“Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality,” swooned one aficionado, and many foodies agree. And yet it’s rich in saturated fat, which is why the Dietary Guidelines tell us to limit our consumption.
Even if you’re not that worried about saturated fat*, a new study suggests that you’re better off eating your butterfat as cheese than otherwise. Compared with an equivalent amount of butter, cheese consumption has more favorable effects on blood cholesterol levels.
Why would this be? Shouldn’t the same amount of saturated fat have the same effect on blood chemistry? Not necessarily. I bet it has to do with the fact that cheese also contains beneficial bacteria that contribute to a healthy gut. As we’re learning, the microbial content of our intestines affects our health in myriad and previously unsuspected ways.
So, as long as you can afford the calories, enjoy that cheese plate!
*See also: Is the link between cholesterol and heart disease bogus?