There are plenty of foods that get a bad rap for being unhealthy. Cheese is at the top of the list for many, but is cheese really that bad for you?
Turns out, according to new studies, cheese might not be the unhealthy food you think it is.
So how did it get the reputation that cheese is unhealthy? This is partly due to dietary guidelines issued by the United States that suggest eating low-fat cheese due to the food’s high saturated fat content that could raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. It’s also often blamed for weight gain and digestive problems, but cheese can get maligned.
While cheese nutrition was previously examined based on isolated factors like protein or fat, experts are now looking to examine the food more holistically, looking at how everything from nutrients to structure affects its function in the body.
Turns out, full-fat cheese might not be so terrible after all thanks to the way the nutrients and components are arranged. Essentially, our bodies process cheese differently than butter, for example, due to the way it’s created. In fact, a 2018 study showed that after eating both cheese and butter, during a trial, the saturated fat in cheese did not increase LDL as much as butter did.
There are a few theories as to why the saturated fat in cheese isn’t so bad. There is an idea that minerals in food help remove fatty acids from the body in the intestines, but there are also researchers who believe that these fatty acids help increase gene activity by helping the body break down cholesterol.
Now does this mean you should run out and eat cheese for every meal? No, it is still a high calorie food and is high in saturated fat. But you can incorporate it a little more than you might have thought. However, the idea is to make it a healthy and balanced diet, not add more cheese to the pizza just because you can.
If you’re a cheese lover but concerned about the nutrition associated with the food, you may now be able to relax a bit more.