Lactose-intolerant people, nutritionists, skeptics, shield your eyes. People who can at least sort of digest cheese and deceptively convenient science, hello.
Time reported on Tuesday that a recent analysis published in the European Journal of Nutrition by researchers from China and the Netherlands suggests that people who eat just a little bit of cheese every day are less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who eat cheese infrequently or not at all. The study examined data collected from 15 previous studies in which participants were tracked for at least a decade.
According to Time, the researchers found that people who ate cheese regularly had a 14 percent lower risk of developing heart disease and were 10 percent less likely to have a stroke. Precisely how much cheese does this study suggest might confer some dubious health benefits? Just 40 grams per day, or one matchbook-sized chunk of cheese.
Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center told Time, “This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day.” Stewart added, “No one’s saying you should definitely go out an eat 40 grams of cheese a day. But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn’t sound unreasonable.”
I disagree. While I appreciate the researchers’ enthusiasm for finding a way to justify eating cheese on health grounds, I feel certain that eating a little bit of cheese is worse than eating no cheese at all, heart disease prevention aside, because the longing one would feel for more cheese in the immediate aftermath would be nearly unbearable. Who among us could eat a thimble of cheese and call it a day? When I buy a piece of cheese, I intend to eat all of it in one sitting, there is no other thought in my head.
I’m also not going to rule out the possibility that it is Time’s personal crusade to legitimize cheese as a health food, and, failing that, to sell it to their readers at all costs. Only 11 months ago Time published an article headlined “The Case for Eating Cheese Is Stronger Than Ever” and the case was not “every time I decide to eat something other than cheese I desire it that much more.” Time also once highlighted a grilled-cheese infused vodka. Here’s some cheese with gold in it. Here’s some cheese made of human skin but the accompanying photo hasn’t changed. Make sure to buy some cheese before it’s all stolen!