Cheese - it's not as bad as we think...

It’s Friday night. PJs on, bra off, box set ready. What’s the only thing that can make this scenario just about perfect? A cheese board and accompanying bottle of red. Heavenly.

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But while we all love indulging in a bit of dairy; whether it’s Brie, Stilton or good old cheddar.  It’s something to avoid if you’re trying to lose a few pounds.

However, new research suggests that eating cheese might not actually be that bad for us.

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Cheese could be making you slimmer

The University College of Dublin put the diets of 1,500 people under the microscope and found those with a high intake of dairy actually didn’t suffer from higher cholesterol. Cheese apparently has a ‘unique set of nutrients’ that doesn’t effect cholesterol negatively.

Cheese lovers also had a lower body mass index, lower percentage of body fat, lower waist size and lower blood pressure, suggesting the delicious stuff isn’t too bad for us at all as part of a balanced diet.

The ‘cheese metabolism’

The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry also published a study this month, referring to something researchers have labelled the “cheese metabolism”. Results of a recent trial found that those who eat dairy had a noticeable difference in their gut bacteria.

Cheese eaters have higher levels of ‘butyrate’, which can help speed up energy production, and in some cases boost your metabolism. This would explain why French women always seem to eat so much brie yet remain so slim….

Eating full-fat benefits your health

Another recent study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that suggests eating the full-fat variety might actually benefit our health, too.

The researchers selected 139 adults and studied them for a 12-week period. The participants were split into three groups, the first group ate high-fat cheese daily, the second group had reduced-fat cheese daily and the third group had no cheese at all but substituted it with bread and jam.

After 12 long weeks of eating, the participants’ levels of HDL ‘good’ and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterols were measured.

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Overall, the changes to the participants’ health were very minor. The results proved that there isn’t much difference in our bad cholesterol whether we eat full-fat or reduced fat cheese.  In fact, the levels of the good cholesterol tended to be higher among the full-fat cheese-eating group when compared to the non cheese-eating group. And then of course there’s the psychological benefits.

However, it’s important to take note that the study was partially financed by a group of dairy manufacturers.  Disappointingly, this could mean that the results may be slightly biased.

So, what’s your favourite cheese? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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