White or paler looking cheese varieties are usually healthier than yellow cheese varieties, according to the author of "The Big Book of Food and Nutrition," Joel Weber. In general, cheese has a natural white hue and any color, such as yellow, is only added as a natural or chemical dye to enhance the look of the cheese, as noted by Phylis B. Canion, a certified nutritional consultant.
For weight watchers, paler colored cheeses are a better choice than yellow cheeses, as they contain a higher percentage of natural fat. However, in general, yellow cheeses contain more fat overall. Fat can amount to more calories, which can quickly add up for those who are trying to lose weight.
The main difference between yellow and white cheddar cheese is that yellow cheddar cheese has an additive called annatto, which is a natural plant-based color from a South American plant. The color of cheese can also be simply a measure of preference, which can vary based on culture and region. For example, yellow cheddar cheese is preferred in Wisconsin, while white cheddar cheese is a favorite in Vermont and Ohio.
In addition to coloring agents, cheese manufacturers can also add other chemicals during the production process, such as phosphoric acid, malic acid, aluminum potassium phosphate, benzyl peroxide, tartaric acid and alginic acid.