But the benefits outweigh the bad when it comes to cheese. This doesn't mean you should start eating a block of cheese, or slices of pizza every day, because cheese does have high levels of saturated fat, that is linked to high cholesterol and poor lipid profiles.
Study co-author Li-Qiang Qin - who works in the Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene at Soochow University's School of Public Health in China - and colleagues report their in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Dutch and Chinese scientists examined dietary data from more than 200,000 people and came up with a surprising result. The research relies mostly on self-reported data, which can be unreliable, and only shows a correlation - not a direct cause-and-effect.
Her take: Consuming saturated fat from real, whole foods (like dairy products) is better - and even possibly beneficial - in comparison to highly processed sources, especially ones that also contain partially hydrogenated oils.
For their study, Qin and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 15 observational studies that investigated how cheese consumption influenced the total risk of CVD, as well as the risks of (CHD) and stroke.
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Researchers from Soochow University in China studied 15 experiments from Europe and the USA which tracked the diet and health outcomes of over 200,000 people. The majority of studies included subjects who were free of CVD at study baseline. People who ate a large amount of cheese had a 14% lower risk of developing heart disease and were 10% less likely to have a stroke than those who rarely or never ate cheese. Those with the lowest risks of these illnesses were those who consumed around 40 grams a day of cheese - a quantity around the size of a book of matches.
So why exactly is the dairy product suddenly good for you?
More importantly, the nutritional content of cheese still has its own pros and cons.
However, it is hard to conclude whether these associations had any influence on the study results.
The findings suggest "a nonlinear inverse association between cheese consumption and cardiovascular disease", or heart disease, the top cause of death around the world, according to the World Health Association. Low-fat is made with 2 percent milk and non-fat is made with skim milk.