On Cheese

I’m slowly making my way through a pile of vegan reading. One of the books I’m reading is called Breaking the Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard. I was shocked by something I read in the book. Apparently the U.S. Department of Agriculture works hand in hand with big business. Maybe I’m naive, but I would have thought that was a conflict of interest.

Anyway, here are two other tidbits which I found noteworthy:

  • The dairy industry weighs heavily on nutrition policies in the United States. The eleven-person panel that drew up the Dairy Guidelines for Americans 2000 — the blueprint for all federal nutrition programs — included six members with financial ties to the dairy, meat, and egg industries.
  • Government sponsored programs have managed to boost America’s annual cheese consumption from 15 pounds per person in 1975 to 30 pounds in 1999.

Source: Breaking the Food Seduction pages 57-60

Finally, Barnard discusses that cheese is even more problematic for people to give up than other dairy products… Dairy contains a protein, called casein, that breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates, called casomorphins. Cheese contains much more casein than is found in other dairy products. Barnard suggests this is what makes it more addictive.

If you didn’t read it before, we wrote a little more about the addictive nature of dairy back in May.  So to our friends who are considering going vegan, but can’t live without cheese… apparently there is a real, physical reason.  We certainly have had a tough time with this one!

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