View Full Version : Soy cheese products deceive consumers, violate vegans

Jan 14th, 2005, 12:03 PM
Soy cheese products deceive consumers, violate vegans

www.newstarget.com (http://www.newstarget.com/003217.html) , Thursday, January 13, 2005

If you visit any natural grocery or health food store these days, you'll notice there are a lot of soy cheese products available. The implied message from the name of these products is that they are made with soy milk, not dairy products, and are therefore either healthier for you or appropriate for people who wish to avoid cow's milk for health reasons. But what they don't tell you is that virtually every soy cheese product on the market is made with a dairy product. That ingredient is casein, a milk protein.

It is, in fact, casein that is associated with most of the health problems and complaints described by people who consume cow's milk and dairy products. Those complaints include chronic sinus congestion, constipation, and even symptoms resembling asthma. That's because casein is a difficult protein for human beings to digest, which is why it is present in smaller quantities in human breast milk. Cows, on the other hand, need casein in larger quantities. The nutritional makeup of cow's milk is vastly different from human milk, which makes it even more bizarre that human beings insist on consuming this beverage produced by members of an entirely different species.

Casein is probably used in soy cheese products because it helps those resemble the taste of real cheese. It also has a quality that helps soy cheese products physically resemble dairy products, and it adds protein content to the cheese. Soy cheese manufacturers get away with adding casein to their products primarily because most consumers don't know what casein really is, and there's no attempt by soy cheese manufacturers to state on the product label that these products contain ingredients derived from cows.

Therein lies the deception: soy cheese products are positioned as alternatives to dairy cheese, and yet they continue to be made with precisely the most nutritionally offensive ingredient found in cow's milk: casein protein.

And it's not just one company doing this -- even Trader Joe's, a natural grocer that offers a wide variety of healthy products, puts casein in their soy cheese products. A company called Galaxy Nutritional Foods, which makes "Veggie Slices," puts casein in their soy cheese as well. The front label of their package even says "Nature's Alternative to Cheese," and it describes the product as "made with the goodness of soy." But my question is that if this is a cheese alternative, what is a milk protein doing in the product? Granted, at least Galaxy Nutritional Foods explains what casein is in their ingredients list. It reads "casein (a dried skim milk protein)". So, there is some attempt on their part to educate consumers about what's in the product, but still, it's made with a milk protein derived from cows, and most people don't read the ingredients to begin with.

If you're into health food products, you can verify all this yourself. Visit any natural grocer or health food store and look at any veggie cheese or soy cheese product on the shelf. You will find that virtually all of them are manufactured with cow's milk protein. This just goes to show you that just because a food product is positioned as being an alternative to dairy products, or just because it is described as being a soy product, doesn't mean that it is free of animal products. This is especially important for vegans, of course, who are increasingly finding that it's difficult to buy any product that isn't made with animal products in one way or another. Even yogurt, you may recall, is colored with an insect-derived natural coloring called carmine, which is made from ground-up, red Cochineal beetles frequently imported from the Canary Islands.

But where carmine is probably good for you, I don't think casein is. Milk proteins are not something that human beings should be consuming on a regular basis, especially not adult human beings. Think about it -- if adults of the human species were supposed to be consuming cow's milk, or casein protein, then this protein would be present in much greater quantities in human breast milk, and we would all continue nursing as adults. And yet that's not the case -- adults are supposed to stop drinking mother's milk. And certainly adult humans are not supposed to be drinking the mother's milk from a four-legged, furry animal. From nature's point of view, it doesn't make any sense at all; in fact, it's rather bizarre. Repulsive, if you ask me.

The next time you go out and shop for natural foods, make sure you start reading the labels. Aside from casein, you'll also find that many so-called "natural" food products contain MSG in the form of yeast extract, another deceptive ingredient used in many natural foods. These include Gardenburgers, Boca Burgers and other "vegetarian" meat alternatives. It's virtually impossible to find a vegetarian burger that doesn't contain MSG in one form or another. So much for the "natural" claim, huh?

Folks, it's not just the big mainstream food companies that are deceptive in their marketing. Sadly, it's also a bunch of "natural" food companies who have jumped on the health hype bandwagon and are using what I consider to be deceptive product claims and positioning statements that deceive consumers. If you actually believe what the food labels claim, you're gullible. You have to read the ingredients and learn to know the difference between natural ingredients vs. chemical additives like "autolyzed yeast extract" or "hydrolyzed vegetable protein." Believe it or not, companies can even put MSG in a product and call it "natural flavors." I'm not kidding. (Search Google for Dr. Russell Blaylock or "excitotoxins" to learn more about the disastrous health effects of MSG...)

