It’s the best news we’ve had all year: a study suggests that cheese consumption could be the key to a faster metabolism and reduced obesity.
Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark investigated the fact that the French tend to lead long and healthy lives while consuming diets high in saturated fats.
Though most explanations of this phenomenon, known as the ‘French Paradox’, focus on wine consumed and lifestyle, this new Danish research points to a simpler answer.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests that fermented dairy products such as cheese could contribute to longevity and health.
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The French enjoy a low incidence of coronary heart disease and an average life expectancy of 82 years, while consuming up to 23.9kg of cheese each year. The British who eat 11.6kg of cheese each year, suffer from twice the levels of cardiovascular disease and their life expectancy is 81 years.
Hanne Bertram, a food scientist at Aarhus University in Denmark, compared urine and fecal samples from 15 men whose diets either contained cheese or milk, or ate a diet with butter but no other dairy products.
Bertram found that those who ate cheese had higher levels of butyric acid, a compound which has been been linked to reduced obesity and higher metabolism. The higher butyrate levels were linked to a reduction in cholesterol.
This, Bertram says, “suggests a role for gut microbes and further shore up the connection between cheese and the French paradox.”
This, admittedly small, study isn’t the only research to link cheese consumption to the French Paradox.
In 2012, research suggested it was specifically Roquefort cheese that helped guard against cardiovascular disease, leading to good health and longevity.
Dr Ivan Petyaev and Dr Yuriy Bashmakov said the cheese, known for its mould and green veins, had specific anti-inflammatory properties that contributed to the occurrence of the French Paradox.
In their study they wrote: “Observations indicate that consumption of red wine alone cannot explain the paradox and perhaps some other constituents of the typical French diet could be responsible for reduced cardiovascular mortality.
“We hypothesize that cheese consumption, especially of moulded varieties, may contribute to the occurrence of the French paradox.”
“Moulded cheeses, including Roquefort, may be even more favorable to cardiovascular health.”
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