Does cheese give you nightmarese? Debunking 5 cheesy myths

Some forms of cheese such as parmesan don't contain any lactose at all.
PHOTO: Reuters

If you're lactose intolerant and love cheese, you'd know how painful it can be to have to avoid eating something you love. As it turns out, you may not have to.

Here are some myths about cheese.

MYTH: You can't eat cheese if you're lactose intolerant

Turns out you don't have to fully eliminate cheese from your diet if you're lactose intolerant. Some cheeses such as parmesan don't contain any lactose content at all.

In other types such as cheddar, Swiss cheese and brie, the lactose content is so minimal - about 0.04g in a 40g block - that it can still be tolerated.

As a rule of thumb, switch to hard cheeses as these contain less lactose and always check the label's sugar content.

Lactose is listed under sugar, so if the number is low or zero, it should still be safe for you to consume.

MYTH: Low-fat cheese is healthier

If you're on a diet or just being cautious with calories during the holidays, switching to low-fat foods is a no-brainer, but you could be falling into a low-fat trap.

It is no secret that full-fat cheese contains more fat, but it also contains a lot more protein. That means it will keep hunger pangs at bay for longer and help you avoid any calorie-drenched munchies.

A Curtin University of Technology study backs this up.

It found that increasing your dairy intake can help with weight loss because the extra protein helps to speed up your metabolism.

Gooey melted cheese all the rage at Singapore eateries

  • The dining scene is set to get cheesier.
  • In restaurants serving cheesy Korean barbecues, the cheese is melted either on the grill or in a side compartment,
  • while in mookata, it is placed in the soup trough around the dome-shaped grill.
  • Most of the restaurants use both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses for their dip.
  • Mozzarella gets stretchy when melted but has a mild, milky flavour, while cheddar cheese is saltier and richer.
  • At Cheese Story, Diners are loving the cheese offerings.
  • Over the past four months, the restaurant has seen youngsters make up 80 per cent of its customers. Previously, they made up slightly more than half of the customers.
  • At Charcoal Thai, the Cheese Mookata set (for two to three people) comes with more than 20 ingredients, such as prawns, squid, sausage, meats and vegetables. Instead of soup, the trough is filled with melted cheese.
  • Customers eating cheese mookata at Jackpot K in Golden Mile Complex
  • The Western Co's Hawaiian Raclette Chicken

MYTH: Cheese is bad for your health

Full-fat dairy foods such as cheese, butter and milk get a lot of blame for health problems due to their high level of saturated fats.

However, a 2012 study of 5,000 Australians showed that people with a higher intake of dairy actually had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another study at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne also revealed that eating cheese over a four-week period did not adversely affect people's cholesterol levels as predicted. Conclusion: Brie isn't the bad guy.

MYTH: Cheese gives you nightmares

Ever since Ebenezer Scrooge blamed a "crumb of cheese" for his ghoulish encounters in A Christmas Carol, urban legend would have us believe that eating cheese before bed leads to bad dreams.

But, in fact, cheese can help regulate sleep - it contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is linked to stable mood and sleep function.

Read also: 5 places to get your cheese fix in Singapore

A 2005 study by the British Cheese Board also reported no nightmares after giving 200 participants a small piece of cheese 30 minutes before bed.

They did note that those who ate cheddar predominantly dreamt about celebrities.

MYTH: Mice love cheese

Movies, cartoons and nursery rhymes play on the myth, but it is actually far from true.

A 2006 Manchester Metropolitan University study discovered that mice avoid cheese, instead the rodents satisfy their sweet tooth with grains, fruits and other sweet things.

If hungry enough, they won't turn their noses up at a bit of cheese or cardboard, but save the stilton for yourself.

It is too pungent for their sensitive noses, and they'll smell your trap a mile away.

This article was first published on Dec 25, 2016. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.