A team of Irish researchers just released a study which contradicts most common beliefs about dairy products. According to it, eating cheese may actually help people maintain or lose weight. It also detected that a regular dairy consumption does not necessarily lead to higher cholesterol levels.
The latest research on the matter was carried out by University College Dublin researchers. They released their results earlier this week. The study paper was published in the Nutrition & Diabetes journal. It was titled “Patterns of dairy food intake, body composition and markers of metabolic health in Ireland: results from the National Adult Nutrition Survey”.
Eating Cheese May Actually Be More Helpful Than Believed
For the study, the research team studied 1,500 Irish residents. These were all aged in between 18 to 90 years old. The study analyzed the impact of a regular dairy product consumption. Besides eating cheese, this also includes milk, butter, cream, and yogurt. In order to establish their effects, the team tracked the participants’ health and fat body markers.
Contrary to belief, a regular consumption of saturated fats could actually be beneficial. Also, they established that low-fat dairy products may lead to a higher carbohydrate intake.
The team analyzed the impact of each individual dairy item. This helped establish that eating cheese does not immediately associate with an increased cholesterol or body fat level. For the study, the researchers specifically targeted LDL. This is the Low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.
In general, a constant dairy products intake was actually associated with a lower BMI or body mass index. It was also linked to a lower body fat percentage and a lower blood pressure. Some consumers also revealed a smaller waist size.
In contrast, low-fat dairy foods such as milk or yogurt led to the opposite result. People that regularly eat such products revealed a somewhat higher carbohydrate intake. They also presented higher LDL-cholesterol levels.
Just Eating Cheese On A Regular Basis May Not Be Enough
According to Dr. Feeney, the researchers noted that a regular and high cheese consumption did mean a higher intake of saturated fat. At least when compared to non-consumers. However, this diet did not lead to changes in the LDL-cholesterol levels. Dr. Emma Feeney is part of the University College Dublin and the study’s lead. As it is, she also pointed out the following:
“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, […]”
To put it simply, the researchers consider that studying just the dairy product intake is not quite enough. In trying to determine the effects of such a habit, research would have to take into account the whole diet.
The team reached this conclusion as they were trying to assess the current health guidelines. As it is, the researchers considers that the matter should be further studied.
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