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Provolone vs Swiss cheese - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Provolone
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Swiss cheese

Introduction

History and origin

The first difference between swiss cheese and provolone is their country of origin and which year they started producing these cheeses. Swiss cheese originated in the areas of Emmental, Switzerland in the 15th century. On the other hand, Provolone cheese originated in Vesuvius, Italy at the end of the 19th century.

Difference in cheesemaking

Swiss cheese and provolone are made from cow’s milk. The difference is in their processing, aging among other things.

Swiss cheese preparation is done by fermenting cow’s milk with different types of bacteria. These bacteria produce different types of compounds that give a specific texture and flavoring to the cheese. Acetate and propionic acid are the most important byproducts that these bacteria produce, these compounds give a sweet and nutty flavor to the cheese. In addition to these compounds, CO2 gas is produced by the above-mentioned bacteria. The CO2 gives the “blind cheese” texture to swiss cheese. However, these holes are considered imperfections, and grade A swiss cheese has non or minimal amounts of these holes. Swiss cheese is a medium-hard yellow cheese.

On the other hand, provolone cheese is also made from cow’s milk but it is made by coagulating and heating it with acid. Provolone cheese has a smooth texture and mild flavor.

Provolone cheese is a semi-hard cheese that can have a nutty and salty flavor or can also be Picante.

Culinary world

Swiss cheese is a melting cheese that is suitable to make different types of dishes with. The unaged swiss cheese can be used in sandwiches, pasta, and sauces. The aged swiss cheese can be combined with dried fruits and nuts and served with earthy flavored wines. One of the most common foods that use swiss cheese is mashed potatoes, omelets, shepherd’s pie, and pizza.

Provolone cheese is also a melting cheese. It has similar culinary usage. Provolone can be used in sandwiches, paninis, pizzas, omelets, and mashed potatoes. In addition to those, they can be an alternative to mozzarella or even a combination with mozzarella to increase the flavor and texture.

In short, both kinds of cheese are very good sandwich cheeses when cold, in addition to that, they are melting cheeses that can be used in different types of cooking. The preference comes with the flavor that each one provides.

Pricing

Provolone cheese is cheaper compared to swiss cheese. The average market price for 1lb of provolone cheese is around 12$ compared to the same amount of swiss cheese which would cost around 18$.

Shelf-life

Swiss cheese, after being exposed to air, can stay in the fridge for about three to four weeks if it is refrigerated properly. Whereas, properly stored provolone cheese can stay refrigerated for two to three weeks.

In this article, we are going to be comparing the difference between swiss cheese and provolone cheese based on their nutritional data, health impacts, weight loss and diet usage, and downsides.

Nutritional data comparison

Glycemic index

The glycemic index of both kinds of cheese is the same. They are classified as low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of both is 27.

Calories

Swiss cheese and provolone are both high in calories. However, swiss cheese is higher in calories compared to provolone. Swiss cheese has 393 calories compared to provolone which has 351 calories. Both are based on 100g of each cheese.

Carbs

Provolone contains more carbs than swiss cheese. Although they are not high in carbs.

Protein

Swiss cheese and provolone are rich in proteins. Swiss cheese is richer in proteins. In addition to that, their amino acid profile is highly versatile and very rich in essential amino acids. 100g of swiss cheese satisfies nearly 100% of the daily required essential amino acid requirement. When it comes to provolone, a bit more than 100g is needed to satisfy the daily requirements of these essential amino acids.

Fats

Swiss cheese is higher in total fats. It is important to note that most of the calories that come with these cheeses are based on their fat content. 100g of swiss cheese satisfies nearly 50% of the daily requirements of fats. Compared to provolone which only provides 40%.
It is important to dissect the different constituents of the fats and understand the fatty acid profile of each.
Both provolone and swiss cheese have the same ratio of saturated fats and unsaturated fats. They are nearly 67% saturated fats.

