CHEESE And Weight Loss

CHEESE And Weight Loss

Cheese has been made for thousands of years. The origin of cheese is thought to have begun accidentally when nomads and tribespeople carried milk in containers that were made from the stomach of a milk-producing animal: cow, goat, sheep, camel or buffalo. The contact between the milk and the container produced the earliest method of milk storage: cheesemaking. The special active ingredient obtained from the animal stomach is called rennet and this digestive enzyme assists the calf to digest milk from the cow. The human child, up to the age of around seven, also produces a milk digesting enzyme. The majority of traditional and modern methods of cheesemaking are based on the curdling effect produced by the enzyme rennet; some cheese is curdled by the effects of lemon juice; and more recently, a vegetable rennet has been developed. It is less expensive and is greatly increasing in popularity as a large variety of aged cheese and cottage cheese can be produced from this vegetable rennet.

Today, there are over 400 individual types of cheese, each with a different taste, texture and appearance. From Switzerland the famous Swiss cheese has unique characteristics nutritionally as well as visually, with holes in the cheese. From Italy the famous mozzarella; from France, camembert; and from England and the United States, Cheddar cheese. All over the world different types of cheese are produced and available in urban areas from the delicatessen or supermarket.

POSSIBLE BENEFICIAL FACTORS

1. Low lactose content.

2. Protein content.

3. Calcium content.

4. Meal maker.

1. Natural cheese made from raw milk contains the active enzymes lipase, for fat digestion, and lactase for lactose conversion. During the natural cheesemaking process, rennet is added plus ‘natural bacteria’ and these will promote lactose conversion and digestion of the concentrated milk product. Natural cheese may cost more but it provides true value and easier digestion.

2. Cheese is an excellent source of complete protein plus it promotes the protein value of many recipes. The simple ‘peasant’s lunch’ of cheese on bread provides the protein, energy and other nutrients to continue a hard day’s work. As cheese is a good supplier of the common limiting amino acid methionine, it improves the overall protein value (NPU) of many meals. A small amount of cheese, 50g, when combined with kidney beans or rice or a salad sandwich can provide over half the daily protein requirements. However, depending on other foods in the daily diet, over 100g of cheese per day is excessive. Refer to the chart 8 for details on cheese protein in section entitled as How much protein do foods contain?

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3. The calcium content of cheese is excellent; a far better choice than milk especially as it is easier to digest. Cheese supplies on average 700mg of calcium per 100g and it easily supplies over half the daily calcium in one serve: cheese and salad sandwich, grated Parmesan on pasta. Up to one-quarter of the weekly calcium supply can be obtained from natural cheese.

4. Cheese is a meal maker and it adds flavour to numerous recipes due to the rich saturated fat content and the individual cheese culture. Grilled cheese is not recommended for good health as it contains ‘free radicals’. Enjoy the natural cheese ‘meal making’ benefits at work or play.

There are two main groups of cheese: soft cheese and hard cheese. There are also two main types of cheese: natural cheese and processed cheese.

Processed cheese is available in numerous varieties and flavours with any number of additives. Check labels for bleaching agents, preservatives and colours. Ideally, avoid processed cheese. The packaging of individual slices in plastic adds to the price and the cheese does go off fairly quickly compared to ‘true’ natural cheese that can last for months and just gets better with age.

Most ‘natural’ supermarket cheese provides the benefits mentioned but may only last a week, refrigerated.

Processed cheese was invented by Mr J. L. Kraft in 1917; since then, it has taken over the diet of many people. All cheese may contain the following problems, if taken in excess. Natural cheese, however, has the long lasting benefits and rich, full flavour.

POSSIBLE DETRIMENTAL FACTORS

1. Excess saturated fats/cholesterol.

2. Processed cheese additives.

3. Calories.

4. Salt content.

1. Cheese is full of fats especially saturatedfats and it also contains a fair amount of cholesterol. It is easy to obtain both excess fats and cholesterol from cheese. On average, hard cheese is 30% fat, plus 100mg of cholesterol.

Keep your cheese intake to a bare minimum and enjoy it to the maximum.

2. Cheese is full of salt and it also provides abundant calories, ideal for the energetic youth and sports person, but for the not so active, cheese is best in small serves. The charts show the comparison between the supply of nutrients and the daily allowance (RDI). Cheese will easily supply the daily protein, calcium, sodium and lipids, but it is best to keep cheese intake to approxone-quarter of total daily calories, as 200g of Cheddar cheese alone, with 66g of total fat, will start to tilt the scales on daily lipids, as 87g is the adult daily RDI.

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