Creamy clouds of burrata, pillowy mozzarella, buttery Brie and Epoisses, or a big pile of nachos draped in luscious melted cheese: However you take your cheese, one thing's for sure. Cheese rocks. But reduced-fat cheese? Not so much. If you've been forcing yourself to substitute your favorite rich, gooey, fatty cheeses with lame, rubbery, flavorless low-fat varieties, scientists have some excellent news for you.
A new study reveals that full-fat cheese may actually be good for your health, but low-fat cheese? Not so great. The study at the University of Denmark followed 139 adults over 12 weeks. Some of these lucky research subjects were allowed to enjoy 80 grams of full-fat cheese each day, while others had the same quantity but of low-fat cheese. A third group had no cheese at all, and instead ate a similar quantity of bread and jam.
The results? Researchers saw no noticeable difference in the “bad” LDL cholesterol results between the subjects who had reduced-fat cheese and those who had full-fat cheese. Those who ate the full-fat cheese actually saw more of an increase in the so-called "good" HDL cholesterol.
We already knew cheese was a great source of protein and calcium, but it seems like downright health food now. But are these results we can really count on? “Yes, we should absolutely be enjoying full-fat cheese over low-fat and skim varieties,” Colette Heimowitz, VP of Nutrition and Education at Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., tells The Feast.
Not only is full-fat cheese full of flavor, but it also keeps you full and satisfied longer than low-fat options, so you're less inclined to binge-eat afterwards. “You will be less tempted to eat more than you would if you were having a low-fat variety," adds Heimowitz. "Full-fat cheese also has less milk sugar in it."
Before we all go off on a fatty-cheese bender, Heimowitz offers a few words of caution: "The only drawback to eating high-fat cheese is if you're also eating a [diet full of] high sugar and high glycemic carbs. That is a dangerous combination." Otherwise, she adds, "one should always choose full fat-cheese over low-fat."
We're still rubbing our eyes over this one, as we get ready to park ourselves in front of the dreamiest cheese plate we can find.
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