Easy Cheese, that convenient aerosol cheese product found on grocery store shelves, has been a guilty pleasure for many. It’s the quick fix for adding a cheesy kick to crackers, pretzels, or even a midnight snack. But the burning question remains:
Is Easy Cheese really bad for you?
Let’s break it down and inspect the nutritional facts, ingredients, and the effect of these ingredients on your health.
- Easy Cheese is overall unhealthy, despite being protein rich. So, you should not have more than 1 serving a day; excessive consumption poses health risks.
- Its processed nature, high sodium, and processed by-products may lead to inflammation, nutrient displacement, and obesity.
- Digestive issues, acne, appetite loss, and kidney stone risk are concerns associated with high intake.
What’s in Easy Cheese and How Good is It?
Easy Cheese is no more easy when it comes to its formulation. Unlike your regular cheese, a dozen ingredients are used to make it. More surprisingly, most of the key ingredients are themselves byproducts of some processing.
Here is a comprehensive list of Easy Cheese ingredients to introduce you to your irresistible spread thoroughly.
- Water: Forms the base for other ingredients.
- Whey: A liquid from cheese production adds cheese flavor and texture, besides acting as a rich source of protein
- Cheddar Cheese: The primary cheese source, gives the flavor and richness.
- Canola Oil: Plant-based, adds creaminess, considered safe for health, but can be bad if overly processed.
- Whey Protein Concentrate is processed whey protein; it adds protein and texture to your cheese. But it can cause digestive issues as it has been shown to help with certain cancers, like prostate cancer.
- Milk Protein Concentrate: Processed milk protein adds protein and texture. Besides this, a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science indicates that fermented milk supplemented with whey protein concentrate may have positive effects on cholesterol levels, triglycerides, atherogenic index, and blood pressure, highlighting its potential therapeutic benefits.
- Milk Solids: Enhances cheese flavor and texture. The milk solids are a rich source of protein and calcium.
- Sodium Citrate: Regulates acidity, stabilizes, and prevents separation. Yet, it can lead to water retention and electrolyte imbalance if consumed overly.
- Sodium Phosphate: Regulates acidity, yet similar to sodium citrate, may cause potential health concerns if taken excessively.
- Calcium Phosphate: Considered health-safe, buffers and stabilizes. However, excessive intake may cause kidney stones or interrupt iron absorption.
- Lactic Acid: Natural acid from fermentation adds tanginess and acts as a preservative. Yet, it can cause allergies to sensitive people.
- Sodium Alginate: Health-safe, thickening agent, stabilizer, contributes to smooth texture.
- Sorbic Acid: Health-safe, a preservative
- Annatto Extract, Apocarotenal: Health-safe natural colorings
- Enzymes: Aid in cheese-making
- Salt: Enhances flavor and acts as a preservative.
13 Reasons to Make Easy Cheese Less Healthy
Easy Cheese, despite its quick cheesy appeal, comes with potential health drawbacks.
Here are 13 reasons that excessive consumption may not be the best choice for your well-being:
1. High Sodium Levels
One serving of Easy Cheese packs about 19% of your recommended daily sodium intake, a potential culprit for high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
2. Processed Ingredients
Loaded with sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, and sodium citrate, Easy Cheese’s heavily processed nature might contribute to body inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to serious health issues, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
3. Processed By-Products are Associated with Chronic Inflammation.
The processing of whey and milk protein concentrates can cause the formation of byproducts like advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and nitrosamines. These byproducts lead to various health issues, including chronic inflammation, accelerated aging, and an increased risk of cancer.
4. May Cause Nutrient Displacement
Excessive reliance on whey and milk protein concentrates as protein sources may displace other nutrient-rich foods from the diet, potentially leading to deficiencies in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
5. Risk of Obesity
Canola oil in Easy Cheese provides unsaturated fats, which is considered healthier. However, too much fat, even the healthier kind, can contribute to weight gain and up the risk of obesity-related health problems.
6. May Cause Digestive Problems
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) in Easy Cheese may cause digestive problems, especially in individuals with lactose intolerance or sensitivities to dairy products. Symptoms may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
7. May Cause Acne Break Out
Some studies have suggested that WPC (whey protein concentrate used in Easy Cheese) may contribute to acne breakouts, particularly in individuals with a predisposition to acne.
8. May Cause Loss of Appetite and Dehydration
Overindulgence in Easy Cheese can lead to dehydration and loss of appetite. The reason is the presence of WPC (whey protein concentrate) in it. It may temporarily suppress appetite due to its high protein content, which can be beneficial for weight management goals.
Likewise, WPC can act as a diuretic, increasing urine production and potentially leading to dehydration if fluid intake is insufficient.
9. Risk of Kidney Stone Formulation
Easy Cheese, as processed food, may increase the risk of kidney stones due to its high sodium content (19% of RDI), concentrated whey protein, and the presence of calcium phosphate, contributing to increased urinary calcium levels and plasma urea levels.
10. May Cause Allergic Reactions
Individuals with milk allergies or sensitivities may experience allergic reactions to whey and milk protein concentrates, lactose, and sodium citrate, with symptoms ranging from mild skin rashes to more severe anaphylactic reactions.
11. Low Nutritional Value
Essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber are lacking in Easy Cheese. It’s more about calories, sodium, and fat, offering minimal nutritional value.
12. Risk of Overconsumption
The easy-to-use aerosol format can tempt overeating, resulting in excessive calorie, sodium, and unhealthy fat intake. This further heightens potential health risks.
13. Unhealthy Snacking Habits
Regular reliance on Easy Cheese for snacks may foster unhealthy habits, steering away from nutritious choices like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
So, Should You Stop Enjoying Easy Cheese?
Easy Cheese is not completely forbidden, be mindful of your health as it is processed.
Here are a few tips to let you snack on Easy Cheese occasionally.
1. Be Mindful of Portions
Control your serving size. A little Easy Cheese can go a long way in adding flavor without overloading on calories and sodium.
2. Pair with Whole Foods
Enjoy Easy Cheese with whole foods like veggies, whole-grain crackers, or fruit slices. This adds nutritional value and helps control overall calorie intake.
3. Mix it Up
Combine Easy Cheese with herbs, spices, or salsa for added flavor. This can enhance the taste and go a long way.
4. Limit Frequency
Reserve Easy Cheese for occasional treats instead of making it a daily habit. This helps in preventing overconsumption and encourages a more balanced diet.
5. Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, avoiding mindless snacking.
How Much Easy Cheese is Too Much?
Moderation is key.
A typical serving size of cheesy kick with 90 calories, 6 grams of fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, and 430 mg of sodium is enough for you. Avoid going overboard, especially since social media influencers might challenge others to eat it in bulk. Eating it excessively can lead to an intake of too much sodium and unhealthy fats, impacting your health. Stick to sensible portions for a tasty treat without overindulging.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical or dietary advice. Please consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding your personal dietary needs and health concerns.
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