Experts are studying the effects of consuming a lot of cheese
So far, most people have assumed that an increased consumption of cheese leads to an increase in the cholesterol level in the body. Researchers have now found that cheese doesn't necessarily increase cholesterol. Eating cheese can even cause people to lose weight.
In their research, University College Dublin scientists found that cheese consumption does not automatically cause people to gain weight and cholesterol levels to rise. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Nutrition and Diabetes".
Scientists examine 1,500 subjects from Ireland
In their study, the experts analyzed the effects of cheese consumption. To do this, they examined a total of 1,500 participants from Ireland. The aim was to evaluate the current dietary guidelines, which warn that eating cheese (rich in saturated fats) influences the risk of developing high blood cholesterol, the researchers say.
Cholesterol can lead to deposits in the arteries
In their investigation, the doctors found that eating large amounts of cheese did not lead to an elevated cholesterol level in the test subjects taking part. For example, according to the American Heart Association, adults should not consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. If you eat too much cholesterol, it accumulates in your bloodstream and creates arterial deposits that restrict blood flow to the heart, the scientists explain.
Cheese consumption increases the intake of saturated fatty acids
It has been observed that the high consumption of cheese leads to a significantly increased intake of saturated fatty acids compared to people who do not eat cheese. However, there was no difference in the LDL cholesterol level found, explains author Dr. Emma Feeney.
Do nutrients in cheese compensate for the increased consumption of saturated fats?
The researchers suspect that the mixture of nutrients in cheese helps to compensate for the increased consumption of saturated fats. The milk intake from the cheese even had a positive effect on the so-called body mass index (BMI). In addition, consumption led to smaller waist sizes and correlated with lower blood pressure, the scientists add.
The entire diet needs to be examined more closely
Of course, a correlation does not automatically mean a causal connection for this effect, say the experts. So you can't say for sure that eating cheese has a positive effect on cholesterol or weight. Cheese is just a small piece of the puzzle, we have to look at people's entire diets, the authors explain.
Experts analyze eating patterns
We have to look not only at the nutrients themselves, but at the entire nutritional pattern, explains the author Dr. Emma Feeney. Ironically, the researchers also found that consuming low-fat yogurt and milk increased carbohydrate intake. However, cause and effect could work the other way around. If people eat more carbohydrates, they may be more likely to tend to low-fat dairy products, the scientists speculate. Maybe those affected want to lose weight.
More research is needed
It would be really interesting to see this study repeated with a larger sample size and in different parts of the world, the authors say. Because culture and geography have a big impact on nutrition. So far it is unclear whether the Irish diet has led to these results. Perhaps the previously assumed negative effects of cheese were simply exaggerated, the experts add. (as)