by Victoria Simpson
So, the French are so romantic and sensual, and drink wine and eat creamy cream sauces and cheese and they do it all the time and they don’t really succumb to that much cardiovascular disease.
Why is that?
The wine obviously might contribute to the sensual element. That makes sense. But high cholesterol diets and low disease? Not typically a pattern we would believe in.
This past year, Danish researchers took time to delve into this puzzle of the French diet. They came to the conclusion that cheese was the magic ingredient. The French consume the highest amount of cheese per-capita in the world.
The study, admittedly was funded by a dairy company, but Gökhan Hotamisligil, chair of genetics and complex diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health claims the findings fall in line with other work in the field and that dairy consumption and protective effects in cardiovascular and metabolic disease are connected.
In the study, 15 young-to-middle aged men followed three varying diets for two weeks. Each diet had the same amount of calories, but different amounts of dairy. One was high in 1.5% milk fat, another allowed only butter but no other dairy products and a third was high in cheese.
Gross but interesting, researchers found that those subjects eating milk and cheese excreted higher levels of short-chain fatty acids, thought to be anti-inflammatory, and lower levels of a molecule linked to cardiovascular disease, TMAO. They concluded that eating cheese and milk might help the body alter gut bacteria to make less TMAO and more of the beneficial short chain fatty acids.
While the results of the study aren’t agreed on by all across fields of academic research, they are interesting and perhaps promising. And definitely provide a good excuse to bring on the brie.