“Some foods are fattening. Others are addictive. Cheese is both…Loaded with calories, high in sodium, packing more cholesterol than steak, and sprinkled with hormones — if cheese were any worse, it would be Vaseline.”
Neal Barnard, M.D.
Last week we discussed the how behind ditching dairy. This week we discuss the why.
Right now the average American eats more than 33 pounds of cheese a year. Packed with calories, loaded with saturated fat and teeming in highly addictive casomorphins, it’s a habit that’s intimately linked to obesity and a litany of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and type-2 diabetes. It’s a habit that wrecks significant havoc on the environment, polluting our skies and poisoning our water table. And it’s a habit that perpetuates unspeakable cruelty on the sentient animals it relies upon to serve its unabating appetite.
Nonetheless, the U.S. continues to produce more cheese and dairy products than any other country in the world. Relentless, well-funded dairy industry lobbying efforts have entrenched government subsidies that not only incentivize production but even quietly fund corporate product development and marketing efforts, such as Pizza Hut’s infamous grilled cheese stuffed crust pizza, McDonald’s McCafé products and even Starbucks smoothies — all products specifically produced, developed and marketed to increase consumer dairy consumption courtesy of the federal funded and USDA regulated dairy checkoff program.
It’s time to stop the insanity.
So let’s talk about it. I can think of no better steward to facilitate a conversation on this subject than my good friend Neal Barnard, M.D.
A pre-eminent authority on diet and nutrition and its impact on illnesses such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, Neal is the founder & president of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), where he leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research, and the Barnard Medical Center, a ground-breaking non-profit primary care medical practice where board-certified physicians, nurse practitioners, and registered dietitians help patients prevent and reverse serious health problems, leveraging a holistic approach that involves tackling the actual causes of illness, with extra attention on nutrition.
Neal is also an adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University and has authored over 70 scientific publications as well as 18 books, including the New York Times best-sellers Power Foods for the Brain*, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart*, the USA Today best-seller Dr. Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes* and the subject of today’s conversation, The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy*.
This is a great conversation about all of the aforementioned issues. It’s about how government policy, corporate interests, and regulatory oversight fuel unhealthy consumer food choices. It’s an education on the surprisingly addictive nature of cheese. And it’s a master class on the negative human and planetary health implications of our love affair with dairy and why you need to finally kick the habit.
One of my most eye-opening podcasts to date, I urge all of you to listen intently. Take notes if you have to. Listen (or re-listen) to our first conversation (RRP 242). Implement Dr. Barnard’s prodigious wisdom into your daily nutrition regimen. Then take notice as your health begins to flourish, your consciousness expands and your life changes for the better.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
P.S. – Please stick around to the very end of the episode for a special treat. The show concludes with a musical performance of Louder Than Words by none other than Neal himself and his band Carbonworks – a song that is currently charting at #17 (between Train and Taylor Swift!) on the U.S. radio Top 40 list. Then check out their music video for the song.
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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Background, Context & Reference
- Connect with Neal: Facebook | Twitter | CarbonWorks
- PCRM: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
- The Power of Food for Health: Food For Life
- Documentary: What The Health
- Documentary: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
- Forks Over Knives: Congratulations! Vegan Lunches for Country’s Second-Largest Public School District by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC
- NPR: Doctor’s Book Presents The Case Against ‘Dairy Crack’
- Mother Jones: How the US Government Helps McDonald’s Sell Junk Food
- Washington Post: How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza
- Eat Drink Politics: Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods
- Food Politics: What Do Checkoff Programs Do? by Marion Nestle
- Civil Eats: Organic Checkoff: Is it What’s for Dinner?
- In Defense of Animals: What on Earth Is a Checkoff Program and How Does It Affect Animals? by Nadia Schilling
- YouTube: CarbonWorks – Louder than Words (Official Music Video)
- YouTube: Vegan Meals Coming to LAUSD
- YouTube: Tackling diabetes with a bold new dietary approach: Neal Barnard at TEDxFremont
- The Guardian: Eating cheese does not raise risk of heart attack or stroke, study finds by Denis Campbell (Controversial article that Rich references throughout interview)
- NCBI: Dairy food intake in relation to semen quality and reproductive hormone levels among physically active young men by Dept of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
- BreastCancer.org: Study Suggests Full-Fat Dairy Products May Be Linked to Worse Survival
- One Green Planet: 10 Great Reasons to Ditch Dairy by Julieanna Hever (podcast guest)
- Popsugar: Giving Up Dairy Changed My Body in So Many Surprising Ways by Jenny Sugar
- USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Progress: ChooseMyPlate
- CBSNews: Bye-bye, pyramid – hello, plate: Timeline of food guidelines
- HuffPost: New BMJ Study May Fuel Confusion Over ‘Bad’ Fats by Dr. Neal Barnard
- ScienceDaily: Exercise More Critical Than Calcium For Adolescent Bones
- ScienceDaily: High animal protein intake associated with higher, plant protein with lower mortality rate
Notable Books by Dr. Neal Barnard
- Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes*
- 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health*
- Power Foods for the Brain*
- Foods That Cause You to Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect*
- Foods That Fight Pain: Revolutionary New Strategies for Maximum Pain Relief*
- Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings—And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally*
- Turn Off the Fat Genes: The Revolutionary Guide to Losing Weight*
- Food for Life: How the New Four Food Groups Can Save Your Life*
- The Power of Your Plate: A Plan for Better Living Eating Well for Better Health*
- A Physician’s Slimming Guide: For Permanent Weight Control*
Notable People Discussed
- Julie Piatt: Author of This Cheese Is Nuts! Delicious Vegan Cheese At Home* (podcast guest)
- Moby: Musician, DJ, Author, Vegan, Animal Rights and Political activist (podcast guest)
- Dr. Garth Davis: Plant-based bariatric surgeon & author of Proteinaholic* (podcast guest)
- Katherine Lawrence: Food For Life instructor with the PCRM
- Chad Sarno: Plant-based Chef, Culinary Educator and VP Plant-Based Wellness at Rouxbe
- Dreena Burton: Vegan blogger and Plant-powered author of 5 cookbooks
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP: #242: Neal Barnard M.D. On The Power Of Nutrition To Prevent & Reverse Disease
- RRP #296: Ditching Dairy: The Doyenne Of Vegan Cuisine On Food As A Portal For Transformation
- RRP# 278: “What The Health” – How Corporate Collusion Is Making Us Sick & Costing Us Trillions“
- RRP #150: Garth Davis, MD On Our Misplaced Obsession With Protein
- RRP #128: Cardiologist Joel Kahn, MD: Is Butter Really Back?
- RRP #226: Moby On Transforming Electronic Music Elevating Consciousness & Saving The Planet
- RRP #240: Dr. Melanie Joy On Going Beyond Carnism: Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs And Wear Cows
- RRP #077: Leveraging Plant-Based Nutrition To Treat, Prevent & Reverse Disease With Dr. Michael Klaper
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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