If you are one of the poor, conflicted souls who loves cheese just as much as you love healthy eating (guilty), it looks like the concession of eating reduced-fat cheese all these years might have actually been unnecessary. Sorry.
According to a recent study put out by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition_,_ regular-fat cheese doesn’t actually increase your levels of LDL (aka bad) cholesterol. In a surprising turn of events, regular cheese actually has some positive side effects for cholesterol: It raises your levels of the good kind, HDL cholesterol, more than its reduced-fat counterpart.
The study followed 139 people divided into three groups over the course of 12 weeks. Group 1 was given 80 grams of regular cheese to incorporate into their daily diet, group 2 was given 80 grams of reduced-fat cheese, and poor group 3 had to go on without any cheese at all.
At the end of 12 weeks, there was no notable change in LDL cholesterol of the regular or reduced-fat cheese eaters.
There was also no notable increase in blood pressure, waist circumference, insulin or glucose levels in any of the groups. The only real change was in more elevated levels of HDL cholesterol, which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, in the group that ate regular, good old-fashioned cheese.
Regular cheese: 1. Reduced-fat cheese: 0.
But while regular cheese may be better for an increase in healthy cholesterol, it still has nearly double the amount of calories as reduced-fat cheese, making it a less than ideal choice for those who are trying to lose weight. Not only does regular-fat cheese have more calories, but the benefits it provides your cholesterol can also be found in other, healthier foods as well, from pine nuts to avocados.
So before you go nuts in the cheese aisle, we suggest figuring out what type of cheese works best for your weight, diet and cholesterol goals.