A study from the University College Dublin has found that consuming cheese does not raise blood cholesterol levels despite the food’s saturated fat content. While current health and dietary guidelines suggest that food high in saturated fats, such as cheese, may increase your risk of developing high LDL blood cholesterol, this new research has found that unique nutrient profiles and dietary patterns may play a more important role than saturated fat content.
The study analyzed the impact on specific dairy items—including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, and butter—on the health and body fat of 1,500 Irish participants between the ages of 18 and 90. The results found that cheese consumption was not linked to higher body fat and did not raise LDL cholesterol. Researchers believe these results add strength to previous studies that have shown that the saturated fat from cheese does not affect cholesterol levels due to its unique set of nutrients.
Lead author Dr. Emma Feeney commented on the results, stating, “What we saw was that the high consumers [of cheese] had a significantly higher intake of saturated fat than the non-consumers and the low consumers and yet there was no difference in their LDL cholesterol levels.” She went on to explain the potential reasoning behind their findings, suggesting: “We have to consider not just the nutrients themselves but also the matrix in which we are eating them in and what the overall dietary pattern is, so not just about the food then, but the pattern of other foods we eat them with as well.”