Whether it’s edam, cheddar or brie that takes your fancy, we’ve got good news for cheese board lovers – according to research, eating cheese isn’t as bad for you as previously thought.
Over the past few years, consuming dairy has had somewhat of a bad rep, especially when it comes to cardiovascular disease, but a new study claims the saturated fat found in milk and cheese doesn’t increase your risk of developing heart problems.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition aimed to measure the long-term effects of dairy fat over a 22-year period.
The researchers studied 2,907 adults aged 65 or over, none of whom had any previous cardiovascular disease at the onset of the study. The concentrations of fatty acids in each participant's blood stream was measured at the beginning of the study, then six and 13 years after this.
The findings of the study recorded 2,483 deaths at the end of the study, 883 of which had occurred as a result of cardiovascular disease. Findings also indicated that those with high recorded levels of fatty acids in their blood had a 42% lower risk of dying from stroke. What’s more, the saturated fatty acids found in the blood of the participants in the study was actually linked to a reduced risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease.
Marcia Otto, lead author of the study, said: “Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease of overall mortality in older adults.
“In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.”
Although this isn’t an excuse to chow down on excessive amounts of cheese, it supports the idea that eating fats in moderation is not a bad thing. Professor Otto continued, “consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats.
“It’s therefore important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay.”