Like rice and bread, cheese is a vital part of many cultures and several cuisines, and is a prominent ingredient in the recipes that have originated in all non tropical nations. Thus it's impossible, to find a cuisine without cheese. So much so is the people's fondness of cheese, that Clifton Fadiman once commented "...cheese, milk's leap toward immortality...". United States produced about 4,000,000 metric tons of cheese and about 30 kg per year worth of cheese is consumed by every Greek, while the exact half is consumed by an American per year. Point is, high consumption of cheese has raised may health related issues such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, cardiac problems and several other disorders that result from excessive fat deposition, high cholesterol and protein intake. The human body which has been built to sustain starvation, endure physical labor, is unsuitable for a high and continual intake of cheese and cheese products.
Cheese Consumption and the Human Diet
The aforementioned facts were general statistics with no offense to any Greek! A considerable debate over why cheese is not very healthy is ongoing. We need to understand one fact, which is quite harsh, that is, there is no problem with cheese, there is a problem with our intake. Greeks and Romans took larger proportions of cheese into their diets, and still maintained well-chiseled abs and muscles. The reason is simple enough, point number one, those people had physically exerting jobs, military skill practice and overall, a mammoth quantum of physical exertion. Burning the calories was not much of an issue. The second truth that must be considered is that the cheese making process was very different . To start with their milk-giving animals were not breed members and were also not medically enhanced in any manner. The milk that was given by them was natural and also had a perfect balance of nutrients. The pastures that they fed on were natural thus making the original milk very healthy and well-balanced in terms of nutrients. The process of making cheese was also very simple, crude thus reducing the concentration of proteins and fats.
Today if we take a block of cheese made from the modern mechanized processes, and compare it with a block of cheese made with the process followed in ancient Greece, then the fat and protein concentration along with the total of calories would indicate that modern processes have made cheese unhealthy. The conclusion, is:
- We need to curb down our cheese consumption.
- We need to start exercising more.
- If possible we need to reform the production process of cheese.
Health conscious people will shockingly shun any kind of cheese due to the high calorie and unhealthy concentration of nutrients it has. Foodies will nod their heads and then take a bite any way (it might be a bit smaller than the usual). There are three dimensions of determining whether your consumption of cheese is normal or not, namely, the volume of intake, concentration or balance of nutrients and cheese ingredients (milk, whey milk protein, salt, calcium phosphate, sodium citrate, whey protein, sodium phosphate, sorbic acid, apocarotenal, annattom enzymes, vitamin D3 and cheese culture) and lastly the make of the cheese which you are consuming. There are certain types of cheese, which are deemed to be healthy, owing to the fact that they have a very well-balanced proportion of all the aforementioned factors.
A good example among healthy choices for cheese is string cheese. Prominent in several places in Slovakia, Armenia and Mexico as a traditional cheese, string cheese is preeminently made from sheep milk. The string structure is often attributed to lesser consumption and the sheep milk or goat milk, has a more balanced nutrient distribution. Cheddar, consumed in moderation is often considered to be beneficial. Usually cheddar is said to contain 30% to 40% fats. However fat-free (low-fat), or the skim milk cheddar contains about 15% of fat. The same is the case with American cheese or the European cheese. Such cheese should be either consumed in moderation or must be consumed of brands that give low-fat content or skim milk cheese. An excellent example of cheese that is healthy is Parmigiano Reggiano, which is made from naturally skimmed milk. Ricotta, which is made from whey and milk contains very low volumes of fat (don't pounce on it, some fat is still there). People who are lactose intolerant or want a healthy nutrient balance can opt for Feta from Greece.
People doing some endurance training can go for cottage cheese and benefit from its protein. Another option that would help you to have hefty nutrients in a healthy manner is Gouda. Apart from that, other nutrients do matter, such as salt is often criticized as unhealthy. It is true that excessive sodium in cheese is harmful and hence, if you are a physically inactive person then low sodium cheese in moderation is good for you.
To wrap it up let's say that eating only cheese is unhealthy. Also abstain from using healthy measures of cheese, if you stick to the recipe, then nothing like it. Cheese consumption can be put together in 3 points:
- Consume in moderation (stick to the recipe)
- Avoid 2 cheese based recipes at the same meal
- Lastly, make healthy and smart choices while consuming cheese