Two in five Australian women feel guilty about eating cheese

June 16, 2017

NEW research has found that 70 per cent of young Aussie women have experienced feelings of guilt from eating cheese.

The most common reason for that guilt is that women think it’s fattening, with 31 per cent saying they have limited their consumption or avoided cheese for that reason.

Guilt experienced by Aussie women isn’t limited to cheese consumption, with results also showing that nine out of 10 women aged between 18-34 experience guilt from at least one different aspect of life.

The main feelings of guilt stem from skipping the gym, personal food choices, parenting, financial decisions and relationships with friends and family.

The research was commissioned by Dairy Australia, the leading national service body for dairy farmers and the industry. Dairy Australia wants to ease some of the guilt that women are feeling around their consumption of dairy products, telling Australian women they can enjoy cheese without feeling guilty.

Dairy Australia Dietitian, Glenys Zucco said that there are many reasons to include cheese in the diet.

“Currently, nine out of 10 Australian women don’t consume their recommended serves of dairy each day as advised by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, so women don’t have to feel guilty about increasing their daily consumption of cheese,” she said.

“Despite popular belief, eating cheese as part of a balanced diet is not linked to weight gain. In fact, the latest scientific evidence shows including milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a weight loss plan can help you lose more weight.

“Accumulated research shows that there is a wealth of health benefits linked with the consumption of cheese which is a valuable source of naturally occurring essential nutrients. Adding an extra serve of dairy to your day can be as easy as two slices of cheddar on your sandwich or half a cup of ricotta in your pasta sauce.”

Dietitian and balanced eating advocate Lyndi Cohen was quick to support Dairy Australia’s position, saying it’s common but unhelpful for women to feel guilty about what they’re eating.

“It didn’t surprise me that so many women feel guilty about eating cheese! It’s important for Aussie women to know that there’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty about some of their personal food choices, especially around eating cheese,” she said.

“Cheese is good for you! It naturally contains a host of nutrients you need including calcium for strong bones and protein for hunger busting and healthy muscles,” said Lyndi.

To help combat the reasons women feel guilt, Dairy Australia has announced a Feel Good Cheese Pop-up. The pop-up is part of a campaign designed to celebrate women and their choices, as well as to help them feel good, not guilty about eating cheese, and showcase ways to include cheese throughout the day.

Dairy Australia is the national services body for the Australian dairy industry. Visit for more information and cheesy recipe inspiration.

Note to Editors:
Survey conducted with sample size of 1,508 Australian women aged 18+, by Lonergan Research on behalf of Dairy Australia. The study aimed to explore Australian’s attitudes and behaviours regarding Australian food products and women’s guilt around eating cheese.

Key finding from the results include:

• Nine in ten (89%) mothers and young women experience guilt as a result of at least one different aspect of life. This is most commonly related to financial decisions / spending money and personal food choices
• Young women have feelings of guilt more often than mothers (7.4 and 6.4 times per week respectively)
• Three in five (60%) mothers and seven in ten (70%) young women experience feelings of guilt about eating cheese
• The most common reason that both mothers (27%) and young women (31%) experience guilt about eating cheese is because they think it is fattening
• 37% of mothers never feel guilty about eating cheese
• Cheese is a staple in only a quarter of Mothers’ diets (25%)
• Gen Y Mothers are more likely to feel guilty for reasons relating to work (42%, Gen X Mothers 36%)

Full survey results available on request.

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