and 364mg of sodium, respectively. Feta also provides more ironcopper, and manganese. In contrast, cottage cheese has more choline and potassium

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 Potassium +67.7%
Contains less Sodium -60.3%
Contains more Calcium +494%
Contains more Iron +828.6%
Contains more Magnesium +137.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +111.9%
Contains more Zinc +620%
Contains more Copper +10.3%
Contains more Manganese +1300%
Contains more Selenium +54.6%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 25% 3% 6% 69% 10% 48% 11% 10% 1% 53%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 148% 25% 14% 145% 6% 120% 79% 11% 4% 82%
Contains more Potassium +67.7%
Contains less Sodium -60.3%
Contains more Calcium +494%
Contains more Iron +828.6%
Contains more Magnesium +137.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +111.9%
Contains more Zinc +620%
Contains more Copper +10.3%
Contains more Manganese +1300%
Contains more Selenium +54.6%

Oxalate

Feta and cottage cheese are oxalate-free.

Glycemic Index

Feta has a higher glycemic index than cottage cheese. Feta has a glycemic index of 27The glycemic index of cottage cheese is equal to 10. However, the glycemic index of both falls in the low category.

Acidity

The potential renal acid load (PRAL) indicates the food's capacity to degrade into bases or acids within the body. Cottage cheese has a PRAL value of 7.9. The PRAL level for feta is 11.2. That indicates that feta is more acid-forming than cottage cheese.

Weight Loss & Diets

  • Vegan: Vegans should avoid all animal products. Feta and cottage cheese are not vegan-friendly.
  • Paleo: The paleo diet typically excludes dairy products, so feta and cottage cheese are not paleo-friendly.
  • Keto: The keto diet focuses on low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein foods. Feta and cottage cheese are low in carbohydrates, making them suitable for a keto diet. 
  • Mediterranean: The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the consumption of different plant-based foods, along with moderate amounts of dairy, fish, and poultry. Feta cheese, a traditional cheese in Mediterranean cuisine, can be enjoyed in moderation. Cottage cheese can also be a part of the Mediterranean diet.

Health Benefits

Cardiovascular Health

There is moderate-quality evidence indicating that cheese consumption is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and overall incidences of CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke (2).

Cheese intake may significantly increase HDL-cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and decrease the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio (3). 

Low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese may lower LDL-C levels, but there is no significant independent association with HDL-C or triglycerides (4).

Bone Health

Dairy products like cottage cheese and feta are optimal sources of calcium and protein, which are highly bioavailable and essential for bone health. Osteoporosis is a disorder marked by the loss of bone mass, weakened bones, and deterioration of bone tissue, leading to an increased risk of fractures. A diet rich in calcium may prevent and manage osteoporosis (5). 

Cancer

The findings suggest that consuming cheese, especially 40 grams or more daily, can have neutral to moderate health benefits. There is no significant association between cheese consumption and cancer mortality and prostate cancer incidence (2, 6). 

According to the study, there is a protective association between cottage cheese and ricotta cheese consumption and estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer incidence (2). 

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in feta cheese is known for its anticarcinogenic properties, especially in combating breast cancer (7).

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Cottage cheese is made from cow's milk and can be allergic. Cow's milk allergy is a frequent condition in infants and children, characterized by an allergic reaction to the protein in cow's milk. Symptoms can vary and may appear in infancy, potentially resolving by age 6. Managing this allergy involves a milk-free diet. Symptoms of cow's milk allergy can be classified into rapid onset, typically IgE-mediated, where symptoms occur within an hour after ingestion, and slow-onset, non-IgE mediated, where symptoms take hours or days to present. Rapid onset symptoms may include urticaria/hives, wheezing, itching around the mouth or lips, angioedema, coughing or shortness of breath, vomiting, and anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). Slow-onset symptoms may include diarrhea, hematochezia, abdominal cramps, and colic (8, 9, 10). Alternative milk options, such as sheep's and goat's milk, are often not recommended due to their high cross-reactivity with cow's milk protein. Individuals with milk allergies should avoid dairy products like cottage cheese and feta (8).

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose, a disaccharide found in dairy products and milk, is hydrolyzed by the enzyme lactase in the gastrointestinal tract into glucose and galactose, which are absorbed. Most people have lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain, which occur when lactose reaches the large intestine. Individuals with lactose intolerance should avoid dairy products like cottage cheese and feta (11, 12).   

Classification

Feta and cottage cheese are classified as fresh cheeses due to their minimal aging compared to cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and blue cheese.

