Cheese selection on market stand in Basel, Switzerland.
In general, cheese supplies a great deal of calcium, protein, and phosphorus. A 30 gram (one ounce) serving of cheddar cheese contains about seven grams of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium. Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 200 grams (seven ounces) of milk to provide that much protein, and 150 grams to equal the calcium.[15]
Cheese shares milk's nutritional disadvantages as well. The Center for Science in the Public Interest describes cheese as America's number one source of saturated fat, adding that the average American ate 30 pounds (13.6 kg) of cheese in the year 2000, up from 11 pounds (5 kg) in 1970.[16] Their recommendation is to limit full-fat cheese consumption to two ounces (60 grams) a week. Whether cheese's highly saturated fat actually leads to an increased risk of heart disease is called into question when considering France and Greece, which lead the world in cheese eating (more than 14 ounces (400 grams) a week per person, or over 45 pounds (20 kg) a year) yet have relatively low rates of heart disease.[17] This seeming discrepancy is called the French Paradox; the higher rates of consumption of red wine in these countries is often invoked as at least a partial explanation.
A number of food safety agencies around the world have warned of the risks of raw-milk cheeses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that soft raw-milk cheeses can cause "serious infectious diseases including listeriosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis and tuberculosis".[18] It is U.S. law since 1944 that all raw-milk cheeses (including imports since 1951) must be aged at least 60 days. Australia has a wide ban on raw-milk cheeses as well, though in recent years exceptions have been made for Swiss Gruyère, Emmental and Sbrinz, and for French Roquefort.[19] Some say these worries are overblown, pointing out that pasteurization of the milk used to make cheese does not ensure its safety in any case.[20] This is supported by statistics showing that in Europe (where young raw-milk cheeses are still legal in some countries), most cheese-related food poisoning incidents were traced to pasteurized cheeses. Pregnant women may face an additional risk from cheese; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has warned pregnant women against eating soft-ripened cheeses and blue-veined cheeses, due to the listeria risk to the unborn baby.[21]
Some studies claim to show that cheeses including Cheddar, Mozzarella, Swiss and American can help to prevent tooth decay.[22] Several mechanisms for this protection have been proposed:

  1. The calcium, protein, and phosphorus in cheese may act to protect tooth enamel.
  2. Cheese increases saliva flow, washing away acids and sugars.
  3. Cheese may have an antibacterial effect in the mouth.

Cheese is often avoided by those who are lactose intolerant, but ripened cheeses like Cheddar contain only about 5% of the lactose found in whole milk, and aged cheeses contain almost none.[23] Some people suffer reactions to amines found in cheese, particularly histamine and tyramine. Some aged cheeses contain significant concentrations of these amines, which can trigger symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction: headaches, rashes, and blood pressure elevations.
It should also perhaps be noted that under certain scientifically controlled dietery studies, people whose diets which particularly consisted of the high intake of dairy foods had shown that obesity had prevailed at a higher rate than of those persons whose diets consisted of only vegetable based fats.

 
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