Cheese is not associated with increased cholesterol

The fat in dairy products has a reputation for being bad for heart health and cholesterol levels. This is why some health professionals recommend limiting dairy in the diet, particularly regular or higher-fat dairy, such as cheese. However, studies show that people who regularly consume milk, yoghurt and cheese (including regular-fat varieties) are more likely to have a reduced risk of heart disease than those who don’t. Danish researchers compared the effect of cheese and butter on cholesterol levels and found cheese did not increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or total cholesterol. In this study, participants ate about 140g of cheese a day, which is much higher than the Australian Dietary Guidelines serve recommendations.15> A more recent meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials also supported these findings – where consumption of hard cheese lowered total cholesterol by 5%, in comparison to butter.16

 

15 Hjerpsted J, Leedo E, Tholstrup T. Cheese intake in large amounts lowers LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared with butter intake of equal fat content. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(6):1479-84.

16 de Goede J, Geleijnse J, Ding E, Soedamah-Muthu S. Effect of cheese consumption on blood lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2015;73(5):259-75.