When it comes to finishing a meal, the world is divided into two camps; those who opt for pudding and those who opt for the cheese board.
The latter will no doubt have rejoiced to learn that that all-you-can-eat cheese parties are now happening in the UK. Best news ever or what?
Though we’re completely sold on the idea of a cheese celebration, it did get us thinking what happens to our bodies when we overindulge.
While there are quite a few health benefits gleaned from cheese thanks to it being a good source of protein, calcium and phosphorus, there are also a few things to be aware of if cheese is your particular penchant.
As Melissa Kuman, the Delicious Nutritionist points out, as with anything, too much is never a good thing.
“Although a healthy part of any diet as cheese is high in nutrients such as iodine, phosphorus and calcium which is great for bones and teeth, cheese is energy dense and if consumed in excess can have a damaging effect on the body,” she explains.
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Kuman says the immediate side effects of consuming a lot of cheese can leave you feeling sluggish, at an increased risk of headaches and digestive problems from the sudden intake of high amounts of dairy.
According to Terry Fairclough, nutritional therapist and founder of Your Body Programme the fact that cheese is high in saturated fat and salt can mean it is a lot of the body to deal with at one time.
“Being high in fat, protein and salt will be difficult to digest possibly creating indigestion,” he explains.
But consuming lots of cheese on a regular basis can have more of a lasting impact with the increased saturated fat and salt in cheese leading to complications such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease or strokes
Fairclough explains that this is down to saturated fat blocking essential fatty acid absorption.
“Essential fats have many essential jobs,” he explains. “They are also anti inflammatory. So eating too much cheese may increase inflammation throughout the body. Making existing inflammatory conditions such as arthritis worse.”
And saturated fat will inevitably Increase cholesterol.
“If you are one of those people who is susceptible to the affects of cholesterol, eating cheese may increase your risk of heart disease and stokes,” he continues.
“Saturated fat also slows liver function, which will subsequently increasing toxicity. Which can damage tissue contributing to diseases such as cancer.”
Fairclough says some people are more prone to the affects of a high salt diet.
“Eating too much cheese with its high saturated fat and salt content can contribute to high blood pressure,” he adds.
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Know your cheese limits
But, wait, this doesn’t necessarily mean we have to swear a vow of cheese celebacy. According to Kuman it is all about knowing your camembert limits.
“Portion control, as with any food, is crucial in making sure your body isn’t over loaded with fat, salt or sugars it can’t adequately process,” she explains.
“We are recommended to have a piece of cheese about the size of two thumbs together (30g) as a portion. In a day we should aim for 2-3 portions of dairy a day.”