These two new ads, which appear on billboards in Albany, New York, are attempting to teach people that eating cheese is hazardous to your health and will make you fat. Luckily, the campaign, which is sponsored by a nonprofit group called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), fails pretty miserably. The first and most obvious problem is that these ads look crappy and play on the weak and tired premise that fat people are disgusting. But even if they were the most effectively designed ads in the history of time, it wouldn't matter. There aren't enough persuasive health arguments or scare tactics in the world to turn us against cheese! (Well, there is lactose intolerance, but until they figure out how to spread that via ads, most of us are safe.)
So what exactly does PCRM have against the magical dairy product known as cheese? Their president, Dr. Neal Barnard, explains:
Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat. And the type of fat they hold is mainly saturated fat—the kind that increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Cheese is also loaded with cholesterol and sodium. Americans eat more than 33 pounds of cheese per person per year—three times more than they did in 1970—and our country is more obese than ever.
La la la la. Sorry I can't hear yooouuu. Sadly, the PCRM's anti-cheese crusade doesn't end with these billboards. They've also written a letter to the Albany school board asking them to cut down on the amount of dairy products served in schools to help minimize the kids' risk for childhood obesity.
At least there is one voice of reason in all of this. Tom MacGregor, who manages a specialty foods department at the Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany, told the Times Union he thinks the campaign is "insane." He says, "I think there are much bigger things to worry about than people eating cheese." Amen, brother. As far as I'm concerned, I'll give up my gouda when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.