A new study suggests a link between cheese consumption and a healthier, longer life. Shutterstock/Yellowj

Cheese lovers rejoice! This is the best news we’ve heard in a while: a study suggests that cheese could potentially be the key to reduce obesity by increasing metabolic speed. Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark began studying the fact that the French tend to have long healthy lives despite consuming diets which are very high in saturated fats. And even though most explain this phenomenon, known as the ‘French Paradox’, with wine consumption and way of life, the new Danish research shows there’s a simple explanation: cheese.

The study shows that the French in fact consume almost 24kg of cheese per year, have less heart disease and a life expectancy of 82 years, while the British consume just over 11kg per year, suffer from much more heart conditions and have a life expectancy of 81 years. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published the study where food scientist Hanne Bertram compared samples from 15 men whose diets either contained cheese or milk, as well as those who included butter (and none other dairy products) in their diet.

The tests results lead Bertram to conclude the answer was butyric acid. Those who consumed cheese had higher levels of the compound in their system, which has been linked to reduce obesity and lower cholesterol. In fact, those with higher butyrate levels were linked to a reduction in cholesterol as well. Bertram says this “small study” narrows down “the connection between cheese and the French paradox” and “suggests a role for gut microbes.”

Many other studies about the benefits of cheese have been conducted in the past, including one in 2012 by Dr. Ivan Petyaev and Dr. Yuriy Bashmakov about Roquefort cheese, which indicated the molded varieties of cheese had specific anti-inflammatory properties that helped guard against cardiovascular disease, leading to good health and longevity.

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