Parmesan Cheese Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/03/23 •  11 min read

What are parmesan cheese side effects and benefits? Is parmesan cheese low fodmap? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Vegan? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are parmesan cheese pros and cons: all the info on parmesan cheese that every ethical consumer wants to know…

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on parmesan cheese side effects.

You are going to learn all about parmesan cheese pros and cons. This will include parmesan cheese benefits for your health and potential risks, parmesan cheese water footprint and parmesan cheese carbon footprint, parmesan cheese sustainability, if parmesan cheese is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if parmesan cheese is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about parmesan cheese benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Parmesan Cheese Side Effects And Benefits

HEALTH

Parmesan cheese benefits may include:

Parmesan cheese side effects may include:

Additionally, parmesan cheese is…

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ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: moderate, it takes 5,060 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cheese / 606 gallons of water to produce one pound of cheese

Carbon footprint: high, 13.5 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cheese, a car driving equivalent of 31 miles or 50 kilometers

Destruction: high, parmesan cheese production is relatively destructive, land usage for animal pasture, grain and forage, solid waste (excrement/manure) runoff into soil and freshwater, deforestation for feed crops, animal agriculture leading cause of: species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction

Parmesan cheese is…

ANIMALS

Kills: calves, in most cases and unless stated otherwise cheese production involves rennet

Harms: cows, branded, castrated and horns removed without painkillers, locked in tiny cages, genetically modified to grow so obese that many become lame (unable to walk) shocked with electric prods, shackled with chains and dragged, beaten, prods poked up rectums, live last few months in crowded feedlots with hundreds or thousands of others, without pasture, often without shelter, must stand in mud, ice and their own waste

Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife habitat contamination (water and soil pollution), wildlife habitat destruction (deforestation/land clearing), wolves and coyotes killed to prevent predation on livestock 

Parmesan cheese is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Parmesan cheese has…

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Where does most parmesan cheese come from?

Italy is the world’s leading parmesan cheese country.

The original Parmesan cheese is more precisely called Parmigiano-Reggiano which is only produced in Italy, in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna.

In the United States Wisconsin has the most dairy plants (199 dairy product plants).

Other leading dairy processing states were New York with 123 plants and California with 114 plants. 

The world’s top parmesan cheese exporting country is Germany, followed by Netherlands, France, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, USA and Greece.

Is parmesan cheese nutritious?

Parmesan cheese is high in protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamins B6, B12, phosphorus, zinc, and copper but also saturated fat and cholesterol.

Additionally, parmesan cheese often contains antibiotics and hormones such as rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) which is a genetically engineered synthetic hormone by Monsanto to increase milk production levels, resulting in cow mastitis infections, ultimately requiring more antibiotics.

What are some parmesan cheese substitutes and parmesan cheese alternatives?

Use this Dairy Foods + Substitutes List to quickly see alternatives.

Is parmesan cheese alkaline or acidic?

Is parmesan cheese alkaline or acidic?

Parmesan cheese is acidic.

What is the pH level of parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese has a 3.0 pH level once digested. Cheese is an acidic food group.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Is parmesan cheese gluten free?

Is parmesan cheese gluten free?

Yes, parmesan cheese is gluten free. Parmesan cheese does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is parmesan cheese a common food allergen?

Is parmesan cheese a common food allergen?

Yes, parmesan cheese contains a common food allergen: milk. Many people experience allergic reactions to parmesan cheese.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Is parmesan cheese low fodmap?

Is parmesan cheese low fodmap?

Yes, parmesan cheese is low fodmap, a food that fits into a low fodmap diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods

Water footprint of parmesan cheese?

Water footprint of parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese has a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

It takes 5,060 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cheese / 606 gallons of water to produce one pound of cheese.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprinta”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Carbon footprint of parmesan cheese?

Carbon footprint of parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

It takes around 13.5 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cheese, a car driving equivalent of 31 miles or 50 kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Is parmesan cheese sustainable?

Is parmesan cheese sustainable?

No, parmesan cheese production is relatively unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’ 

Is parmesan cheese vegan?

Is parmesan cheese vegan?

No, parmesan cheese is not vegan. Parmesan cheese is dairy, the byproduct of a cow, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A mother cow’s milk must be used in order to produce parmesan cheese. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Does parmesan cheese have human rights issues?

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Yes, at this time there are human rights concerns with dairy production and livestock farming.

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about parmesan cheese benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Cheese, parmesan, grated – FoodData Central – USDA

Top 20 cheese exporting countries

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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