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“Healthy” Cheese – Low in Salt, Fat…and Flavor?

August 7, 2012

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Reducing the incidence of hypertension and heart disease is a noble struggle. But is eliminating sodium and saturated fat from one of America’s favorite foodstuffs – cheese – the best way to go about it?

The New York Times reports that the dairy industry’s efforts to create “healthy cheese” have been met with bland, rubbery results. “‘If you really want to make bad cheese, make a low-fat, low-sodium one,’ said Lloyd Metzger, a professor of dairy science at South Dakota State University.” Is that really what we want? Slim cheese?

The dairy debate is a heated one, with increasing public awareness that dairy is a non-essential element of a healthy adult diet. Traditional food enthusiasts like Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation argue for the benefits of raw milk, among other full fat, nutrient-dense whole foods. But no one in the field of health and wellness is arguing for the regular consumption of processed cheese, regardless of if it contains less fat or sodium.

Moreover, if reducing sodium and saturated fat intake is the goal, we don’t need to process or reinvent natural foods. Instead, we can increase our intake of fresh fruits and veggies, legumes or whole grains.

With that in mind, for those of us who do eat dairy, shouldn’t we prefer the occasional treat of high quality, traditionally crafted cheese to the frequent consumption of flavorless low-fat, low-sodium, highly processed cheese?

For information about dairy and dairy alternatives that will work best for you, check out our Dairy Health Food Store Tour.

Do you eat dairy? If so, do you favor full-fat products?