Cheese lovers, raise your glasses and your cheese cubes on toothpicks!
The French Paradox has finally been solved, and cheese is good for us. We can eat it without feeling guilty or Grandma reminding us that her dad ate two wheels of Brie a day and died of "the cholesterol."
It's called the French Paradox because French people have relatively low cholesterol compared to Americans, despite having a diet so laden with cheese. Cheese is supposed to be bad for us because it's made with milk fat, and everyone knows that anything that mentions the word "fat" will kill you if you look at it, let alone pile it on a pizza.
Except it's all untrue. Everything people told us about cheese being bad for us has all been completely wrong. Unless your cheese is tied to a badger, it's not dangerous.
For years, scientists and nosy parkers have struggled to understand why French people could eat all that wonderful cheese but still have arteries you could whistle through. They concluded it was a result of the French's love of red wine, walking, and innate rudeness.
So in order to replicate the effect, Americans began walking around their neighborhoods with giant jugs of red wine without any luck. We even tried being rude, but after arguing about the 2016 election on Facebook, our blood pressure rose, but our cholesterol didn't budge.
On the other hand, the French now look at us with grudging respect.
And it turns out cheese is not the problem at all.
"Patterns of dairy food intake, body composition and markers of metabolic health in Ireland: results from the National Adult Nutrition Survey" — that found adults showed no higher risk of elevated LDL ("bad cholesterol") just from eating cheese.
In fact, the study found that you couldn't elevate your LDL even if you ate large amounts of cheese, which is my favorite kind of cheese.
However, I'm told that a beef patty and four bacon slices underneath cheese is still not good for you.
Conversely, people who ate low-fat dairy products had higher cholesterol than those who ate normal dairy products. They even showed that people who had higher dairy intake had lower BMI, body fat, waist size, and blood pressure.
Real cow milk products 1, pretend cow milk products 0.
This study wasn't done by some celebrity quack with a TV show or a medical degree from an island in the Caribbean. It was done by honest-to-God university researchers who know a thing or (n+1) about science.
The researchers, who should all be nominated for sainthood, examined the food diaries of 1500 healthy Irish adults, and assigned them into four groups of cheese consumption: "low," "moderate," "high," and "non-consumers." The researchers used a cluster analysis to examine dairy consumption and blah blah blah I got bored. I heard enough of that nonsense in grad school. All I know is cheese is good, no cheese is bad, and fake cheese is the devil.
Think of what this means for cheese lovers. We no longer have to defend ourselves from cheese haters who mistakenly think soy cheese is an acceptable substitute and not a war crime. We can hold our heads up high and proclaim that cheese is healthy!
In fact, I would even call it a super food, but only because I'm completely uninformed as to what a super food actually is. Cheese is certainly more super than kale which, frankly, tastes nasty unless it's smothered in Ranch dressing.
Here's my argument for #CheeseIsSuperFood. In 2008, Dr. Gökhan Hotamisligil, the J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism at Harvard University, found that cheese contains a fatty acid called palmitoleate, which is actually beneficial to humans.
He told Time Magazine in January that "Palmitoleate neutralizes the damage caused by saturated fatty acids, acts like insulin by getting excess sugar out of the blood and is anti-inflammatory. Together, these properties can help protect against excessive lipids and type-2 diabetes."
Other studies referenced by Time showed that eating an ounce of cheese every day was linked to a 3 percent lower risk of stroke and a lower risk of heart disease. And now I'm wondering if I can lower my risk of stroke by 24 percent with that wedge of smoked Gouda in my fridge.
So, bring on your broccoli, your lima beans and Brussels sprouts, your cauliflower and asparagus, and bury it under melted cheddar. I'm eating healthy now!
I wonder if those giant tubs of cheese balls are healthy too.
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)
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