Eric Adams Compares Cheese to Heroin While Touting Plant Based Diet

New York City Mayor Eric Adams compared cheese to heroin while promoting plant-based diets Monday.

The mayor, who identifies as a vegan, promoted the diet during a press conference on Monday while also announcing new lifestyle medicine services at some city hospitals that are intended to help patients living with chronic illnesses make healthy lifestyle changes.

"The more you eat plants [and] fruits, the more you have a healthy lifestyle away from over processed food, the healthier you are going to be. I know how I feel every day, and I want you to feel the same way every day," he said.

After the press conference, he also led a demonstration on making vegan chili, when he made the comparison between cheese and hard drugs.

"I don't have this great self-discipline. Food is like a drug. You take someone on heroin, put them in one room, and someone hooked on cheese, put [them] in another room, and you take it away, I challenge you to tell me the person who's hooked on heroin and who's hooked on cheese," he said.

Dr. Kim Sue, Medical Director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition, said in an interview with Newsweek that the comments are unhelpful and stigmatizing to people who experience addiction.

"It's completely different entities to take care of opioid use issues every day," she said. "That's a particular condition in which people become physically dependent and have withdrawal symptoms. Comparing that very clear diagnostic entity to a food group—it's stigmatizing and harmful in both regards."

Others on the internet quickly commented on the remarks.

"NYC Mayor, Eric Adams, claims a heroin addiction is no different than a cheese addiction. I don't know a single person in jail or dead, or robbing people, for some cheese. I don't know how this isn't parody or satire," wrote @AskBellaWagner.

"Yeeaaahhh, i dont see cheese destroying people's lives," wrote @MitchellAdams90.

"I can tell you right now i can tell the difference between someone on h and someone on provolone," wrote @notKHRIS.

The mayor's comments also come as he faces scrutiny about the extent of his vegan diet after Politico reported he was seen eating fish. He acknowledged Monday that he is not "perfect" with regards to the diet, telling other New Yorkers, "don't beat yourselves up."

"Does Eric eat fish? Does he eat hamburger? Does he do this? Does he do that? Listen, here's my message. The more plant based meals you have, the healthier you are going to be," he said.

Adams previously credited his transition to a vegan diet to help him regain sight in his left eye after he lost his vision to Type 2 diabetes, he told the New York Post.

Eric Adams compares cheese, heroin
New York Mayor Eric Adams, above in June 2021 in Queens, compared cheese to heroin while promoting plant based diets on Monday. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to Adams' office for comment Monday afternoon. This story will be updated with any response.