Friday, February 3

Blame cheese?

I was flipping through the news this morning, and came across this article from NPR: "Billboards Slather On The Guilt With Anti-Cheese Campaign."
Apparently the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine has posted two billboards in Albany warning residents that cheese makes them fat.

This really steams my buns.

Yes, we do have an obesity epidemic in the United States. But to demonize a single food is misleading at best and is potentially dangerous. By pinning the blame on cheese (and ignoring, for example, ice cream, donuts, potato chips, candy bars, etc...) PCRM is giving the impression that cutting out cheese alone will make people slim.

Fat chance.

The PCRM billboards completely ignore one of the major contributing factors in the rise in obesity: our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. We no longer work in factories or on farms. We work at desks. We no longer walk to the grocery store. We drive.

And perhaps more importantly, there are no documented studies that link cheese consumption to obesity. The France counter-factual proves that no causal link could be drawn between cheese consumption and body fat. The French public consumes more cheese, per capita, than any other nation on earth (more than 50 lbs/person, on average each year, compared with about 30 in the U.S.) yet France has a very low obesity rate - about 10 percent, compared to 30 percent in the U.S.

Cheese alone is clearly not to blame.

In fact, 100 years ago, Americans were encouraged to eat less meat and more cheese. During World War I cheese was a convenient way to get important nutrients, like protein, at a time when meat was in short supply.
Source: U.S. National Archives
Now... Clearly meat is no longer in short supply. I would not try to make the case that cheese is a "health food" but I also would not blame it for single-handedly causing obesity.

My point here is that the PCRM ads are political, not science.

There are studies that prove an active lifestyle and sensible, balanced eating habits do reduce incidence of obesity. PCRM chooses to ignore these facts. Instead they are trying to scare people into believing that cheese is the root of all obesity evil.

This sort of bad "science" just makes me mad.

I'll bet the "doctor" behind these ads is lactose intolerant.

What do you think?


  1. I think I want some cheese now.

    I completely agree with everything you're saying. When it comes down it, it's the people that are the problem, not the cheese.

  2. Oh my goodness - so ridiculous. All you said is so right on - it reaks of politics, and not something based on fact.

    I think I'll go have a cheese sandwich now and then see what my abs and thighs look like "on cheese"...I think they will be fine since I EXERCISE!!!

  3. He's probably either lactose intolerant or else has some share in a competing product. Mental. (and I'm embarrassed for Albany. Sheesh...)

  4. hand over the cheese....of all things to blame. what about the processed foods out there? cheese is fine in moderation. we need fat. we need protein. cheese is an effective food for these. what we dont need are processed foods!

  5. Yes, I heard about this on NPR. The main physician leading the charge is vegan so clearing is just pushing a personal agenda. Really not big into this advocacy myself - more about giving people the facts and letting them make choices.
    I wonder where sugar falls in their world? How far do you think this movement will go to regulate sugar like a toxic substance?


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