Cheese is nearly everywhere these days. It’s the flavor of chips, in tacos, on burgers, and is also commonly eaten as a block all on its own. While America loves the yellow stuff, few know many of the facts hidden behind this all too common food.

The dairy industry work overtime to keep many of the health and ethical issues of their business hidden from the public. Here’s a list of 9 things you didn’t know about cheese, but probably should.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Cheese, But Wish You Did


It’s Addictive

Cheese is addictive, and this is no exaggeration. It contains mild, opiate-like compounds that are called casomorphins. The casomorphins in cheese attach themselves to the same brain receptors as addictive drugs. Simply, there’s a reason many people can’t fathom giving it up.

It’s Inhumane

The process of making cheese is incredibly inhumane, the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency has declared that milk production can legally be referred to as such. In addition to this, rennet is used in the manufacturing of many different kinds of cheese. This byproduct is taken from an enzyme in the lining of a calve’s stomach. In order to successfully get rennet, the enzyme must be harvested when they’re very young, which means, cheesemaking often requires the direct slaughter of young calves.

It’s as Bad as Smoking

A study from the University of Southern California revealed that cheese (and meat) may be as bad for people’s health as smoking and can lead to a much earlier death.

It’s Full of Estrogen

While many in the animal agriculture industry try to warn folks about the estrogen in soy — which is a myth — they fail to mention that most cheese is full of estrogen because dairy cows are pregnant most of the year.

Its Production Means Putting Cows in the ‘Pit of Despair’

The massive rack used to impregnate cows — so they produce the milk that humans will take to make cheese — was invented by a disturbed man named Harry Harlow who conducted a famous experiment, with said racks, known as the “Pit of Despair.” Essentially, he took newborn baby monkeys from their mothers, put them in total isolation for a year, then forced them to mate to see how they would raise a baby. Needless to say, the results were gross and beyond disturbing, yielding nothing to science.

It Contains Chemicals


Cheese is full of all the hormones and chemicals fed to the cow that produced the milk for the product. This includes steroids, pesticides, herbicides, additives, and even pus.

It Isn’t Necessary for Bone Health

A Penn State study showed that exercise is more important for bones than dairy products, which have always been sold and advertised as essential parts of bone health.

It’s Mold

Literal mold is sprayed onto cheese to make it smell and taste the way that it does.

Its Consumption is Federally Funded

This note from a Rich Roll interview with Dr. Neal Barnard:

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.”

If any of these facts have stuck with you, and you’d like to quit dairy, check out this guide on how you can still eat cheese as a vegan.

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