No proof yet that full-fat cheese is good for your heart

    22 September 2016

    Eating high-fat cheese on a daily basis increases levels of a ‘good cholesterol’, according to research funded by the dairy industry.

    During a 12-week study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen followed 164 volunteers who were split into three groups.

    One group ate 80 grams of regular high-fat cheese every day, the second group ate the same amount of low fat cheese and the third group ate none.

    It was found that cheese consumption did not affect the levels of low-density lipoprotein, or ‘bad cholesterol’, which is linked to heart disease. Higher levels of high-density lipoprotein, or ‘good cholesterol’, which moves cholesterol away from cells to the liver, were found in the high-fat cheese group.

    The researchers also found that there was no difference in levels of insulin and glucose between the groups. Nor was a significant difference observed in blood pressure and waist circumference between the three diets.

    The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    Instant analysis
    Alarm bells usually start ringing about the time you realise a study on the benefits of cheese has received a significant amount of its funding from dairy manufacturers. Add this to a relatively small study group and a focus on short-term effects and outcomes, and this study certainly doesn’t tell us enough for us to start suggesting people eat more cheese.

    Nonetheless, the data that it shows on the cholesterol numbers is interesting and it would be good to see further research on longer term effects.
    Research score: 2/5