Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Cheese Gifts: Is That A Good Idea?
Cheese gift baskets range in price from $15 to $30 a box or higher and can be found in a variety of places from department stores to online mail order outlets. But how healthy is cheese?
About half a million Americans die every year prematurely from heart disease related to a diet high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyle. One of the biggest food culprits guilty of about 6 grams of saturated fat in one ounce is cheese.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women,” said Dr. William E. Connor, professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the Oregon Health Sciences University. “Anything Americans can do to reduce their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, such as cutting back on cheese, would lessen the risk of heart disease.”
Although it's true that cheese is a good source of calcium and other nutrients, many times these can be obtained in other foods with less fat issues. Broccoli, for example is rich in calcium and the B vitamins found in cheese can easily be found in whole grains.
Magnesium is another less common nutrient found in cheese, but it can also be found in fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones. It has been argued that the saturated fat in cheese is naturally ocurring, so is less dangerous than artificial fats. Less dangerous is not always as comforting as it is supposed to sound.
So, if you happen to be a cheese lover, cutting back a little might do your heart some good. At least, choose low-fat cheeses or limit yourself to 2 ounces of cheese per week. And, keep in mind that giving a gift of fatty cheeses to someone who has heart disease might not be the best gift to give if you want them to be around to enjoy it.