That was until he created a new low-cholesterol cheese, which meant he was still able to enjoy his favourite snack while keeping his heart healthy.
‘I have never been more frightened’
John, a senior food industry executive who had always wondered about the
possibility of making a low cholesterol cheese with vegetable oil that still tasted good, decided to put his plan into action after he began to suffer from heart disease in 2016.
However, his efforts were put on hold while he underwent a difficult triple bypass
operation in 2017, which resulted in debilitating secondary health issues.
John said he noticed that he was becoming permanently short of breath, and after undergoing tests from the NHS it was revealed he had three arteries that were blocked with plaque from cholesterol.
As a result, John had two periods in intensive care, and during the second his “heart started to beat out of control”.
“If they hadn’t stopped it, I would have died,” John said.
“I have never been more frightened. More so than when I went in for the first operation. It hurt like hell to have the chest opened up and to this day I still feel the wires pull sometimes.”
John explains how previously he rarely gave the subject of food or nutrition a second thought.
“Like many of us, I chose to ignore the risks of eating foods that are not good for you. I was always eating cheese, cream, in fact all dairy, red meat, fat, you name it I ate it.
“Cheese is part of a staple diet, and I found the alternative low-fat cheeses tasted
like something was missing.”
This is what led John to persevere with his plan to create a cheese that was “virtually cholesterol free and had all the taste”.
‘I love cheese and missed it so much’
In late 2018, John did trials on his ultra-low cholesterol cheese, named Fit Cheese, perfecting it in 2019.
The healthy product is aimed particularly at the 7.5 million people who take statins to
reduce their cholesterol, as well as the 30 million other consumers in the 45 and over age group who want to eat more healthily.
However, early efforts to market the product to schools and other institutions that were
required by the Government to buy low saturated fat products were impeded due to the Covid pandemic, which saw the market collapse overnight.
But John, working with Bisham Foods, has now successfully launched Fit Cheese and it is being sold directly to consumers who are required to have a low cholesterol diet.
John said: “I love cheese and missed it so much that I really wanted to have it back in my life.
“Twenty years ago in a previous role I worked with the factory which produced cheese alternatives, I understood the process of producing the cheese and knew I could do something with it.
“I then forged a relationship with Bisham Foods who are based in Marlow, they agreed to make and market the cheese using my recipe and we’re absolutely delighted with the results!”