I'd been exploring Twitter & responding w/ some Tweets about the high fat content of Daiya Cheese, when the company tweeted back and said they wanted to talk to me about the health benefits of their products. I responded, essentially, that the products were high fat, basically added oil, and nutritionally useless. What's to talk about? Thought about this some more and decided to visit their website after a 2 yr hiatus (had blogged about them awhile back).
Keep in mind that the only two guys to reverse heart disease, Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish, with 20+ years of peer reviewed research to support their claims, recommend between 12 (or so) and 24 grams of fat per day (depending upon your caloric intake: they prefer 10% of your calories from fat, NO added oil), I decided to be magnanimous and help provide Daiya with some additional health claims they can truthfully use.
First, what are the ingredients in Daiya Mozarella Cheese:
"Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, vegan natural flavours, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor)."
Second, here's the "health" claims on their website:
- cholesterol free
- trans fat free
- free of all animal products (vegan)
- free of common allergens including: dairy (casein and lactose), soy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts (excluding coconut)
- free of artificial ingredients
- free of hormones & antibiotics
A fine and thoughtful analysis by the Daiya team, even though a pile of rocks or leaves would easily be determined as "healthy" by the exacting criteria used above. In the case of the leaves, maybe healthier.
It seems that the healthy benefits of Daiya Cheese are measured by what it DOES NOT CONTAIN instead of WHAT IT DOES CONTAIN, or as "compared to dairy cheese" (unless you take into account the fat, which isn't much of a difference). One-fourth cup is 6 grams of just fat (and a slice of pizza would normally have around 1/3 cup, probably 8 grams of fat). Have two slices of a Daiya dosed pizza and you've killed a day's worth of fat (according to Esselstyn/Ornish/Barnard/McDougall/Campbell).
Anyway, I decided to help them out. Here's an additional 10 health claims they can add to their website for Daiya Cheese (as could many vegan cheese products) and be truly honest:
1) REDUCES HEART DISEASE POTENTIAL: less plaque forming (which causes 90% of heart attacks) than from dairy or meat sources. Of course, eliminating added oil totally would reduce that potential to near zero, but that's not the point. It's LESS.
2) VERY SAFE TO EAT: contains no glass shards which would irritate or cut-up your esophagus.
3) HUMANE: not tested on mice, rabbits, cats, dogs, or platypus ducks.
4) EASIER DIGESTION; contains no significant amounts of any nutrient (phytochemicals, antioxidants, micronutrients, any vitamins or minerals)... nutritionally useless means less demand on your digestive system.
5) "VEG" FRIENDLY: suitable for pesco-vegetarians, bovo-vegetarians, swino-vegetarians, avian-vegetarians, and chitinous-vegetarians. Flexi-vegetarian issues still being studied.
6) IMMUNITY BUILDING: contains coconut oil, the #1 source of plant-based saturated fat, to help you build a tolerance to a substance the American Heart Association says should be limited in your diet.
7) ANALGESIC: eliminates the emotional pain of re-calibrating your taste receptors to not crave fat and actively promotes your taste addiction to fat, thereby decreasing your stress.
8) FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS FREE: contains no E.Coli, Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Avian Flu, Mad Cow Disease, or Ergot Fungus (bummer).
9) CONTAINS NO REAL FOODS; which would be another demand on your digestive system. The Pea Flour is borderline. Glycerin (not a real food) and oils "slide through" your system, although, what is a vegan natural flavor? However, the Xantham Gum is essentially slime, which is a real food, kinda sorta, although icky in concept. I also prefer my yeast "active." Let the little buggers earn their keep.
10) WEIGHT-REDUCER: does a fantastic job of making your wallet lighter & therefore less of a physical burden.
Of course, admittedly, shredded cardboard laced with coconut and olive oil would probably have a superior nutritional profile to that of Daiya Cheese, and many other vegan cheeses. Cheaper, higher in fiber, but probably doesn't melt as well.