Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 24 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Anthony Mary Claret
Aleteia logo
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Should you eat more cheese? Experts and health advisers disagree

Cheese Platter


Calah Alexander - published on 05/23/17

Don't overdose on your favorite Jarlsberg just yet, but there is hope.

Eating cheese — even full-fat versions — does not raise your risk for heart attack or stroke. Neither does drinking whole milk or eating full-fat yogurt. At least, that’s what a recent meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found.

An international team of experts pooled the results of 29 observational studies from around the world and found no increased risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or even all-cause deaths related to dairy consumption. In fact, they found a 2 percent lowered risk of cardiovascular disease from eating fermented dairy products, like cheese and yogurt.

According to The Guardian, professor Ian Givens, one of the researchers involved in the analysis, even asserted that the results invalidate the widely-held notion that saturated fats are bad for your heart.

There’s quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception. While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong. There’s been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.

Don’t go OD on Jarlsberg quite yet, though. Health advisers for Public Health England remained cautious, acknowledging that diary products are important for a healthy diet but maintaining that the link between the saturated fat in dairy products and heart disease is real. They recommended “choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.”

PubMed also urged restraint and insisted, contrary to what the study found, that “Consuming too much saturated fat or salt is known to be bad for us and can increase risk of health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease.”

The lack of confidence in the study’s results may have something to do with fact that the research was part-funded by three pro-dairy groups: Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia. Although the paper insisted that the funding had no influence over the results, the official skepticism is understandable.

So basically, go ahead and eat some cheese, but make it some cheese. Maybe cancel your reservations to the Melting Pot, or at least only go once a month. Aristotle’s advice is still the best, no matter how many meta-analyses we do: “Everything in moderation,” indeed.

Except low-fat cheese. Just … no. Protecting your heart is not worth killing your soul with low-fat cheese.

FoodHealth and Wellness
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
Cerith Gardiner
A collection of Pope John Paul II’s quotes on some of life’s most...
John Burger
Once considered for top post in Anglican Church, former bishop be...
Philip Kosloski
How kindness begins in your heart
Philip Kosloski
What’s the difference between confession and spiritual direction?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.