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Posts tagged ‘cheese’

‘Unnecessary’ high salt levels in cheese, health group warns


Roquefort was found to be the saltiest cheese
By Anna-Marie Lever Health reporter, BBC News

Large amounts of unnecessary salt are being added to cheese, the health pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), has warned.

The group analysed 722 cheese portions of 30g each and found many contained more salt than a bag of crisps.

The saltiest type was roquefort at 1.06g per 30g. But within varieties salt content varied – suggesting it is possible to reduce levels.

The Dairy Council said cheese provided a wide range of nutrients.

Too much salt is known to raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The survey looked at over 30 different cheese varieties from seven supermarkets over four months up to November 2012, assessing salt content in a standard 30g portion size.

The saltiest cheese varieties were the blue cheese Roquefort, with 1.06g of salt in a 30g portion, feta and halloumi.

The cheese varieties with the lowest salt levels were mozzarella, emmental and wensleydale.

Within cheese varieties there was also a large variation in salt content between products.

How salty?

  • Recommended daily maximum: 6g
  • Roquefort, 30g portion: 1.06g salt
  • Bacon rasher: 0.9g
  • Halloumi, 30g: 0.81g
  • Seawater, 30g: 0.75g
  • Cheddar, 30g: 0.52g
  • Packet of crisps: 0.5g
  • Mozzarella, 30g: 0.30g

The survey found that for gorgonzola, one cheese product was nearly six times saltier than the least salty, and large differences were also seen in wensleydale and cheddar.

Cash said salt intake should be less than 6g a day – about a teaspoon – and urged consumers to choose either a lower salt version or eat less cheese.

Cash chairman Prof Graham MacGregor said: “Even small reductions will have large health benefits. For every one gram reduction in population salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, stroke and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal.

“The Department of Health must now stop its delaying tactics and set new much lower targets for cheese manufacturers, and make sure they achieve them. The cheese industry must comply if we are to save the maximum number of lives”

Benefits of cheese

But others warned the conclusions Cash has drawn from its research paint an incomplete picture.

Dr Judith Bryans, director of the Dairy Council, a non-profit-making organisation, said: “The Cash survey is mixing up the effect of cheese on health with the effect of salt on health.

“Cheese provides a wide range of nutrients including protein, vitamins and important minerals such as calcium.

“Salt is an integral part of the cheese-making process. It is not added for taste or flavour but for safety and technical reasons.

“Cheese manufacturers have worked very hard to reduce salt levels in their products and worked constructively and positively with government agencies to do this whilst producing products which are nutritious, safe and acceptable to the consumer.”

Around 700,000 tonnes of cheese are consumed by UK households a year, and cheese is the third biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet after bacon and bread.

The Department of Health said it was tackling salt levels in food.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “Soon we will have a single front-of-pack labelling scheme which will make it easier for people to compare products, and choose the healthier options available.

“Through the Responsibility Deal, we are in discussions with industry about how they can further reduce the salt levels in their food.”


Surprising Advice for Diabetes Prevention: Eat Cheese

Cheese lovers could be 12 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, research finds. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can eat cheese with abandon.

By Annie Hauser, Senior Editor

WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2012 — People with an elevated diabetes risk are often told to avoid high-fat foods, such as cheese, but a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a diet rich in cheese might actually prevent the disease from developing.

The reason? Cheese’s particular brand of fat and fermentation process, researchers in the Netherlands concluded. A study of more than 300,000 people across eight European countries indicated that total dairy consumption was not associated with diabetes risk. But cheese and other fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and thick, fermented milk were inversely associated with type 2 diabetes.

Out of all the dairy products, cheese was found to lower risk the most. Researchers say that though results are promising, more research needs to be done to determine a link between fermented dairy and diabetes risk.

Fat and Your Diabetes-Prevention Diet

Because numerous studies have found high-fat diets to be associated with diabetes risk and inflammation in the body, which is linked to a host of other chronic diseases, this research does not give you a free pass to go cheese-crazy.

“Diabetes puts people at increased risk for heart disease, which is why it’s important to watch your fat intake,” says Dara Gurau, RD at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto. “Cheese and dairy products are higher in saturated fat, so it’s best to choose lower fat varieties of these foods such as skim milk, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and hard cheeses with less than 16 percent milk fat.”

To cut your diabetes risk, Gurau also suggests avoiding the trans fats found in margarine, fried foods, and any foods that list hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. For healthy fat sources, add more olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives to your diet, Gurau suggests. She also recommends adding two to three servings of fatty fish, such as mackerol or salmon, to your diet per week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in such fish are essential for skin, heart, and brain health, and may also lessen diabetes risk.


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