Science Has Good News About Cheese

by Emma Cueto

Has the secret to healthy living been right there all along? According to a new Dutch study, eating more cheese may actually be super healthy. And while we probably should be somewhat skeptical of the news — it was funded in part by Denmark's dairy industry, after all — I am always down for anything that gives me an excuse to eat more cheese. Because, I mean, cheese.

The Study:

The researchers behind this study set out to examine how it was that French people could eat so much cheese, which typically thought of as bad for you, and basically not be a nation of walking health problems. I usually go with the explanation that in France the normal laws of the universe don't apply. But they wanted something more evidence-y, I guess.

The researchers had 15 men, ranging from young to middle aged, eat three different diets for two weeks at a time. Each one contained the same total number of calories, but varied in the amount of cheese consumed. One diet was high in 1.5 percent milk fat; the second was high in cheese; and the third allowed butter but no other dairy products.

The Results:

Surprisingly, the scientists found that while eating a diet high in cheese, the men had higher levels of short-chain fatty acids, which are considered to be anti-inflammatory, and lower levels of TMAO, a molecule linked to cardiovascular disease. Their explanation is that eating cheese might alter gut bacteria to produce more short-chain fatty acids and less TMAO, but the basic upshot is that eating cheese seems to be good for you.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this conclusion. This study's findings are in line with other research, but the issue is far from settled. Plus, there's way more to being healthy than just eating more of one particular food. If it were that simple, we'd undoubtedly have cracked the secret decades ago.

Nevertheless, it's nice to know that science has informed us it's OK to eat cheese. So now that you have the green light, here are a few ideas for how to celebrate.

1. Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is awesome. Plus science says people who eat more grilled cheese have more sex. Science is clearly very invested in you having a grilled cheese.

2. Extra Cheese Pizza

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Don't lie: You know there is always going to be pizza in your not-so-distant future, so now you can order it with some extra cheese for good measure. Extra cheese is good.

3. Caprese

Tomato, fresh basil, and chunks of mozzarella cheese? The French aren't the only people who have their cheese game on point. The Italians do pretty well, too, apparently.

4. Macaroni and Cheese

It's a classic for a reason. Go have some.

5. Cheese. Straight.

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When it comes right down to it, do you really even need anything to eat cheese besides...well, cheese? Of course not. Cheese needs no supporting cast. Buy a block of something yummy and just start cutting off slices. You know you want to.

Images: Maggie Hoffman/Flickr; Getty; Wikipedia Commons (2); Getty