7 Incredible Side Effects of Giving Up Cheese — Eating This Not That, According to Experts

If you love cheese, you’re not alone. According to statistics, the average American consumes up to 40 pounds of cheese per year. However, this really should come as no surprise. Tucked into sandwiches, melted on pizza, stacked high on deli boards—cheese seems to be everywhere, no matter what. While cheese is undoubtedly delicious, it can have downsides and unexpected health side effects.

For starters, many varieties are high in calories, fat, and sodium, which can negatively affect your physical health. Others are high in tyramine, which is a known trigger for migraines and headaches. Although studies linking cheese intake to chronic disease have been inconsistent, if you’re having a pesky problem where you can’t identify the source, it’s important to pay attention to how much of this dairy product you regularly consume.

Because of its sodium and fat content, Dr. Akua Woolbright, director of national nutrition programs at the Whole Cities Foundation, a nonprofit organization at Whole Foods, recommends limiting cheese to 1 ounce of hard cheese or ½ cup of soft cheese at a time. “One way to do this is to buy stronger-flavored varieties, so you can add more flavor to your food with less,” she says. Some great hard cheese options include Parmesan, Feta, and Swiss. “You can go a step further and replace whole-milk cheese with low-fat and low-fat options. If you’re interested in reducing your sodium intake, avoid feta and hard cheeses.”

If you’re looking to reduce your cheese consumption — or to give it up entirely — then read on to learn about some of the benefits you might experience when you do. From improving your complexion to reducing headaches, giving up cheese can have amazing effects on the mind and body.

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Reducing your intake of cheese and dairy products may have positive effects on both skin tone and texture. This is because dairy products are associated with excess oil production. “Reducing your intake of cheese may help improve your complexion, as cheese may cause excess sebum production, which can lead to breakouts or clogged pores,” says internal medicine specialist Dr. Mya Bellinger.

headache migraine

If you’re someone who suffers from frequent migraines, a diet rich in cheese and dairy may be the culprit. “Reducing cheese intake may reduce headaches and migraines caused by the effects of tyramine in cheese,” explains Bellinger. Tyramine is a naturally occurring compound in plant and animal products. According to research, large amounts of tyramine in the body may trigger headaches and migraines in people.

lose weight

Eating too much cheese can also negatively impact any weight loss goals you may have. “Cutting down cheese can help you lose weight,” says Bellinger. This is because cheese often contains sugar, fat, and calories. For example, a 100-gram serving of cheddar can contain up to 33 grams of fat. Cutting back on cheese or opting for low-fat or fat-free options may help.


cancer risk

Reducing your intake of cheese and dairy products in general may help reduce your risk of cancer. That’s because by eating less cheese, you’re reducing your intake of casein, a protein found in milk that may be linked to disease.

“Casein has been shown to increase tumor growth rates in certain types of tumors, such as prostate cancer and potentially breast cancer,” said Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Assistant Professor, Public Health Master and R&D Ph.D.Fielding School of Public Health, author of new book by Cambridge University Press Survival Tips (2022). “We may increase this risk when we eat large amounts of cheese that is primarily made from the casein portion.”

environmentally friendly

Eating less cheese is not only good for your health, but also for Mother Earth. “In general, producing milk requires a lot of water,” Hunnes points out. She shared that the amount of water required to produce milk is three times that of regular plant-based milk.

“From an environmental standpoint, cheese is resource-intensive,” Hunnes said. “It takes a lot of land to produce a pound of cheese, thousands of gallons of water to produce a pound of cheese, and the cows themselves emit a lot of methane.”

RELATED: Eating less red meat and dairy can change the environment, experts say


Bess Berger, RDN, CDN and owner of Bess Nutrition, points out that cheese and dairy products are loaded with additives, preservatives and hormones that can cause inflammation in the body. “As a PCOS nutritionist, I’ve seen women report that headaches and other inflammatory reactions calm down after taking dairy,” Berger said. “Unfortunately, the quality of dairy today is a lot less and a lot more than it was twenty years ago – and that affects a lot of us, and I see this in women all the time,”

If you’re still craving cheese, Hunnes recommends choosing one with fewer additives. “Less processed cheeses are healthier than others,” Hunnes advises. “If you’re going to eat cheese, I recommend a cheese that has as few ingredients as possible and comes from humanely raised farms as much as possible.”

cheese board

If you’re someone who struggles with digestive issues and suffers from frequent bloating, reducing or limiting cheese and dairy may help reverse this. “For many people, dairy products can cause stomach upset and bloating due to a lack of enough enzymes to break down lactose or an actual allergy,” said Trista Best, a registered dietitian, environmental health specialist and assistant professor of nutrition at Balance One Supplements. .

“Those who lack adequate amounts of lactase, an enzyme that digests milk sugar, are known to develop lactose intolerance and experience excessive gastrointestinal discomfort and bloating when consuming dairy products,” Best added. . If you think it might be you, try choosing a dairy-free cheese.

related: Macaroni and Cheese, Lasagna and Other Cheese Recipes That Don’t Use Dairy

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