Cut the cheese? Oh please.

This is an actual billboard The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) installed in an attempt to convince the Albany city school district in Washington to eliminate cheese from school lunches. Why are they attacking one of America’s favorite foods?

“The obesity epidemic is not caused by inactivity, bread, rice, gluttony, weak will, or a bad childhood. It is caused by a tsunami of unhealthful foods, and one of the worst, perhaps surprisingly, is cheese.” — PCRM

Oh man. I currently have four 1-pound blocks of cheese in my fridge because it was on sale last week.

I definitely understand why cheese gets put on the judgment seat- most of the calories are from fat. Take cheddar cheese for example: one ounce (picture 4 dice) of contains 9.4 grams of fat and 6 of those 9 grams are saturated fat (the kind associated with heart disease). If a one ounce portion is roughly 114 calories, then about 85 calories are from fat.

I agree that cheese is high in fat, but I will also say that I disagree with the PCRM’s campaign. Cheese will not make you fat- not moving, not eating and in moderation, and not choosing more whole foods will. A while back people were blaming high fructose corn syrup. It’s not the HFCS itself; look at the products we find it in: pop & processed stuff. If our diet is mainly pop & processed stuff, that will likely cause weight gain. We can’t blame one thing for the obesity epidemic. If I could make one simple recommendation, it would be this: Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants. Are you eating in moderation and choosing nutrient-dense foods instead of processed food/stuff?

If you are looking for ways to decrease your calorie consumption from cheese, try the same flexitarian approach I use with meat/poultry and just half the amount you normally use. Use cheese to flavor your meal, not be main ingredient. White cheeses tend to have less saturated fat than orange, so try some Swiss or provolone instead of cheddar on that sandwich. There’s also the option to use cheese made with 2% milk.

How do you keep cheese in your diet without going overboard?

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Author: budgetforhealth

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget for Health!

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