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Hooked on Cheese: String Cheese and School Days

Hooked on Cheese: String Cheese and School Days

This is the fourth Hooked on Cheese column in our multi-part series focusing on “grocery store cheeses.” Great cheese doesn’t have to be pricey and difficult to obtain; there are many excellent options that can be found at your average grocery store. Raymond will be featuring cheeses that are readily accessible no matter where you are or what your budget.

This is the time of year we all start seeing throngs of children running together in packs or jumping onto buses on their way to school. The back-to-school days of early September never fail to remind me why fall is such a great season: it feels like a fresh start full of new beginnings and excitement, especially for young'uns.

This was never more apparent to me than earlier this week when I stopped by my friend’s home one morning as she was packing lunches for her four kids. They were running around like crazy, thrilled to start the new school year. As I chatted with their mother, I noted how she packed their lunches. Each child received fruit of some sort — an apple for the eldest, a pear for another. She put lunchmeat in as well, rolled into tubes — turkey for two and ham for two. She added healthy chips to each box (three different varieties) and lastly added a single portion of string cheese to each. I remarked that it was the only common ingredient in all the lunches, and she said the kids all love the stuff; it never came back uneaten after school. Being a cheese guy myself, I naturally complimented her on raising them right.

But what is it about string cheese that has universal kid appeal? I mean, children in that wide of an age range (4 to 12 years old) hardly ever agree on anything. On my way home, I ran into the grocery store to pick some up to sample for myself. I found a store brand, a national brand and even an organic option. I opened them and started eating; they were all satisfying enough but certainly not unique, and I thought, “So why on earth do kids adore them?”

I quickly phoned my friend and asked her to clarify her children’s string cheese obsession. After calling me a doofus — incidentally, not the first time she’s done that — she said I wasn’t eating them correctly. She told me kids love separating them into strings and eating the strands one at a time…hence the name. I momentarily felt like a fool and then realized: string cheese falls into the category of pasta filata (“pulled curd”) cheeses, mozzarella and provolone being the most recognized versions. It is a very young pasta filata cheese, with a lower moisture content than mozzarella; while it comes packaged as a solid chunk, it can easily be pulled apart string by string. Eureka!

So I opened my last sample and ate it as a kid would, and lo and behold, it did taste better; eating it was even fun. I immediately realized why children would like this cheese. It’s not salty, not sharp, it tastes lightly sweet and, most importantly, you get to play with it! In the back-to-school days of my youth we didn’t have string cheese, but I’m happy to say that today it made me feel like a big kid.

You can follow Raymond's cheese adventures on Facebook, Twitter and his website. Additional reporting by Madeleine James.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'

Americans love their cheese. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.

Cheese is addictive, according to author Dr. Neal Barnard, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates (Photo: baibaz, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can you break your cheese habit? A new book, called The Cheese Trap, makes the case for skipping dairy products altogether.

Cheese is "both fattening and addictive," said author Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cheese is addictive, Barnard said, because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.

Cheesemakers vie for a slice of Wisconsin's championship pie

Cheddar cheese, Barnard said, has the most concentrated amount of cheese protein in the grocery store and it can pack more calories than Coca-Cola and more salt than potato chips.

At 149 calories, one cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. One cup of melted cheddar? You're looking at 986 calories.

Think a typical 2-ounce snack of potato chips ranks high in salt at 350 milligrams? Two ounces of Velveeta knocks potato chips aside as a sodium villain, containing more than 800 milligrams of sodium, said Barnard, a noted vegan and animal rights activist.

"The Cheese Trap," a new book, describes how consumption of this calorie-dense food has tracked alongside the growing obesity crisis and explores links between chronic disease and dairy consumption. (Photo: Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

"Cheese," Barnard said "is not just tasty. It actually contains concentrated opiates, along with salt and grease, that tend to keep us hooked."

Cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans overall consumed 11 pounds of cheese per capita in 1970, a figure which has more than tripled to 35 pounds per person in 2015. Our cheese of choice? Mozzarella, topping out at 11 pounds per person, followed closely by cheddar at 10 pounds per person last year.

If you've been hearing more about how dairy products can harm your health, The Cheese Trap rounds up a growing chorus of anti-dairy perspectives, evidence and experiences.

And if you just want to drop some pounds, Barnard argues that skipping meat, cheese and dairy might be a way to accomplish that goal.

Research conducted by PCRM shows that animal fats tend to slow the metabolism down, which could mean increased dairy consumption is linked to weight gain trends across the nation.

Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who kept their ice cream and cheese consumption going. Amid a rising obesity epidemic, that's enough evidence, he said, to avoid the "chubby cheddar."

"We have done similar studies with hundreds of men and women and have found powerful weight loss in every study," Barnard wrote.

At the helm of PCRM — a nonprofit that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., that relies on plant-based medicine as a first step to combat chronic disease — Barnard has also authored texts like the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods For The Brain, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Whole Foods market is the place to find a full line of Kite Hill vegan cheeses, made from cultured almond milk (Photo: Whole Foods)

The Cheese Trap is a contribution to the growing conversation and evidence that links food and health. As part of that evolution, Barnard details how his staff has taken federal nutrition experts to task. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are recommendations compiled every five years, conclusions based on expert testimony and study that become blueprints for the school lunch program, dietitians and ordinary Americans who try to pay attention to what they eat.

Barnard details in the book how PCRM staff have lobbied in court to limit contributions to federal nutrition experts by industry groups like the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, Nestle and Dannon. PCRM also battled the government to crack down on false claims in advertising by the dairy industry.

For readers intrigued by Barnard's anti-dairy pitch, more than 65 recipes come inside The Cheese Trap. For identifying food problems linked to migraines, chronic pain, inflammation and other maladies the author talks about, an appendix discusses the concept of an elimination diet.


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