Doctors have been warning their patients to avoid high-fat dairy products like butter and cheese. The fear has been that these high-fat foods would raise cholesterol levels which would increase the risk for heart disease.
A new Danish study suggests that cheese may not be as bad as previously thought. The researchers assigned 50 people to follow a controlled diet for six weeks. During that time they were given butter or an equal amount of cheese. Those who were consuming substantial amounts of cheese did not have higher levels of LDL or total cholesterol. In contrast, cholesterol levels rose about 7 percent during the butter phase of the trial. The researchers were not able to explain why these high-fat dairy foods had different effects on blood lipids, but some experts concluded that cheese, in moderation, could be part of a heart healthy diet.
[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December, 2011]