Cheese is considered as a healthy and nutritious food around the world and in India as well. We all love cheese and use it generously in as many food dishes as possible. However processed cheese cannot be considered to be real cheese as it is highly processed and contains many added chemicals and preservatives.
Let us take a look at the ingredients in the most commonly consumed cheese in India, according to the Amul website, Amul Pasteurised Processed Cheddar Cheese is made from Cheese, Sodium Citrate, Common Salt, Citric Acid, permitted natural colour – Annatto. Emulsifier and Class II preservatives. It is made from graded cow/buffalo milk using microbial rennet.
Natural cheese does not contain preservatives and the artificial class II preservatives used in processed Cheese are potentially harmful when consumed frequently.
Sodium citrate is a form of salt that works as an emulsifier, an artificial ingredient used in making processed cheese. Sodium citrate reduces the cheese’s acidity, thereby turning any firm cheese block into a creamy smooth liquid. Sodium citrate may cause serious side effects like diarrhea and dehydration. Lesser known reactions can be difficulty in breathing, rashes, itching, swelling.
Citric Acid or IN 330 , is an important ingredient in processed cheese as it is much better at getting milk to separate than straight lemon juice. However it is known to cause a stomach upset and diarrhoea and one has to exercise caution while consuming it.
Annatto IN 160b, is a colour additive and has been used as a tradition for cheese makers since the 16th century, when producers of inferior cheese used it as a coloring agent to replicate the orange hue achieved by the best cheese makers. It may cause chronic hives or angioedema in extreme cases and other mild allergies in other cases.
Cheese has a significant amount of saturated fats. The FDA recommends restricted intake of saturated fats as it is believed that they negatively influence cardiovascular health. A single slice (21 grams) of processed cheese has a total fat of 6.6 g. Saturated fatty acids compose 4.1 g of that total fat which is 21% of a person’s daily recommended allowance. Of course processed cheeses are hardly eaten on their own. They are usually a major part of dishes that are just as abundant in saturated fats like burgers, pizzas and macaroni.
In short In short processed Cheese contains food colouring, emulsifiers, preservatives and often dairy substitutes that may cause harm to your body. Natural cheeses are healthier options that undergo less processing. At foodnetindia we recommend that you can still eat and enjoy natural cheeses which are now available at many modern retail stores in India. There is a huge variety to choose from. To name a few, ricotta, cheddar, edam, gouda, camembert, parmesan and many many more!