Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, but it can also be high in saturated fats and sodium. Should we be eating more cheese or less?
Cheese has grown in popularity in the United States (U.S.) in the last 50 years. Statistics show that consumption tripled from 1970 to 2009.
The range of cheeses available and the number of specialist cheese makers in the U.S. has also grown in recent years.
Some people avoid dairy cheese due to a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, because they are on a weight-loss diet, or as part of a vegan diet.
Cheese offers a number of health benefits, some of which are surprising. Whether or not it is a healthful choice depends on the individual and the type and amount of cheese consumed.
Fast facts on cheese:
- There are thousands of types of cheese. “Cheese-flavored” food is not considered one of them.
- Many cheeses are high in sodium and fat, but the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.
- Natural, low-fat, low-sodium cheese can make a healthful addition to most diets.
- Anyone with a lactose allergy should not eat any type of cheese, but some types may be suitable for those with a lactose intolerance.