Provolone vs. Swiss cheese — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Swiss cheese is higher in calories, total fats, cholesterol, protein, most minerals, and vitamins A, E, and B12. Comparatively, provolone is higher in carbs and sodium. It is also richer in iron, potassium, and vitamins D, B2, and B5.
Provolone is cheaper.
Table of contents
- Nutritional data comparison
- Weight loss and diets
- Health impacts
History and origin
The first difference between Swiss cheese and provolone is their country of origin and production year. Swiss cheese originated in the areas of Emmental, Switzerland, in the 15th century. On the other hand, Provolone cheese originated in Vesuvius, Italy, in the 19th century.
Difference in cheesemaking
Swiss cheese and provolone are made from cow's milk. The difference is in their processing and 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 produced by the bacteria. They give the cheese a sweet and nutty flavor. 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 Picante.
Swiss cheese is a melting cheese that is suitable for making different types of dishes. 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 are 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.
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$.
After being exposed to air, Swiss cheese can stay in the fridge for about three to four weeks if it is refrigerated properly. In comparison, properly stored provolone cheese can stay refrigerated for two to three weeks.
In this article, we will compare 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
The glycemic index of both kinds of cheese is the same. They are classified as low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of Swiss cheese and provolone is 27.
Both Swiss cheese and provolone are high in calories, with Swiss cheese being higher. Swiss cheese provides 393 calories compared to provolone which provides 351 calories. Both are based on 100g of each cheese.
Provolone contains more carbs than Swiss cheese. However, they are not high in carbs, containing less than 3g of carbs per 100g serving.
Swiss cheese and provolone are rich in proteins, with Swiss cheese being richer. 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.
Swiss cheese is higher in total fats. 100g of Swiss cheese provides nearly 50% of the daily requirements of fats, compared to provolone which only provides 40%. They also have the same ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats: nearly 67% of fats are saturated.
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.
Fat Type Comparison
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 over 4.5 times higher in sodium compared to Swiss cheese. Provolone is considered to be very high in sodium and covers 38% of the daily recommended value per 100g serving.
Swiss cheese is richer in vitamins A, E, and B12.
Swiss cheese contains twice the amount of vitamin B12 than provolone and satisfies 128% of the daily recommended value. Therefore, people with vitamin B12 deficiency would benefit more from consuming Swiss cheese over provolone.
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, total 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.
Swiss cheese and provolone are derivatives of cow's milk, and they are unsuitable for vegans. Although alternative cheeses can be found that are plant-based, they are not similar to Swiss cheese or provolone.
Swiss cheese and provolone are low in carbs and glycemic index, and 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 two factors.
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).
It should be noted that people taking MAO inhibitors (particularly antidepressants) may experience a hypertensive crisis when eating cheeses, including provolone and Swiss cheese, as they contain tyramine (3).
Moderate consumption of both Swiss cheese and provolone has been shown to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to that, these kinds of cheese are low in glycemic index, which means that no insulin spikes and fast absorption of glucose will occur (4, 5).
Dairy consumption has been linked to a lower incidence of colorectal and bladder cancer (6).
Fermented cheese, such as Swiss cheese, has a positive effect on intestinal health. It promotes the development of a healthy microbiome, which in turn may reduce intestinal inflammation and promote healthy digestion (7).
Swiss cheese and provolone are high in calcium and phosphorus, the two components found in great amounts in the bones. The body’s 99% calcium and 80% phosphorus are stored in the bones. They are also high in protein, another important component required to maintain healthy bones (8, 9).
According to observational studies, dairy products, particularly fermented dairy products like Swiss cheese, are associated with a lower risk of hip fracture (10).
Zinc & Health
Vegetarians, pregnant and lactating people, and people with gastrointestinal disease and alcohol use disorder are at a higher risk of developing zinc deficiency, which may manifest with a disturbed sense of taste and smell, delayed wound healing, adverse birth outcomes, and impaired cognitive and physiological functions (11).
Lactose intolerance and Milk allergy
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.
People with cow’s milk allergy should also avoid these cheeses. The allergy symptoms may manifest as non-specific allergic reactions or be primarily digestive (diarrhea, cramps, blood stools).
Overconsumption of cheese with high fat and sodium content may have harmful consequences for cardiovascular health and hypertension. If eaten in excess, Swiss cheese and provolone cheese increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension.
The regular use of dairy products, such as cheese, in high amounts has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, mainly for men (12).
Urinary tract health
Individuals with urinary crystals or stones, predominantly calcium oxalate crystals, must take precautions and limit Swiss cheese and provolone consumption. High-calcium foods are a risk factor for dietary hypercalciuria (high calcium in the urine) and stone formation. This precaution is unnecessary if the hypercalciuria is not dietetic (13).
- Relations between dairy product intake and blood pressure
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Glycemic Index||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||236µg||288µg|
|Omega-3 - DPA||0g||0.018g|
|Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid||0.007g|
|Omega-6 - Linoleic acid||0.734g|
|Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid||0.002g|
|Omega-3 - ALA||0.125g|
|Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid||0.003g|
|Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid||0.032g|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet||Equal|