Would These Billboards Get You to Stop Eating Cheese?

An advocacy group that promotes vegan diets would like you to lay off the cheese, please.

I like cheese—a lot, actually. Which is why when these images of new anti-cheese billboards hit my inbox the other day, I gasped. Kinda loudly.

The billboards, part of a campaign from DC-based advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), are trying to convince residents of Albany, New York to lay off unhealthy, dairy-laden foods. They’re targeting that particular community because of its high adult overweight/obesity rate, but I think the message is really targeted at all of us. (I mean, why else would they have sent their press release to a health reporter in Philly?)

The truth is that cheese is typically pretty high in saturated fat, and we seem to be eating a heckuva lot of it: A USDA estimate found that, per capita, Americans’ cheese consumption has more than doubled in 30 years, from 14 pounds a person per year in 1975 to 32 pounds in 2008. It’s probably not a coincidence that our waistlines have followed a similar trajectory.

NPR talked to PCRM president and founder Neal Bernard about the new campaign; he advises going cold-turkey on our cheese addiction: cut it out all together. I think that’s a bit extreme, but it serves as a good reminder to eat in moderation. A cube or two of cheddar every now and then won’t kill you. But a whole block in one sitting? Not a good idea.