One of the most important aspects of the fat profile is the cholesterol content. Swiss cheese has a higher cholesterol content than provolone. 100g of swiss cheese contains 50% of the required daily value of cholesterol.

Minerals

Swiss cheese is richer in zinc, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and copper. On the other hand, provolone cheese is richer in iron and potassium. Provolone is also high in sodium. It is important to note that 100g of provolone is high in sodium and contains 38% of the daily required value.

Vitamins

Swiss cheese is richer in vitamin A, E, and B12. The vitamin B12 content of 100g swiss cheese satisfies 128% of the daily required value. D B2 B5 On the other hand, provolone cheese is richer in vitamins D, B2, and B5. However, none of these satisfy the RDV of their respective vitamins.

Weight loss and diets

Both swiss cheese and provolone are high in calories, high in fats and cholesterol. However, they are also high in proteins. In moderation, these cheeses shouldn’t cause a caloric excess. A sandwich made from swiss cheese or provolone is a better alternative than using processed cheese.

Vegan

Swiss cheese and provolone are derivatives of cow’s milk, they are not suitable for vegans. Although alternative cheeses can be found which are plant-based however, they are not similar to swiss cheese or provolone.

Keto diet

Swiss cheese and provolone are low in carbs and glycemic index, they can be consumed by people who follow the keto diet. However, they are high in calories and provolone is high in sodium. It is important to take into consideration these 2 factors.

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health

Moderate dairy consumption, especially cheese consumption, has been demonstrated to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Swiss cheese and provolone are higher in their fat content, thus it is important to consider that factor. In addition to the fat content, provolone is high in sodium. This should also be a factor to take into consideration for hypertensive patients. (1)

In patients with high blood pressure, moderate consumption of calcium and phosphorus-rich dairy products, such as swiss cheese and provolone, has been shown to reduce hypertension. (2)

Diabetes

Moderate consumption of both swiss cheese and provolone has shown to decrease risks of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to that, both these cheeses are low in glycemic index, which means that no insulin spikes and fast absorption of glucose will take place. (3) (4)

Cancer

Dairy consumption has been linked to a lower incidence of colorectal and bladder cancer. (5)

Gastrointestinal health

Fermented cheese such as swiss cheese has a positive effect on intestinal health. It promotes the development of healthy microbiomes which in turn affects reducing intestinal inflammation and promotes healthy digestion. (6)

Downsides

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance prevents people from digesting lactose, which is present in both kinds of cheese. Although, because of medical advancements, this problem can now be overcome by supplying pills containing lactase enzymes, which break down lactose. This, however, does not help all lactose-intolerant individuals.

Cardiovascular health

Overconsumption of cheese with high fat and sodium content may have harmful consequences for cardiovascular health and hypertension. Swiss cheese and provolone cheese, if eaten in excess, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension.

Cancer

The consumption of cheese has been linked to an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer. (7)

Neurologic

The use of dairy products, such as cheese, regularly and in high amounts, has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. (8)

Urinary tract health

Individuals who suffer from urinary crystals or stones which are mostly made of calcium oxalate crystals, must take precautions and eat swiss cheese and provolone cheese in moderation or lower amounts. This is due to the high amounts of calcium present in these foods which crystallize in the urinary and cause calcium oxalate crystals or stones. It is important to note that this is the case in dietary hypercalciuria (high calcium in the urine). If the hypercalciuria is not dietetic, this precaution is not necessary. (9)

Summary

Swiss cheese is higher in calories, fats, and cholesterol. It is richer in protein, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, vitamins A, E, and B12. Comparatively, provolone is higher in carbs, sodium. It is also richer in iron, potassium, vitamins D, B2, B5. Provolone is cheaper.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26786887/
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jhypertension/Abstract/2018/10000/Relations_between_dairy_product_intake_and_blood.4.aspx
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23945722/
  4. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/1/274S/4689498
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22081693/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545342/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352799/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24894826/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566930/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: July 17, 2021

