Finally – some help on my one woman war against cheese

English: Individually wrapped slices of Americ...

I’ve been waging my one-woman war against cheese for some time now, largely without any support, as, let’s face it, everyone loves cheese and they don’t want to hear someone telling them to stop eating it because it’s full of fat. But, now, I’m no longer alone. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has jumped on the bandwagon, with an anti-cheese billboard campaign in Albany, New York. The no-nonsense billboard campaign features photos of folks with obese abds and thighs, with the captions “…your abds/thighs on cheese…” You can read the full story here, but the gist of it is this:  cheese is the number-one source of saturated (“bad”) fat in the American diet; we eat too much of it, and it’s making us fat, according to physician, food researcher and founder of PCRM Neal Barnard, MD.

Dr. Barnard goes on to further enlighten readers on the evils of cheese “…Americans eat more than 33 pounds of cheese per person per year—three times more than they did in 1970—and our country is more obese than ever.” and “…One-fourth of an average 12-inch cheese pizza contains nearly 13 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat and 27 milligrams of cholesterol. An ounce of cheddar contains 9 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat.” Read more from Dr. Barnard here and here, and you may be ready to jump on the anti-cheese bandwagon with me.

Of course, I’ve said all of this before in America’s Love Affair with Cheese, but it helps to have the full weight of an official-sounding physician’s group behind me. Look out America, the war against cheese is back!

© Huffygirl 2012


28 thoughts on “Finally – some help on my one woman war against cheese

  1. I think that in the UK cheese is even more popular because ours is the best cheese in the world! but we probably don’t eat quite as much even so, just smaller portions. I probably eat about 5-6 ozs a week but I don’t eat meat which saves me some of those nasty fats. Perhaps it’s a case of choosing our poison, something has to get all of us in the end. I don’t smoke, drink or use drugs so the cheese will get me. Cheese has some benefits too, a good amount of protein and its delicious!
    Of course the figures are correct too much fat in our diets is not good but I don’t think cheese is ‘evil’ just another item on the list to be aware of!
    Right I’m off to make a (small) cheese sandwich to for lunch at work!

    • I hope you enjoyed your cheese sandwich Gilly. I think your point is well-put – your small portions of cheese probably add up to about 15-20# of cheese per year, compared with the American average of 33 # per year. Plus, someone is eating more than that, because they have to eat my 33# worth, since I don’t eat cheese at all. I think the kind of cheese matters. Your “real” cheese, that is “aged” cheese, compared to the fake cheese that many Americans consume aka “American” cheese, is richer, more tasty, and more satisfying. You don’t need to slap large amounts of it on everything you eat to get the satisfaction of eating cheese.

      Plus, as you say, you don’t eat meat, so in your case, cheese is making up some of your needed protein intake that others are getting from meat.

      And, it’s not unreasonable to have some small vice – aka cheese, or in my case chocolate, in moderate amounts, as total deprivation of all of our favorites usually leads to falling off the deprivation wagon at some point. We don’t want life without joy, or cheese, just moderation. I say eat your cheese happily, just not 33# per year of it.

      I just hope someone doesn’t start a war against chocolate!

  2. It’s interesting when someone will point out the horrors of one food — cheese, soda, red meat, fructose, etc. — as if taking one out of our diets will balance the scales.

    I love cheese. Actually, so does my dog.

    • Steve, I think you and your dog can keep enjoying cheese. Just hold your intake down to maybe 10 # a year, instead of 30 # (the national average), and you’ll probably be fine.

      Your point about those of us who single out one food horror is well-taken. I think in the case of cheese, it is the tripling in the amount of cheese consumption and the kind of cheese (high fat, fake cheese food, aka American cheese) that is the problem. I realize that cheese is only part of the obesity problem. But, take a tripling in cheese intake, plus inactivity, plus increased soda intake, plus more fast food consumption, etc – all together, over time, they do add up to more weight issues for more people. And after all, according to my doctor, I’m fat, and I don’t even EAT cheese – I must have gotten that way from something else 🙂

    • The thing is with cheese, is that the good old, real, aged cheeses in moderate amounts, are really not a problem. The problem is the fatty fake cheese, aka American cheese, that is slathered over every chain food restaurant item in the country. Your little bit of stinky cheese is fine in moderation.

  3. Thanks for the very important info. I eat cheese in moderation and almost never eat the processed American cheese. My one small vice is probably eating too many sweets. 🙂

  4. Oh no – sometimes the truth hurts!!!! Every now and then, I have a significant reduction in cheese – but I love it! Made a delish home made pizza last night – called it Minimalist – very limited cheese (small crumbs of goat cheese spread around), with tomato sauce, peppers, mushrooms, onions and zucchini – it was so tasty, the lack of cheese wasn’t even noticed! (Oh yeah – the secret sauce – a little balsamic vinegar lightly reduced and drizzled on the pizza!!!) It was so good – didn’t even get a picture!

    • Sounds wonderful Anita. Next time take a picture and put it on your blog. I eat pizza without cheese all the time since I’m allergic to dairy, and have finally gotten so I don’t miss it. But everyone says “how can you possibly eat pizza without cheese?”
      Thanks for dropping in fellow cyclist!

  5. Well, just one of the many, or should i say MOST foods we should not eat.
    Of course when we eat any of the “most” foods, if we only ate them in MODERATION and more rarely we would be ok.
    BUT with all the things we hear about ALL THE BAD FOODS, we need to go to__________(I can’t think of the word to match what I am thinking)_____, maybe to “barren” eating? In other words, only eat fresh grown fruits and vegetables we grow ourselves (otherwise they are full of pesticides etc.), and only drink water (although, even most of our water supplies are full of junk). If we would grow our own produce, eat our own produce ONLY, and try to find a good source of clean water then we would all be SKINNY…and???

  6. I absolutely know you are right, HG. It is so darn hard to give it up because it is one of my favorite things. I wish there were a substitute. I’m thinking of learning to make yogurt “cheese.”. Do you think that would be okay? I have a recipe somewhere and you flavor it with herbs and can spread it on crackers. It’s nothing like a good hunk of cheddar, but I’m willing to try and wean my husband and me off of cheese.

    • Susan, are you joining my one-woman war? Hurray. I haven’t had too many takers, as it seems that everyone loves cheese.

      As far as making your own cheese, I think what will tell if this is worth it is the fat content of the yogurt. It it’s quite a bit less than typical cheese, than it may be a good alternative. But then if it’s so yummy that you end up eating more of it than you would of your regular cheese, than it’s a wash. I think the best way is to go back to eating cheese the way we once did – rich, delicious aged cheese, but in small amounts and less frequently. Like eating 8 # a year instead of 33!

  7. If I try the yogurt cheese, I will get the 2% kind. If that works, then I’ll try the 0% kind. I’ll let you know how it goes. We eat a lot of bean and cheese tacos for dinner because we get the organic black refried beans from Trader Joes’s and I use the 2% shredded cheddar and we don’t put much on. I keep thinking of all the things I will miss, but I’ve known for quite awhile that cheese should be a no-no as a staple. My pledge is to use up all the cheese currently in my fridge, and then stop buying more except for maybe the very little we put on those vegetarian tacos. My knees are shaking.

    • I applaud your valiant effort Susan. I just hope that some huffygirl-esque blogger doesn’t start a one-woman war against chocolate, because then I’d be in real trouble.

      If you belong to a church that practices Lent, you’ve picked a great time to break the cheese habit – just make it your Lenten observance. The six weeks of Lent should be enough to break the habit!

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