My name is Tim and I am a cheese addict. But what I recently discovered has hit me to the limit.
I can hardly look at the cheese balls they sell in the supermarket. A piece of cheese halloumi I eat half in my refrigerator.
My cheese dreams are shattered.
- The risk of stopping dairy products before the age of 25
Shortly after a life without limitations, Could it be that cheese is more of an enemy than a friend? What is addicted to something that is not good for my body?
These questions started to appear to me a few months ago when I started producing an episode for myself podcast on the BBC: All Hail Kale about whether dairy products are a problem we should be afraid of.
Between pleasure and moderation
For quite some time I asked the logic of adults who drink milk.
Although milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, are good sources of protein and calcium and can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, as explained to me by Dr. ir. Michael Greger of NutrionFacts.org: "There is no animal on the planet that drinks milk after weaning and yet, drink Milk from other species does not make much sense".
Greger has made a series of studies that demonstrate the possible effect of shortening the life of drinking this "hormonal stew".
I always thought that cheese was, compared to the rest, a more mature dairy product, perhaps benign or even more beneficial.
It fitted into the mental image of the Greek and Italian elders who generously spread feta and pecorino cheese, but in reality only a low to moderate part of the cheese is included in the holy Mediterranean diet.
I have also decided that a diagnosis in my childhood of lactose intolerance could not prevent me from eating Paneer cheese in India or dip a piece of bread in a fondue during my trips for skiing.
Remove the cheese?
Perhaps this feeling of denial is mixed with illusion due to a real addiction.
An American doctor controversially referred to the cheese as a "dairy crack" (None of the professors I spoke with, support that theory) because they reportedly had addictive chemicals, similar to opiates, and even proposed a three-step program to remove cheese from the diet, something like a sort of cheese detoxification.
Step 1: Know why you want to break with cheese.
Well, really, I do not want to be separated from him.
- Where does the "oldest" cheese come from and what does it say about human lactose intolerance?
But for the journalistic goal of checking whether the cheese is a less fearful way than milk, I have taken my head out of the sand (including a special Turkish cheese presumably fermented) and contacted three of the big heavy weights of food.
They all agreed that the intake of milk secretions by another species is strange to us and that adults do not have to take it.
But can consensus be reached about cheese?
Dr. Michael Greger follows the hard line: with his combination of concentrated sodium and fat, it should not be part of our daily diet.
"Make it part of a special occasion, more than part of the day," says the expert.
Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, takes a semi-hard look at cheese.
"It does not appear to have the same effects that promote growth compared to milk. Eat your Brie in moderation and enjoy it"says and recommends consuming only one portion of dairy products per day.
- Do you really need to avoid dairy and ice if you have a cold?
But at Cornell University, nutrition professor David Levitsky has a slightly softer attitude towards the dangers of dairy products and confesses that every evening he eats a small cheese platter for dinner.
"I enjoy it, but not like large amounts of cheese".
The consensus, in a sense, is that cheese can not be at the top of the spectrum.
30 years later …
With the intention of removing the blindfold, I went to my doctor Enam Abood at the Harley Street Health Center to analyze my lactose intolerance 30 years after the first diagnosis.
He not only confirmed that he was still lactose intolerant, but that by ignoring it, I could have ignited my gut.
According to Dr. Abood, I probably do not take vitamins and minerals, which is not good for my immune system, my energy levels and even my mood.
The damage may be the result of my excessive consumption of dairy products that goes back years.
Abood advised me, if I eat cheese, to take a lactase pill that would give me the enzyme that I, and many people like me, do not need to properly digest dairy products.
Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose in glucose and galactose.
A positive aspect of my medical trips was that an expert in the gut told me that a piece of unpasteurized cheese, rich in bacteria, is not processed, as a gift for the gut microbiome.
After making a chapter for the podcast about the crucial role of the gut in our mood, it seems logical to keep the cheese on the table.
I have never come this far look step 2Think of what you can do to change the recipes you already have. Step 3: Think of non-dairy cheeses.
It is too much even to consider digesting them.
Instead, I think of himor puzzling that gets definitive answers about nutrition.
I think I should remember to take lactase enzyme pills with me, because my gut will certainly want a piece of Roquefort … tomorrow.
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