Infographic

Provolone vs Swiss cheese infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Iron +300%
Contains more Potassium +91.7%
Contains more Calcium +17.7%
Contains more Magnesium +17.9%
Contains more Copper +80.8%
Contains more Zinc +35.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +15.7%
Contains less Sodium -78.7%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 20% 227% 13% 20% 9% 89% 213% 115%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 5% 267% 7% 24% 16% 120% 246% 25%
Contains more Iron +300%
Contains more Potassium +91.7%
Contains more Calcium +17.7%
Contains more Magnesium +17.9%
Contains more Copper +80.8%
Contains more Zinc +35.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +15.7%
Contains less Sodium -78.7%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +72.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +143.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +34.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin A +19%
Contains more Vitamin E +160.9%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +109.6%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.302
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.071
Equal in Folate - 10
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 53% 5% 15% 5% 75% 3% 29% 17% 183% 6% 8%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 63% 12% 0% 3% 70% 2% 22% 17% 383% 4% 8%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +72.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +143.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +34.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin A +19%
Contains more Vitamin E +160.9%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +109.6%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.302
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.071
Equal in Folate - 10

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
33
Provolone
48
Swiss cheese
Mineral Summary Score
88
Provolone
88
Swiss cheese

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
153%
Provolone
162%
Swiss cheese
Carbohydrates
2%
Provolone
1%
Swiss cheese
Fats
123%
Provolone
143%
Swiss cheese

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Provolone Swiss cheese
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in minerals Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Provolone Swiss cheese
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Swiss cheese
Swiss cheese is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.56g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Swiss cheese
Swiss cheese contains less Sodium (difference - 689mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Provolone
Provolone is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 24mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Provolone
Provolone is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.149g)
Which food is cheaper?
Provolone
Provolone is cheaper (difference - $1.1)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Provolone
Provolone is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (27)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
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.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Provolone Swiss cheese Opinion
Calories 351 393 Swiss cheese
Protein 25.58 26.96 Swiss cheese
Fats 26.62 30.99 Swiss cheese
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 2.14 1.44 Provolone
Cholesterol 69 93 Provolone
Vitamin D 20 0 Provolone
Iron 0.52 0.13 Provolone
Calcium 756 890 Swiss cheese
Potassium 138 72 Provolone
Magnesium 28 33 Swiss cheese
Sugar 0.56 0 Swiss cheese
Fiber 0 0
Copper 0.026 0.047 Swiss cheese
Zinc 3.23 4.37 Swiss cheese
Starch
Phosphorus 496 574 Swiss cheese
Sodium 876 187 Swiss cheese
Vitamin A 880 1047 Swiss cheese
Vitamin E 0.23 0.6 Swiss cheese
Vitamin D 0.5 0 Provolone
Vitamin B1 0.019 0.011 Provolone
Vitamin B2 0.321 0.302 Provolone
Vitamin B3 0.156 0.064 Provolone
Vitamin B5 0.476 0.353 Provolone
Vitamin B6 0.073 0.071 Provolone
Vitamin B12 1.46 3.06 Swiss cheese
Vitamin K 2.2 1.4 Provolone
Folate 10 10
Trans Fat 0.987 Provolone
Saturated Fat 17.078 18.227 Provolone
Monounsaturated Fat 7.393 8.046 Swiss cheese
Polyunsaturated fat 0.769 1.341 Swiss cheese
Tryptophan 0.345 0.401 Swiss cheese
Threonine 0.982 1.038 Swiss cheese
Isoleucine 1.091 1.537 Swiss cheese
Leucine 2.297 2.959 Swiss cheese
Lysine 2.646 2.585 Provolone
Methionine 0.686 0.784 Swiss cheese
Phenylalanine 1.287 1.662 Swiss cheese
Valine 1.64 2.139 Swiss cheese
Histidine 1.115 1.065 Provolone
Fructose 0 Swiss cheese

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Provolone - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170850/nutrients
  2. Swiss cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171251/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.