Your relationship with cheese isn’t healthy. Even if it’s just an occasional flirtation—a slice here, a cube there—cheese simply isn’t right for you. Beyond the environmental implications, cheese abuses your body. In a way, cheese is cheating on you by acting alluring but ultimately hurting you in the end. Here are six health facts the cheese industry is hiding from you.
1. Cheese is high in unhealthy fats
It’s true, you need fats, but just like partners, there are good fats and bad fats. Cheese is full of the bad fats. It contains saturated and trans fats, both of which can squeeze arteries, contribute to plaque buildup, and hang around your waistline. In fact, cheese is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet. What about cheese’s attractive friend, low-fat cheese? It still contains fat. According to the USDA’s food labeling guide, companies are not required to list a nutrient in the nutrition label if it falls under 0.5 grams per serving. There are a few issues with this rule: 1). The USDA cautions against consuming any trans fat, so even a small amount is over the limit. 2). Many people consume more than the suggested serving size. If this is the case, those 0.5 grams add up.
2. Cheese contains inflammatory properties
Cheese is a highly inflammatory food. Sure, the trans and saturated fats found in cheese partially contribute to inflammation, but cheese also contains other inflammation-triggering properties such as Neu5gc. Neu5gc is a sugar found in cow’s milk that is forgein to human bodies. When the body cannot recognize a substance, it mounts an immune response, which leads to inflammation. It is essential we keep inflammation in check, because chronic inflammation is the precursor to disease including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. When cheese is a staple in your diet, it can expedite chronic inflammation over time, putting you at higher risk for these serious health conditions. No relationship is worth that risk.
3. Cheese may impair breathing
Struggle with a runny nose or excess mucus? It could be related to cheese. Cheese contains casein—a protein that has been shown to increase mucus production in the gut and respiratory tract. Wouldn’t it be nice to not carry a packet of tissues everywhere you go, or not have to clear your throat while giving presentations, or to go for a run without having to spit every so often? It’s possible without cheese!
4. Cheese may impair blood flow
Your love of cheese could literally make your heart stop. Of course, this is an extreme case, but the fat and inflammatory properties of cheese can constrict blood flow which is precursor to a heart attack. Even mildly restricted blood flow can affect us in our day-to-day lives. We need to maximize blood flow efficiency to transport vital nutrients and oxygen to our body. It helps us move, breath, and do what we love. Athletes—including individuals who exercise recreationally—will suffer from any restriction of blood flow. The thing is, if you’ve been in a long-term relationship with cheese, you may not even be aware of your potential. Break up with cheese, and you’ll likely feel the benefits during your workouts or active everyday life.
5. Cheese is a major source of cholesterol
No matter how cheese is manipulated, there is no way to remove the cholesterol. Even low-fat and fat-free cheese contains cholesterol. While our bodies need some cholesterol, we are able to produce it on our own. Excess cholesterol can combine with other substances in your blood and build plaque, which can lead to heart conditions over time. A single slice of cheddar cheese contains 30 mg of cholesterol. While the USDA offers a not-to-exceed daily limit, it also recommends to limit your cholesterol intake as much as possible. Given that humans don’t need to ingest cholesterol to produce it, even one slice of cheese is technically in excess of what your body can handle.
6. Cheese isn’t great for your gut
Ever feel bloated, gassy, or need to use the restroom after you’ve eaten? If you ate cheese, it could be the culprit. Many do not realize they are lactose intolerant, especially if it’s on the milder side or they haven’t had issues with dairy in the past. People can develop lactose intolerance as they get older, because humans tend to produce less lactase enzymes (the thing that breaks down the lactose sugar in dairy) as they age. You could have lived off grilled cheese as a kid, but don’t be surprised if you can’t stomach a slice of dairy-based cheese pizza as an adult. It’s natural, but that doesn’t mean you need to continue your relationship with cheese. Your body has grown out of it, it’s time for you to move on. Your gut will thank you.