Terse Topics


By Robert A. Stevenson, D. D. S., R. Ph.

ONE OF THE FINEST THINGS the American nation could do for health and pocketbook is to develop the habit of eating cheese in amounts comparable to its consumption in Europe.

BY GREATER USE OF CHEESE it is not meant increased consumption of fancy imported varieties. These belong in the field of luxury foods. The kinds of cheese which hold so much promise of Americans of the present day are the great staple varieties which the country can produce in enormous quantities and at a low price.

MILK, FROM WHICH ALL CHEESE ISMADE, is an excellent food. While no perfect food exists, milk comes nearest to fulfilling all the needs of the body. It contains muscle-building material-protein-of a quality particularly suite to the best growth of children as well as adult maintenance. And its mineral elements, calcium and phosphorus, for the building of bones and teeth, are especially valuable. Milk is an excellent source of vitamins, particularly Vitamin A, present in the butter fat.

CHEESE, MADE FROM WHOLE MILK, may be considered a concentrated form of milk. Cheese then , is a superior food. Because it is concentrated, its fuel value per unit of weight is very high. The kind of protein found in cheese is so valuable that if it were the only source of protein in a diet it would, given in sufficient quantity, be adequate not only to maintain life but support normal growth.

CALCIUM, PHOSPHORUS, AND IRON are present in rennet cheese in the same proportionate amounts as in milk. Calcium and phosphorus are not only extremely suitable in kind of economical use by the body but are present in abundant quantity-milk and its products being the most dependable food source of calcium. Though present in smaller quantity than the other minerals, the iron of cheese is in a particularly easily assimilable form and for that reason should be considered a valuable contribution to the day’s supply.

THE FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS A and D, like the above ingredients, only become more concentrated when whole milk is made into cheese, for the fat of the milk is practically all retained when the curd is formed.

SO-CALLED COTTAGE CHEESE made from skim milk, when it appears in market, is little different in food value from the rennet cheese. While some calcium is not in the curdling process, cottage cheese may still be considered a very good source of calcium. And while some of the fat-soluble Vitamins A and D are lost when the milk is skimmed, these are replaced by the cream added to the cheese when ready for sale.

FROM 90% TO 99% OF THE TOTAL WEIGHT of cheese is digested –there is practically no waste –yet it costs no more than good protein food of which a quarter to a half by weight may be of little nutritive value to the body.

STAPLE KINDS OF CURED CHEESE keep indefinitely –there is no spoilage waste –and they can be served in a score of appetizing ways, thus placing these kinds of cheese among the handiest and most economical foods with which a larder could be stocked.

ONE-HALF POUNDS OF CHEESE furnishes all the calcium and phosphorus needed for the day, with an abundant reserve, as well as one-fourth of the iron required and Vitamin A in generous quantities.

A ONE-POUND LOAF of whole-wheat bread and two pounds of fruit eaten with the one-half pound of cheese makes an adequate diet for an adult. One may be skeptical that such a diet would prove satisfying over a period of time. As a matter of fact there is on record the case of a man who used these foods exclusively for two years. During that period he enjoyed good health and did not tire of his diet.

A VERY ILLUMINATING SET of experiments were conducted by experts from the United States Department of Agriculture, working with Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, and Minnesota State Experiment Station. At Middletown sixty-five students were placed on a diet of bread, bananas, and cheese for three days, with additional tests before and after the dieting period, while the Minnesota experiments differed only in that oranges were used in place of bananas. Every factor of diet, activity, and element was carefully watched, and the amount of food digested from each constituent of the diet was determined accurately. Green Cheddar was used in Middletown, and various types of domestic and imported cheese at Minnesota.

THE RESULTS were illuminating in the extreme. The lowest percentage of protein digestibility found at Middletown was 90.3% and ranged from there to 100%. Fast digestibility ranged from 93.1% to 99.0%; and from 86.5% to 93.9% of the total fuel value of the cheese, as computed in calories, was absorbed by the individuals taking part in the experiment – not much more could be asked by any food!


A palatable and attractive food.
One capable of great variety in use.
A protective food because of its vitamins.
A concentrated source of energy.
An economical source of the highest quality protein.

“There are but two kinds of foods which are rich in calcium. These are milk and cheese, and those vegetables of which the leaves are edible… The defect of the greatest significance in the typical American diet is lack of sufficient calcium… The most logical way to correct this fault is to include suitable amounts of calcium-rich foods..

…Since cheese is a calcium-rich food, it may be properly stressed as such.”

–Dr. E. V. McCollum, Professor of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins’ University.

“Half a pound of cheese will provide sufficient protein of the best quality for an average man for a day, and fully one-third of this total calories. The simple addition of a pound of whole-wheat bread and a couple of pounds of fruit will result in a diet adequate for an adult in every respect and at a most moderate outlay of money and effort.”

-Dr. Mary Swartz Rose in “The Foundations of Nutrition”. “As the food value and digestibility of cheese become better known, it should come to occupy a much more prominent place in the typical dietary than it does at present.”

–Dr. Henry C. Sherman, Professor of Food Chemistry, Columbia University.

IN CONCLUSION we might add that in some cases where we find there is a lack of sufficient calcium in the diet it would be well to consider the addition of cheese to such a diet. Children seem to take to the so-called cottage cheese very readily.


The Science and Practice of Cheese-Making, p. 139 et seq.
Fundamentals of Dairy Science, pp. 36-38. pp. 466-469-473-474.
Bulletin –Varieties of Cheese: Descriptions and Analyses, p. 53.
Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, pp. 308-326. 338-345.
Circular 166, Bureau of Animal Industry.