Reading 2 min.
in collaboration with
Raphaël Gruman (nutritionist)
More and more present on our shelves, to the delight of vegans, lactose-free cheeses also pose risks to weight and cardiovascular health. Their composition raises questions.
Whether it’s banning a product of animal origin or fighting a lactose allergy, more and more people are turning to plant-based alternatives to dairy. Problem: Vegetable cheeses aren’t necessarily healthier, and they don’t have the same nutritional values as classic cheeses. The oils and starch used to give them a cheese-like texture would, in particular, be harmful to health.
To find the right consistency to make the product appetizing, vegetable oils are regularly used in the composition of these vegetable cheeses, just like starch, a complex carbohydrate. However, as stated in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016, starchy foods have a high glycemic load and are associated with greater weight gain. In the long run, it can also promote diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
The strong presence of coconut and palm vegetable oils in particular, very rich in saturated fatty acids, can also damage the arteries, favor the formation of thrombosis and induce a risk factor for cardiovascular accidents in the diet.
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Very poor nutritional qualities
Consulted on the subject, the dietician-nutritionist Raphaël Gruman confirms the bad marks attributed to vegetable cheese, which he advises against his patients, even vegans. “We are mainly on a processed product, stuffed with additives of all kinds to obtain the consistency, color and taste of a real cheese. Furthermore, these cheeses are often extremely fat. Sure, it uses vegetable fats, but vegetable cheeses are often more fat and caloric than classic cheeses. Finally, vegetable cheese has no nutritional value like real cheese: low in protein, low in calcium and less assimilated vegetable calcium than calcium of animal origin, it also does not provide vitamins A, B2 and B12 necessary for the organism. In short, it does not provide much on a daily basis “.
So, if you don’t want to bite into a piece of Camembert, don’t overdo it with the vegetable cheese either. “We can also turn to natural oil seeds to have a good protein intake and a little vegetable calcium” remembers the nutritionist.