The Skinny on Cheese!



Oh cheese. My Love, My Enemy. I crave cheese almost anytime of the day (or night) but am so afraid of eating any ( afraid of eating it....this fear does not however keep me from eating it) because cheese is bad for us, right?

I needed to find some support for my cheese addiction, and so I did some reading online today to see if I could find some reassurance that cheese is not all bad.

Turns out, it isn't.

 According to an article I read today, not all cheese is as evil as I thought it was!

Fat-free and low-fat cheeses are fine in moderation, it turns out. M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. (I must repeat that to myself like a mantra).

However, full-fat cheeses should be avoided like the dentist (I kid) since these foods typically contain hefty amounts of artery-clogging saturated fat -- up to 6 grams in just one ounce of full-fat cheese (the size of a pair of dice!) That’s about one third of the total saturated fat recommended for good health in a single day. And a diet high in saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease. (I knew this. Just needed to have it repeated to me. Over, and over again. sigh.)

Another cheesy fact is that hard cheese is not necessarily any better-or worse-for our health than is soft cheese. This is a misperception many people have. Almost all cheeses have the same nutrient composition, but  each kind will have significant differences in the level of saturated fat, calories and sodium. So it is important to check the nutrient labels carefully before buying cheese, hard or soft. Stick with low-fat cheese to fix that next craving that comes along.

And speaking of cravings, I am so enamored with cheese, I would be a perfect candidate for Cheese Lovers Anonymous. So should I believe the experts when they say that a person cannot get addicted to cheese? Seriously? Uh uh. Then why do I find myself standing in front of my refrigerator at 1:00 AM munching a slice of cheese while looking surreptitiously about as though expecting the food police (or my hubby) to catch me in my crime?

Apparently the fault is all mine, not the cheese.... because cheese itself is NOT addictive (say the experts) Though this food does contain proteins called casomorphins that are chemically related to well known addiction pathways in the brain, recent research has revealed cheese is not addictive. Unlike with alcohol, a person’s cravings for cheese do not have a biological basis; the cravings are purely behavioral, a matter of habit. 

Fine. I will stick to low fat cheese, and I will eat it in moderation. In well-lit rooms and in front of others. I will no longer try to hide my cheese fix in a dark empty kitchen after everyone has gone to sleep with just the soft light of the refrigerator keeping me company.

But no way can anyone tell me that cheese is not addicting.