A recent study showed people who eat small amounts of cheese every day are less likely to develop heart disease than those who don't eat it at all.
Yet exceeding moderate portions of cheese won't boost benefits, and may in fact trigger negative health conditions, experts warn.
Cheese, like other dairy products, contains high levels of saturated fat-which has been linked to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease. An examination of over 15 studies by researchers in China has come to the conclusion that yes, cheese isn't actually bad for you.
However, the relationship between consuming cheese and having lower chances of heart disease was U-shaped instead of linear, the researchers discovered, which means that higher consumption of cheese doesn't mean even lower risk of developing heart disease.
This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day.
The researchers' findings were "certainly different from what people might expect", says Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis. He also cautions against reading too much into data that's self-reported-as much of the data was-because people tend to over- or under-estimate their consumption of specific foods.
Cheese contains healthy ingredients like protein, calcium and probiotics, according to the study authors. It may very well be that the people who ate cheese and had lower risks of heart disease may have been doing something else to make sure they were healthy, such as exercising. "There is some evidence that cheese - as a substitute for milk, for example - may actually have a protective effect on the heart". Overall, though, the news is good for cheese lovers.