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

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

  • Norman taralrud-bay

    Have you read the big exposé of the current health guidelines for food in The Big Fat Surprise? (available in an online store near you!?) I have just finished it and am amazed that the entire food pyramid was built up from a study of no more than 65 Greeks just after the war, during Lent, and then biased by the perceptions of the authors: the (now in-) famous 7 Countries Study (there were 22, but they did not like the conclusions of the evidence from the other 15 so they threw them out! – and called that science.)

    • lolexplosm

      And what about the studies funded by big meat and diary?

      Is the author of this book a dietitian or even a scientist in any field?

      There is a fairly decent debunking here:

      • Norman taralrud-bay

        Dear lolexplosm, this ‘debunking’ as you call it, is a typical ad hominem attack. I question the background of the commenter! If he/she or you had read the book you would see that she writes at length about Taube’s work and its importance.he is one of the key people who was brave enough to stand up to the prevailing orthodoxy many years ago. Read the 30% of the book that is scientific references if you want to make up your mind from facts. Or accept just one of the scientific endorsements: “This book should be read by every nutrition science professional…All scientists should read it…well-researched and clearly written…” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (see ) for evidence. Too important to ignore that Americans (and most others following their lead) are far sicker than when the Diet Pyramid was first invented.

  • Norman taralrud-bay

    PS most of the subsequent research on why we should change to carbs and polyunsaturated oils (from animal fats) was paid for by…US oil and cereal manufacturers!! A real pity that governments don’t think their populations are worth publicly-funded research, where bias might be better controlled. You never know, they might even find out real evidence that they can use to prevent the population getting ever sicker and costing us all higher taxes and bitter experiences.