A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high daily intake of regular-fat cheese, compared to reduced-fat cheese or an isocaloric amount of carbohydrate-rich foods, did not change LDL cholesterol levels and metabolic syndrome risk factors.
Dietary guidelines for many countries recommend reduced-fat cheese vs. regular-fat cheese due to its high saturated fat content. The negative effect of regular-fat cheese however, is still up for debate. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, aimed to compare the effects of regular-fat cheese with an equal amount of reduced-fat cheese and an isocaloric amount of carbohydrate-rich foods on LDL cholesterol levels and the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
The team conducted a 12-week, randomized parallel intervention study (n=164) preceded by a 2-week run-in period. Study patients with at least two risk factors for metabolic syndrome were randomize to one of three intervention groups: regular-fat cheese, reduced-fat cheese, or no-cheese, carbohydrate control group. Patients in the regular- and reduced-fat cheese groups substituted part of their daily routine diet with 80g cheese/10MJ whereas patients in the control group did the same with bread and jam corresponding to 90g and 25g/10MJ, respectively.
Of the 139 patients that completed the intervention, researchers found that LDL cholesterol did not differ significantly between the regular-fat and reduced-fat cheese diets or between the regular-fat cheese and control group diets. In addition, there was no significant difference seen in HDL cholesterol between the regular-fat and reduced-fat cheese groups although the regular-fat cheese group showed higher HDL levels vs. the control group (0.06mmol/L; P=0.07).
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