Does cheese really close the stomach?

A saying said to have come from Pliny, a Roman writer, is that  cheese  closes the stomach. The cheese should have this function for two reasons. 

The rumor about the cheese

Cheese is supposed to buffer excess stomach acid, which is probably where the phrase comes from. The protein in the cheese is responsible for this apparent buffering function. Too much stomach acid carries the risk of it flowing back into the esophagus. There it can cause great damage, since the mucous membrane of the esophagus is not armed against the acid attack.

People who  suffer from heartburn  or acid  regurgitation  know the feeling of eating a meal “several times”. For these, it would be quite helpful if cheese actually ended the meal and served as a kind of temporary seal.

In earlier times, patients suffering from heartburn were   fed milk for days. The misconception that protein in milk would buffer stomach acid was to blame.

The truth

It is now known that protein-containing foods such as cheese are among the acid-forming foods and are therefore counterproductive to the buffering process.

More speculation

Perhaps this phrase also applied to the closure of the stomach outlet and not at all to the stomach entrance. Cheese would thus close the gate from the stomach to the intestines and delay the digestion that begins after a meal. This “closing force” would come from the fat content in the cheese. The stomach allows much more time for delivering meals containing fat to the intestines than for meals containing carbohydrates or proteins. This increases the feeling of satiety.

What cheese can really do

Enough speculation. Scientists have found one thing: Cheese has a protective effect on tooth decay. Calcium and phosphate, which are found in abundance in cheese, play an important role here. These two  minerals  harden the enamel and protect the tooth from aggressive influences. Therefore: Treat yourself to a piece of cheese for dessert if you like it and it suits you!

Little lesson from our French neighbors: it’s customary there to enjoy a cheese bite at the end of a meal. The French know that fat should not be skimped on in cheese, as this is a flavor carrier. So with the “cheese afterwards” you don’t run the risk of eating your fill beforehand with the high-calorie treat.

Tip:  Take the cheese out of the fridge in good time, because it only tastes really good at room temperature!


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