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Study Reveals Full-Fat Cheese Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

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Cheese, despite its high saturated fat and cholesterol content, can offer various health benefits including calcium, protein, and vitamins. A recent study suggests that consuming full-fat cheese in moderation may lower cholesterol levels. Research led by Dr. Emma Feeney at University College Dublin involved a six-week trial with 164 participants over 50, who had slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Results indicated that full-fat cheese consumption led to reduced overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels compared to those who did not consume it.

Key Findings:

  • Matrix Effect: The structure of cheese affects fat absorption, reducing the entry of saturated fat into the bloodstream.
  • Calcium Binding: Fat in cheese binds with calcium, forming ‘soaps’ that are not absorbed in the intestine, thus excreted.
  • Cholesterol Reduction: High-calcium cheeses, such as cheddar and parmesan, showed greater reduction in LDL cholesterol.

Additional Health Benefits of Cheese:

  • Calcium: Helps lower blood pressure and reduces fat absorption during digestion.
  • Protein: Promotes satiety and prevents overeating, also lowers triglycerides.
  • Probiotics: Found in cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, and Gouda, improve gut health and immune system, and may help lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Vitamin K2: Present in aged cheeses, helps prevent calcium deposits in arteries, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Dr. Feeney’s findings underscore the potential benefits of cheese, suggesting it can be part of a heart-healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

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