The food companies have learned that they can slap the word "natural" on any product and more people will buy it, even if there's nothing natural about it. I've seen potato chip companies say their products are natural, and that's absurd, because you don't find deep-fried potato chip slices containing trans-fatty acids and acrylamides growing on bushes in nature, so it's not natural, but food manufacturers are certainly allowed to put the word "natural" on the label according to the FDA. Your job as a consumer is to educate yourself so you aren't deceived by bogus product health claims.

In my opinion, a natural product is a kind of product that you might find in nature. Whole tomatoes are natural products, and you could even argue that taco sauce made with ground-up whole tomatoes and natural spices derived from plants is a natural product, but if you start adding chemical taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate, or preservatives, additives, artificial colors, refined sugars and so on, it's not natural at all. Be wary of this term. The Corn Refiner's Association of America even told me in an e-mail that they believe high-fructose corn syrup is natural -- why? Because it's derived from corn! Here's a highly-refined, processed sugar, linked to obesity and diabetes, that the industry insists is a natural product.

If they can call that natural, and if the food giants can call their deep-fried potato chips natural, and if soy cheese manufacturers can put cow's milk products in their soy products and call them natural, then there's really no meaning to the term.

Technically speaking, I could dig up some mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxic substances from the soil, stuff them into a tofu recipe, and sell it as a "100% natural" product. Why? Because it's all derived from the Earth! It's natural, see?

That's why the word "natural" is, essentially, a marketing term for suckers. Its only purpose is to sell products to people who flat out don't know any better. (And by the way, I've learned from talking to so many readers of this site that YOU know better. The readers of this site are really quite well informed and they tend to read labels. It's all the other people you see in the stores -- those typical shoppers -- who are the suckers.)

I have an entire book nearly completed on topics such as this. The working name of the book is, "Health Seduction," and it's about how food companies, cosmetic companies, drug companies and hospitals use deceptive, seductive language to trick consumers into buying needless products and services, all while claiming, "It's good for you!" Watch for it on the TruthPublishing.com website. Sign up to the NewsTarget Insider email newsletter and you'll get an email when this book is released.

In the mean time, be a smart shopper. Read the labels and don't trust "natural" products until you verify they are, indeed, made with wholesome ingredients and no chemical additives.

One final clarification on all this: I am not an opponent of soy products. In fact, I consume all sorts of soy products myself: soy milk, soy protein and tofu. I think soy is a genuine superfood, and recent research has shown that it helps prevent prostate cancer in men, breast cancer in women, and free radical damage. I'm fully aware that there are differing opinions on soy in the natural health community, and I remain open to any new information on the safety and efficacy of soy as it becomes available.

More vegan cheese talk in the Vegan cheese - any good? (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=357&highlight=cheese) thread.

Casein isn't a problem in soya cheese in the uk, I think.

Jan 14th, 2005, 12:12 PM
true Gert there aren't many non-dairy cheeses in the UK that contain casein, although there is one brand which may be called Veggie Slices or something similar i have seen which isn't vegan. i can't say i'm surprised that companies are trying to cash in on the emerging dietary trends, and not producing decent honestly-marketed products. :(

also, small point but....

carmine is probably good for you :confused: what???!!!

Jan 14th, 2005, 03:34 PM
all of the "dairy free" cheeses that have casein, here, state that they contain casein on the package.

Jan 14th, 2005, 04:08 PM
Yes, casein is listed on the ingredients. It's no trick, as long as people are informed.

Jan 14th, 2005, 05:52 PM
Gertvegan, thanks for your information though here in Norway there are not many brands of "dairy free" Cheeses. But I surly will look closer on the package if I find one.

Jan 15th, 2005, 06:50 AM
Just about all soycheese here contains casein, with one exception, that is a soycheese by Kingland. Also, in the town where I live, there is only one shop that sells it, and it is pretty expensive at $5.45 for 200 grams. I buy it now and then.

I understand from a book by Neal Barnard, called "Breaking the Food Seduction" that it is the casein in both dairy and soycheeses that keeps people addicted to cheese.

Jan 19th, 2005, 07:29 AM
Redwood Foods (http://www.redwoodfoods.co.uk) Cheezly is free from all animal ingredients. The "melting" cheddar slices make an acceptable cheese on toast - try spreading the toast with some yeast extract before putting on the cheezly. If you don't like yeast extract, put some chopped onion or tomato on the cheezly before grilling. The slices are also okay as a topping for jacket potatoes filled with baked beans or chilli - dish up and then pop under the grill to melt the cheese (take care to use a suitable plate). The "melting" mozzarella slices are okay on a pizza or as a topping for a pasta bake. For "cheese" sandwiches, Tofutti's "cream cheese" is our favourite - great for "cheese" and salad sandwiches.