What you should know from a dietitian-nutritionist’s point of view

By: Ileana Ríos Hernández, LDN, MPH-G, CLE

       Triple-S Nutritionist and Health Educator

In the world of fad diets, cottage cheese has taken center stage. This creamy, low-calorie, protein-rich dairy product combined with mustard, a relatively low-profile condiment with excellent nutritional properties, has been one of the most popular food trends since the beginning of 2023.

Cottage cheese has always been characterized as a healthy and versatile alternative that can be incorporated into many recipes such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, alfredo sauce, oatmeal, and toast, among others. It is available in varying fat percentages, curd size, and sodium content, so your choice will depend on what you are looking to control.

Similarly, mustard is among the healthiest condiments as it contains anti-inflammatory compounds, no fat, no added sugars, and no artificial ingredients. However, using one to two teaspoons for coating foods is plenty, as excessive amounts can add too much sodium to the diet.

What has made this duo famous?

With nearly 1 million followers, TikTok influencer Tiffany Magee has popularized this combination, claiming that eating certain foods with cottage cheese and mustard has been the key to her weight loss results. In her videos, which have garnered over 100 million views, she claims to have lost about 80 pounds since she adopted this eating practice.

What is the cottage cheese and mustard diet?

In her videos, Tiffany Magee shows you how she puts the dishes together and how she eats her chosen meals. Without forgetting to add a generous amount of cottage cheese and mustard, they usually include:

  • an organic chicken and apple sausage
  • a selection of raw cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • several servings of other raw vegetables such as carrots, asparagus, celery, beets, okra, radishes, etc.
  • a serving of fruit such as strawberries, dates, melon, peach, pineapple, grapes, dragon fruit, and passion fruit

Suggested beverages include water with electrolytes and no added sugar, protein shakes made with almond milk, and coffee.

She sometimes includes a cold baked sweet potato with date syrup, and alternates the chicken and apple sausage with other animal‑based proteins that are as unprocessed as possible, such as eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and fish.

She does not consume grains (rice, oats, wheat, quinoa, barley, among others) or legumes (beans, chickpeas, and lentils).

Is this diet recommended?

While it may not suit every palate, the mix of proteins, vegetables, and fruits does provide a substantial amount of dietary fiber, calcium, and other nutrients, as well as calorie control. As a single meal, it is a recommended alternative and could be part of a healthy diet. However, it is important not to restrict yourself exclusively to this diet or to consume it regularly in order to lose weight.

As with any food or diet trend, or with any meal plan you follow, the key is to maintain a nutritional balance. Achieving this balance is important when choosing which foods to eat, because there is no one perfect food that meets all the nutritional needs of the human body.

Variety is always recommended, both in food groups and in the colors of the fruits and vegetables you put on your plate. You may also choose to consume other types of plant-based proteins (tofu, edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and a variety of nuts). By selecting less processed alternatives, you bring whole foods (with all their components) and more nutrients to the table.

It is also important to understand that the weight loss claims of those who follow this diet are only their personal testimonials or success stories, not scientific evidence. Attributing qualities such as “fat burning” to foods is not realistic.

You also need to move your body and build muscle mass to reduce body fat. If you supplement these eating habits with healthy behaviors such as daily physical activity, proper hydration, and rest, you will definitely achieve adequate weight loss.

If you plan to follow this diet, you are strongly advised to consult a healthcare professional to evaluate your needs, tastes, and preferences in order to create a personalized nutrition plan and help you achieve your goals.