Three Steps to Fighting Cheese Addiction
Are you “hooked” on cheese? There’s a scientific reason. As cheese digests, it produces mild opiates called casomorphins. Here’s a three-step program to break cheese addiction.
Cheese Health Concerns
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.
Cheese is a high-calorie product loaded with fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat. And the type of fat they contain is mainly saturated (“bad”) fat, which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Cheese is the number-one source of saturated fat in the American diet. Decreasing saturated fat intake will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, according the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
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. Part-skim versions of cheeses are not much better, with just slightly lower amounts of fat.
About one-third of adults and 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese. And obesity is a major cause of death, attributable to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cheese can be replaced by soy, rice, almond-based cheese, or nutritional yeast. Unfortunately, many commercial brands still contain milk proteins such as casein and whey. Galaxy Foods vegan cheeses and VeganRella are milk-free brands. Here are a few more suggestions:
- Cream cheese: Try Tofutti, a soy-based substitute. Or spread a fresh avocado on your bagel instead!
- Ricotta cheese: Blend up firm tofu (drained). This tastes great in lasagna!
- Parmesan cheese: You can buy commercially available brands such as Galaxy Foods, or you can make your own in minutes!
- Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy taste to sauces, pizza, and casseroles.
- Add baked seasoned tofu slices to sandwiches, or bite-sized chunks to salads.
Books to Help You Break the Cheese Addiction
Breaking the Food Seduction
Based on the research by PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., and that of other leading investigators at major universities, Breaking the Food Seduction reveals the diet and lifestyle changes that can break stubborn cravings for cheese and other addictive foods.
21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart
Dr. Barnard’s latest book expands on PCRM’s popular Kickstart program. In just three short weeks on a vegan diet you’ll get fast results: drop pounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve blood sugar, and more.
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook was written in response to the countless people who said they could never give up dairy products because they “just couldn’t live without cheese.”