Cut The Cheese

Weighing the positives and negatives before making a decision is hardwired into the human consciousness ...except when it comes to food. Our ancestors did not have the luxury of and endless supply of food and our bodies/minds have not yet adapted to our times. We need to re-wire our brains circuitry when evaluating foods and their benefits or lack thereof before consuming them.

Limiting something in your diet is rarely a bad thing. The only way to start good nutritional habits is to stop coaxing yourself into "one slice of cheese won't matter" and show some self-restraint. These small restrictions should snowball into your continued day to day diet and help you lead a more balanced lifestyle. 

I cut the cheese...out

We add it to our burgers, broccoli, spaghetti, eggs, cold cuts, potatoes, and fries. We eat it on its own. We even fry it and eat it. Cheese, has and always will be a staple addition to American foods. My beef with cheese (forgive the food pun) is with not only in its high caloric count, but it's lack of nutritional content. 

The paleo's disregard dairy all together. I can see the cheeseheads now rolling their eyes and imagining not being able to pair merlot with their 3 year old gouda. Spare me. I will never suggest cutting cheese out of your diet, but rather limiting and/or substituting it from time to time. Cheese of course has some nutritional value; Vitamin A, D3, K2, etc. These are important fat soluble vitamins. However, I highly doubt people are adding extra cheese to their pizza with the emphasis on getting their daily allotment of K2 in. 

It is not the he only way to lose weight, but without going down the weight loss argument rabit hole (right now) expending more calories than you take in (Law of Thermodynamics) is typically the process of losing weight. The average cheese is somewhere in the ball park of 80 cals per ounce...ounce! Well Steve, what about low fat cheese?

The problem with low fat cheese is that now that the fats (and proteins) are missing, you will be less satiated and tempted to eat more or something else. Casein, is the main protein component in dairy/cheese. This protein, comparatively speaking, is absorbed more slowly and therefore keeps you satiated longer.  Most low fat cheeses, are also lower in protein.

We haven't even hit on the sodium or cholesterol yet. Let me preface this first nutrition related study by conveying that it's not difficult to find contrasting scientific studies on any topic. So, be skeptical of all studies and stay neutral until all the facts are in.

I came upon a study that found that men who ate 10 daily 1-ounce servings of full-fat cheese for 3 weeks showed no effect on their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, it took 30 seconds of googling to find 2 contradictory studies. My focus for this piece is not on cholesterol, but I can’t remind you enough that nutritional arguments are presented, accepted, and then falsified over and over. Always be ready to change with the science.

Calorically speaking, swapping most condiments for cheese will really help. Listed below are condiments and their corresponding cals. This should give you some idea of the calorie differences in condiment substitutes normally swapped for cheese: 


Apple sauce    15ml (1 tbsp)    10
French dressing (vinaigrette)    15ml (1 tbsp)    69
Mayonnaise    15ml (1 tbsp)    104
Mayonnaise (light)    15ml (1 tbsp)    43
Pesto    15ml (1 tbsp)    78
Soy sauce    15ml (1 tbsp)    10
Tomato ketchup    15ml (1 tbsp)    17
Tomato sauce (Italian, jar)    15ml (1 tbsp)    7
Worcestershire sauce    15ml (1 tbsp)    10
Coconut (creamed, block)    25g    167
Coconut milk (canned)    100ml    22
Vinegar    1 tbsp    3