I love cheese.
As a child growing up I ate quite a lot of cheese. If I didn’t like what was prepared for dinner, I would add some cheese to it. After all, everything tastes better with cheese. Can you relate to this? But nowadays, studies and research show that our beloved food might not be so good for us after all. It is distressing but true. Let me share with you what I have learned about Why Cheese is Bad For You.
What we knew about cheese
As I stated earlier, I used to eat a lot of cheese. As a child, I used to read a lot. Most people when they are going to read would pick up their book and find a nice, comfortable chair. Not me. I would pick up my book and find a nice slice of cheese to go along with. Yes, it might sound strange but read, nibble, read, nibble was my great joy.
My mother did not stop me from eating the cheese because after all everyone knew what a healthy food cheese was, providing you with calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Yes, it is true that cheese in high in calcium, but what other unhealthy and harmful substances are we taking into our bodies when we eat it.
What else do you get from cheese (it’s not all good)
Although cheese is touted as a good source of protein and calcium, it is also very high in saturated fats and sodium.
Cheese plays a role in so many common food items; casseroles, mac and cheese, cheese burgers, nachos, pizzas to name a few and you always tend to eat a lot more when you eat cheesy foods. Take Nachos, for example. Can you eat 3 nachos and then put away the pack? Hardly likely. Chances are you are going to consume the entire pack.
Do you know why this is so?
Well, food scientists have found a way to combine high quantities of fat with either excess salt or sugar to produce a very pleasing addictive taste. This high fat plus salt/sugar combination actually triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the feel-good chemical, so you will want to continue eating that food that is making you feel so good.
That is not all. Dairy also contains a substance called casomorphins which is a derivative of morphine, maybe not as strong but still produces side effects in humans. These substances actually produce a slightly euphoric effect on the brain. This is good for the calf because it is natures way of ensuring that the calf stays near to its mother and comes back for regular feed. This keeps the species alive. However, when humans digest casein, they too are prone to euphoric and addictive effects.
Do you see why these cheesy foods are so addictive. That is why a lot of you are saying “I can’t do without my cheese”
How cheese is made
Sometimes if we knew how things were produced we would probably have second thoughts about consuming them. And then, for some people, it probably doesn’t even matter. But do you know how cheese is made?
Well this is it in a nutshell.
- You start with milk.
- Pour the milk in a big tub.
- Add some bacteria to ferment the sugars in the milk.
- Add rennet which is an enzyme derived from the stomach of a dead calf.
- Drain out the whey
- Squeeze out the extra water
- Add large quantities of salt to kill the bacteria or stop it from continuing its fermentation process.
That is basically it.
So what is in fact done is that they take liquid milk and make it solid thus concentrating and increasing the calories, fat, cholesterol, and protein, and this salty, high fat food is what you get hooked on.
Why cheese is bad for you
Studies are contradicting the once thought of health benefits of dairy. See Why Milk is Bad For You. The few perceived benefits of consuming cheese is far outweighed by the risks.
The high sodium and saturated fat found in cheese increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Hormones: Concerns have been raised about the presence of estrogen and other steroid hormones in dairy produce. These could disrupt the endocrine system and potentially increase the risk of some types of cancer.
As a matter of fact Medics from the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to make dairy cheese makers put a warning on their products. The warning it has proposed says: “Dairy cheese contains reproductive hormones that may increase breast cancer mortality risk.”
Consumption of cheese is also implicated in many other symptoms, sensitivities, and interactions.
Lactose intolerance: A person who suffers from lactose intolerance does not have the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down and digest the sugar found in milk. Consuming dairy products including cheese, may result in bloating, flatulence, or diarrhea.
Asthma: Removal of dairy products from the diet has been shown to have remarkable improvement in persons suffering from asthma.
Migraine: Cheese has proven to be a great trigger for persons suffering from migraine. Removal of cheese and other dairy products from the diet results in decrease or elimination of migraine.
Allergies: An allergy occurs because of an abnormal immunologic reaction to certain triggers, such as milk protein, whether casein or whey. The body’s immune system produces an allergic antibody, when exposed to the trigger.
Allergy symptoms include post-nasal drip, wheezing, diarrhea, and vomiting. In more severe cases, a person may develop asthma, eczema, bleeding, pneumonia, and anaphylaxis, or shock. This can be serious, and even life-threatening.
Anyone with a milk allergy must avoid all dairy products, including cheese.
Sinus congestion: This is a very common reaction that most people are actually aware of. I often see my friends eating pizza or some other cheese based foods and saying “My sinus is going to kill me later”.
Acne flare up: Sensitivity to casein, a protein found in milk, can trigger inflammation throughout the body, producing symptoms such as acne flare up and skin rash.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are drugs used to treat depression and Parkinson’s disease. People using these drugs may need to avoid foods with high levels of the amino acid tyramine, such as found naturally in aged cheeses.
If you take an MAOI and you eat high-tyramine foods, tyramine can quickly reach dangerous levels. This can cause a serious spike in blood pressure and require emergency treatment.
Obesity: The high fat content and the addictive nature of cheese can result in increased and unwanted weight gain.
The ethical impact of your cheese craving
When you think of the abuse the cow goes through to provide the milk needed for the production of cheese, you might want to think twice before eating any.
The cow is artificially inseminated and this is done in a rough and cruel way. Her calf is removed from her shortly after it is born so it will not be able to drink any of its mommy’s milk because humans want to drink it instead or use it to make cheese and other dairy products. Both calf and mother suffer tremendously from the separation.
Yes there are many types of cheeses and they are all delicious but you have to decide between taste and health. The choice is yours.
Are you having struggles with your cheese appetite? Are you fighting to cut down or eliminate it from your diet? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below.