American Cheese Is Not Even Cheese

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 06/04/2023

Uncovering American Cheese Health Risks: What to Know

When it comes to American cheese health risks, there is more than meets the eye. This popular food staple may be a convenient and tasty addition to your sandwiches, but lurking beneath its bright yellow surface are potential dangers that could negatively impact your health.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of pasteurized processed cheese food and examine the truth about American cheese. We'll discuss how it differs from real cheese and explore some of the concerning ingredients often found in these products.

Furthermore, we will investigate various health risks associated with consuming American cheese such as sodium phosphate's connection to kidney damage risk and tartrate's link to diarrhea. On a positive note, we'll also highlight the benefits of real cheeses for your body including their nutrient-rich profile and aid in digestion.

As we continue our journey through commercial dairy products' dark side, you'll learn about omega-6 fatty acids' role in inflammation and problems from sourcing feedlot cows.

Lastly, insulin index concerns with whey content will be addressed along with hidden additives like modified food starches that contribute to enhancing flavor while posing additional American cheese health risks.

The Truth About American Cheese

Is American cheese even real cheese or just a processed product posing as cheese?

Pasteurized Cheese Product vs. Real Cheese

Real cheese is made by fermenting milk with bacteria and enzymes, while American "cheese" undergoes additional processing steps resulting in a final product lacking essential nutrients.

Ingredients Found in American Cheese

  • Milk: Used in both real and processed cheeses, but processed cheese often contains skim milk lacking vital nutrients.

  • Salt: Enhances flavor but excessive amounts can lead to high blood pressure.

  • Fats & Oils: Added for texture but contribute to obesity risks when ingested excessively.

  • Additives & Preservatives: Many are mixed in, such as mold inhibitors, which can be detrimental to your health if consumed in large quantities over time.

American cheese is a far cry from the real thing and may pose potential health risks when consumed regularly.

For those looking to improve their overall diet quality while enjoying cheesy flavors occasionally, consider opting for healthier alternatives like organic or grass-fed cheeses without harmful additives or preservatives.

Health Risks Associated with American Cheese Consumption

Eating American cheese regularly can lead to potential health risks due to its artificial ingredients and additives, such as kidney damage or digestive issues.

Sodium Phosphate and Kidney Damage Risk

Sodium phosphate, a common additive in American cheese, can potentially lead to kidney damage if consumed regularly due to its high phosphorus content.

Tartrate and Its Link to Diarrhea

Excessive intake of potassium tartrate, an additive present in a lot of American cheese types, can result in abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Tip: Opt for natural cheeses made only from pure milk and bacterial cultures, such as cheddar, Gouda, or Swiss, to minimize exposure to harmful additives.

By choosing healthier alternatives and consuming all dairy products in moderation, you can still enjoy your favorite cheesy dishes without compromising your well-being.

The Real Deal: Cheese Benefits for Your Body

Processed "cheese" is a joke, but real cheese is no laughing matter when it comes to the benefits it offers your body.

Real cheese offers a variety of health benefits, including high-quality protein, essential nutrients, and healthy fats that can support weight management and reduce inflammation.

But that's not all - some aged cheeses also contain live bacteria cultures that promote gut health and aid digestion.

  • Gouda: This Dutch cheese is loaded with probiotics from Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus casei strains.

  • Roquefort: Made from sheep's milk, Roquefort contains Penicillium roqueforti mold that produces enzymes for better digestion and gut health.

  • Swiss: With its characteristic holes, Swiss cheese is another probiotic-rich option thanks to Propionibacterium freudenreichii during fermentation.

So go ahead and indulge in some real cheese - just remember to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Dangers Lurking in Commercial Dairy Products

Watch out for store-bought "American" slices, as they often contain unfermented dairy sourced from feedlot cows high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which can lead to inflammation-related diseases over time.

The Role of Omega 6 Fatty Acids in Inflammation

Omega 6 fatty acids are a key nutrient, however consuming too much of them can cause persistent inflammation which has been connected to numerous medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and autoimmune conditions.

Processed foods like American cheese often contain higher levels of omega-6s compared to healthier alternatives like real cheeses made from grass-fed cow's milk.

These fats can produce inflammatory compounds when metabolized by our body, so it's important to be mindful of your intake.

The Problems with Feedlot Cow Sourcing

Most commercial dairy products come from cows raised on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which often involve crowded living conditions and grain-based diets.

Omega-6 fatty acids are higher and omega-3s and CLA are lower in CAFO milk, leading to potential health risks.

Choosing dairy products made from grass-fed cows can help you avoid the health risks associated with consuming excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.

Insulin Index Concerns With Whey Content

Consuming excessive amounts of 'American' faux-cheeses with high whey content can lead to insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Understanding the Insulin Index

The insulin index ranks foods based on how much they stimulate insulin production, which can contribute to weight gain and chronic diseases.

The Connection Between Whey and Blood Sugar Spikes

Research shows that whey protein in dairy products like American cheese can significantly increase blood sugar levels due to its rapid absorption rate.

  • This absorption stimulates pancreatic beta-cells to produce and release more insulin during digestion.

  • Heightened insulin concentrations can exacerbate imbalances between glucose utilization and storage, increasing the risk of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Be mindful of dairy intake, opt for real cheese with lower whey content, and maintain a balanced diet to mitigate insulin-related health risks.

Hidden Additives in American Cheese

Did you know that American cheese is often loaded with unhealthy additives?

Modified food starch is added to enhance texture and mouthfeel, but it can cause digestive issues for some people.

Mold inhibitors like natamycin are used to prevent spoilage, but they have been linked to potential side effects like allergic reactions.

Soy or canola oil is added as a cheap source of fat, but they contain high levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

Synthetic vitamins may be added to increase nutritional value, but their bioavailability could be lower than that of natural nutrients.

It's important to read ingredient labels and choose minimally processed cheeses to avoid these hidden additives and potential health risks.


Forget American cheese, it's time to switch to natural cheeses for a healthier lifestyle - sodium phosphate and tartrate in American cheese can lead to kidney damage and diarrhea. Try Swiss cheese, or even explore other dairy products like cottage cheese or Keifer for a more healthy alternative.

Choosing natural cheeses not only offers a nutrient-rich profile but also aids digestion and reduces inflammation caused by omega-6 fatty acids found in commercial dairy products sourced from feedlot cows.

Be aware of hidden additives like modified food starch and mold inhibitors commonly found in American cheese - they can do more harm than good.

Make informed choices about what you eat to improve your nutrition, support healthy digestion, and avoid unnecessary health risks.

FAQs in Relation to American Cheese Health Risks

1. Is American cheese healthy or unhealthy?

American cheese is generally considered unhealthy due to its high sodium content, artificial additives, and low nutrient profile compared to real cheeses.

2. What are the negative health effects of cheese?

Negative health effects of consuming processed cheeses like American cheese include increased risk of kidney damage from sodium phosphate, digestive issues from tartrate additives, inflammation caused by omega-6 fatty acids in soy or canola oil, and blood sugar spikes related to whey content.

3. Is American cheese 100% real cheese?

No, American cheese is not 100% real cheese. It's a pasteurized processed product made with a combination of milk proteins and fats along with various additives such as emulsifiers and stabilizers.

4. What are the most unhealthy cheeses?

The most unhealthy cheeses tend to be highly processed varieties like American slices or sprayable canned products which contain excessive amounts of salt and artificial ingredients. Opt for natural options such as cheddar or mozzarella for better nutritional value.

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