Appearance

Feta cheese is often sold in blocks or as crumbles. The blocks are usually white and compact, with a slightly crumbly texture. When crumbled, feta cheese has a granular appearance, resembling small chunks or crumbles. While feta cheese is typically white, it may occasionally exhibit a slightly creamy or yellowish tint. Feta cheese is stored in brine, which can give it a slightly wet or moist appearance. Cottage cheese has a more varied appearance compared to feta. It consists of lumpy curds suspended in a creamy liquid. The curds can vary in size, ranging from small to large, and they are usually soft and moist. The color of cottage cheese is generally white, but it can sometimes have a slightly creamy or off-white appearance. Cottage cheese is often sold in containers with the curds floating in the creamy liquid.

Taste  

Feta cheese offers a tangy, salty flavor and a crumbly texture. The intensity of its taste varies from mild to sharp, influenced by the duration of aging. The brining process gives it a unique and slightly tangy flavor distinct from other cheeses. Cottage cheese, on the other hand, has a mild and sweet flavor. It is creamy and lumpy in texture, with a fresh and milky taste. The curds are soft and moist, providing a unique texture compared to other cheeses. Feta cheese has a crumbly texture, while cottage cheese has a creamy and lumpy texture.

Uses

Feta cheese and cottage cheese are versatile ingredients that you can use in different dishes. Feta cheese is a popular topping for salads, adding a tangy flavor and creamy texture. It is used in pastries such as spanakopita (spinach pie) or tiropita (cheese pie). Feta cheese can be added to sandwiches and wraps. Feta cheese is a great pizza topping, especially with vegetables like spinach or bell peppers. In contrast, cottage cheese pairs well with fruits like pineapple, peaches, or berries for a sweet and savory snack. It can be used in baking, such as pancakes, muffins, or cheesecakes, to add moisture and protein. You can use cottage cheese as a dip and spread or in stuffed pasta shells.

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: May 10, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Cottage cheese vs Feta 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.
Cottage cheese Feta
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cottage cheese Feta Opinion
Net carbs 3.38g 4.09g Feta
Protein 11.12g 14.21g Feta
Fats 4.3g 21.28g Feta
Carbs 3.38g 4.09g Feta
Calories 98kcal 264kcal Feta
Sugar 2.67g 4.09g Cottage cheese
Calcium 83mg 493mg Feta
Iron 0.07mg 0.65mg Feta
Magnesium 8mg 19mg Feta
Phosphorus 159mg 337mg Feta
Potassium 104mg 62mg Cottage cheese
Sodium 364mg 917mg Cottage cheese
Zinc 0.4mg 2.88mg Feta
Copper 0.029mg 0.032mg Feta
Manganese 0.002mg 0.028mg Feta
Selenium 9.7µg 15µg Feta
Vitamin A 140IU 422IU Feta
Vitamin A RAE 37µg 125µg Feta
Vitamin E 0.08mg 0.18mg Feta
Vitamin D 3IU 16IU Feta
Vitamin D 0.1µg 0.4µg Feta
Vitamin B1 0.027mg 0.154mg Feta
Vitamin B2 0.163mg 0.844mg Feta
Vitamin B3 0.099mg 0.991mg Feta
Vitamin B5 0.557mg 0.967mg Feta
Vitamin B6 0.046mg 0.424mg Feta
Folate 12µg 32µg Feta
Vitamin B12 0.43µg 1.69µg Feta
Choline 18.4mg 15.4mg Cottage cheese
Vitamin K 0µg 1.8µg Feta
Tryptophan 0.147mg 0.2mg Feta
Threonine 0.5mg 0.637mg Feta
Isoleucine 0.591mg 0.803mg Feta
Leucine 1.116mg 1.395mg Feta
Lysine 0.934mg 1.219mg Feta
Methionine 0.269mg 0.368mg Feta
Phenylalanine 0.577mg 0.675mg Feta
Valine 0.748mg 1.065mg Feta
Histidine 0.326mg 0.397mg Feta
Cholesterol 17mg 89mg Cottage cheese
Saturated Fat 1.718g 14.946g Cottage cheese
Monounsaturated Fat 0.778g 4.623g Feta
Polyunsaturated fat 0.123g 0.591g Feta

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cottage cheese Feta
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

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
14%
Cottage cheese
54%
Feta
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
23%
Cottage cheese
63%
Feta

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Feta
Feta is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Feta
Feta is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.42g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese contains less Sodium (difference - 553mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 72mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 13.228g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in glycemic index (difference - 17)
Which food is cheaper?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is cheaper (difference - $0.5)

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. Cottage cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172179/nutrients
  2. Feta - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173420/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.