HealthOverdoing the cheddar? Unpacking the side effects of excessive cheese consumption

Overdoing the cheddar? Unpacking the side effects of excessive cheese consumption

Be careful with cheese. Excessive consumption can seriously harm you.
Be careful with cheese. Excessive consumption can seriously harm you.
Images source: © Licensor

11:57 AM EST, January 15, 2024

The negative changes from consuming too much cheese are mainly due to its high fat content and possible inflammatory responses to saturated fats.

Constipation

Cheese, due to its high fat and low fiber content, can slow digestion and impede the passage of stools in the intestines when consumed excessively. This can cause infrequent bowel movements and difficulties in waste elimination.

Short-term consumption of large amounts of cheese can cause immediate discomfort and bloating. Conversely, long-term overconsumption may lead to chronic constipation.

Short-term, eating large amounts of cheese can cause immediate discomfort and bloating. Meanwhile, long-term excessive consumption can lead to chronic constipation, warns dietitian Mary Sabat in "Eat This, Not That!".

Inflammation

Consuming casein, a protein found in milk and cheese, may lead to various side effects.

Casein can trigger an immune response in some people, contributing to inflammation in the body. This inflammatory response might manifest as digestive problems, skin issues, breathing discomfort, and even joint pain, warns the expert.

Heartburn

Cheese, a rich source of fat, can cause heartburn in susceptible individuals. The high fat content can relax the muscles that normally prevent stomach acid from refluxing into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest and throat.

Chronic heartburn can damage the esophagus lining, leading to more serious conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, says M. Sabat.

Eczema

Hormones present in milk and dairy products can stimulate sebum production, thereby contributing to pore clogging.

Cheese, rich in saturated fats, can promote inflammation in the body, potentially worsening existing skin diseases, says Mary Sabat.

Listeria infection risk

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause flu-like symptoms and serious complications, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Consuming soft cheeses like brie, camembert, and blue cheese increases the risk of listeria infection. This risk is particularly high if these cheeses are consumed excessively or stored improperly.

Cancer risk

Excessive consumption of cheese, especially high-fat varieties, may increase the risk of certain cancers.

Cheese contains saturated fats, associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Moreover, some studies suggest a correlation between dairy product consumption, including cheese, and increased risks of prostate and breast cancer, explains the expert.

Dehydration and water retention

Cheese's high sodium content could potentially lead to dehydration. While an occasional slice won't harm, a cheesy casserole, especially when eaten during summer, might contribute to dehydration and other related consequences.

The sodium in cheese can also cause water retention in the body.

Heart disease

Excessive cheese consumption increases the risk of heart diseases, as high sodium levels raise blood pressure and saturated fats increase bad cholesterol levels.

Weight gain

When incorporated into a daily diet, cheese quickly raises overall fat and calorie intake. Its high caloric density means it provides the most calories per gram, making it easy to gain weight rapidly when consuming cheese regularly.

While these dangers suggest moderation, it's worth noting that recent studies show cheese consumption can reduce depression risk by up to 11%. The key is balance.

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