Expert: Cheese makes us fat, sick and even addictive

Expert: Cheese makes us fat, sick and even addictive

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Is it correct to say that cheese makes you fat and sick?

The American medical professor Neal Barnard says: "Cheese makes you fat and addictive" and writes in his book "Get out of the cheese trap" that only cheese and other dairy products can be lost - 500 grams per month. But is this statement really correct? Dr. Utz Anhalt will investigate the question in this article.

Why should cheese make you fat?

Cheese has a very high energy density, lots of calories and lots of fat calories, Barnard says. The body creates these fat calories as fat deposits.

Saturated fatty acids

High-fat cheese contains a high degree of saturated fatty acids, the more the more fat it contains, the more. These raised the level of harmful cholesterol in the blood and promoted cardiovascular diseases. Sliced ​​cheese with full fat content has around 400 calories per 100 grams and over 30% fat. This corresponds to chocolate.

Often in combination with other calorie bombs

The calories explode when fat cheese is combined with other foods that are also high in calories. This applies particularly to fast food: cheeseburgers, pizza salami with double cheese or breaded pork cordon bleu.

Milk energy package

Milk, as the basis for cheese, is an energy bolt - for good reason. It contains the nutrients that young animals need to grow.

High salinity

Cheese also often contains a lot of salt, which is added to it during production. A maximum of four grams of salt is recommended daily, and in combination with other foods, this limit is exceeded very quickly for cheese - for example, if you eat a pretzel stick with Gorganonzala for breakfast and a salted egg.

What is Barnard warning about?

Barnard warns of hormones in milk, milk proteins and arachidonic acid. This would put cheese at risk of allergies, arthritis and even a higher risk of cancer.

Danger or scaremongering?

With regard to hormones, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment says that with a quarter liter of milk per day (and a comparable amount in dairy products) there is probably no relevant health risk and that hormones from food are hardly absorbed.

Milk proteins and allergies

Milk proteins may worsen existing allergies, Barnard said. Refraining from cheese could alleviate these allergies. There are no reliable studies for his statement. The "cheese danger" postulated here would only apply to allergy sufferers, if at all. It is by no means evidence of a general risk from cheese.

Milk and arthritis

Milk contains arachidonic acid, and its content increases with the fat content. This fatty acid is considered a "gasoline" for inflammation and promotes existing arthritis. People who suffer from this should therefore avoid high-fat milk products. But that's nothing new.

Cheese addiction?

According to Barnard, cheese is addictive. The triggers are casomorphins in cheese and milk, which cause the brain to release dopamine. Just expecting something beautiful to happen also releases dopamine in the brain, and a lack of dopamine leads to exhaustion and depression.

Cheese and dopamine kick - a problem?

According to Barnard's logic, the casomorphins could increase the need for cheese, so that the "fixed ones" would be fixed on pizza doublecheese, tortellini in cheese cream sauce. Does cheese lead to a kind of drug addiction with the consequence: addiction and obesity?

What do reputable authorities say?

The European Food Safety Authority denies the casomorphin junkie effect. After analyzing scientific studies, she came to the conclusion that the casomorphins do not survive the digestive process. They are neither in the blood nor in the brain, and so there are no signals that arouse desire in those affected.

Calories are calories are calories

Whether people gain or lose weight can be calculated very precisely depending on their weight, gender and size: whoever consumes more calories than he consumes increases. Those who eat fewer calories than they consume lose weight. With a weight of 80 kg and a size of 1.80 meters, I almost have my calorie dose for full-fat cheese with 400 calories per 100 grams for a pound of cheese.

Cheese is not just cheese

Barnard's general warning of cheese is wrong at the latest if it also includes lean cheese made from curd cheese. Lean cheese contains less than ten percent fat, Harzer cheese contains almost no fat, but protein, and is ideal as a food to reduce weight. Cheese is also an important source of calcium, and people with calcium deficiency have problems with their bones and teeth. The first symptoms are muscle cramps and nerve disorders. So if you follow Barnard and do without dairy products, you should urgently eat other calcium-containing foods: green beans, soy milk, nuts or leafy greens.

New insights?

So what is to be said of Barnard's warning that cheese is fat, addictive, promotes allergies and diseases? It goes without saying that high-calorie foods such as high-fat cheese lead to obesity if those affected consume more calories than they consume.

Does cheese promote allergies and diseases?

Do the hormones and milk proteins mentioned by Barnard harm your health? There is no evidence of this. The fatty acids mentioned actually promote inflammation in high-risk patients and those who are already ill. For this reason, it has long been recommended to them to avoid high-fat milk products - but not low-fat.


A general health risk from cheese, as Barnard postulates, cannot be derived from the points he mentioned. Rather, it looks as if only a new dairy cow is being driven by the nutrition guides (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

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