If you love cheese, you’re not alone, and you may not want to read this.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) believes cheese to be the guilty culprit of our nation’s obesity problem. They believe it so much that they have recently began a billboard campaign in Albany, New York. Large billboards display dimply thighs or flabby guts and read, “Your Thighs on Cheese,” or “Your Abs on Cheese.”
Are they right? Is the ooey gooey goodness of cheese really the enemy?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates, Americans have tripled the amount of cheese they eat each year since 1970. Today, the average American eats 31 pounds of per year. Let’s be real, that’s a lot of cheese!
Neal Barnard is part of the PCRM and clearly stated how he feels about our cheese consumption, especially our children’s cheese consumption. “Cheese and other dairy products are the leading source of saturated fat that our kids are swallowing. And I think most Americans are totally oblivious to it.”
Cheese has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, the culprits that clog arteries and link to heart disease. Barnard points out that the fat and cholesterol in cheese is “as high as any steak you’ll find.” Barnard feels cheese is so bad for our health that he suggests we should never eat it at all.
Those are extreme recommendations. They do not fall in line with mainstream nutritional guidelines either. While cheese is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, it’s also high in protein and calcium, two very essential nutrients. On the same hand though, the guidelines do not recommend melting mountains of it on every dish we eat. Given the 31 pounds most eat every year, moderation of cheese may be an issue in America.
Maybe we just need a new out look on cheese. Perhaps the French motto, “fromage ou dessert,” meaning “cheese or dessert” could apply. The French savor cheese, they do not slather it on everything. It’s like a dessert, appreciated alone and in moderation.
The billboards are not being welcomed with open arms. Viewers find them offensive and annoying. They might be, or maybe they’re right, and the truth hurts.