Overall, though, the news is good for cheese lovers. On the contrary, people in the study who took advantage of cheese benefits by eating a little each day were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke, when compared to those who rarely eat cheese.
"This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day", Dr. Allen Stewart of Mount Sinai Medical Center's Ichan School of Medicine clarified.
Cheese, glorious cheese. When Christmas comes around, we love the pungent stuff even more than usual.
Cheese is one of those foods that people can't seem to agree on, health-wise. In 2015, the population of the United States consumed the equivalent of of cheese per person, with Cheddar and mozzarella being the most popular choices.
While low-fat dairy products are considered more favorable than high-fat dairy products by federal nutrition guidelines, the meta-analysis found limited evidence that high-fat dairy could increase the risk of CVD, CHD, or stroke compared to low-fat dairy.
The new study, however, suggests that this popular dairy product could have the opposite effect on cardiovascular health.
Researchers for this paper analyzed 15 studies from the USA and Europe, which tracked the diets and health outcomes of more than 200,000 people. The majority of studies included subjects who were free of CVD at study baseline. This means that while the researchers had no proof that the cheese consumption caused the lower levels of heart disease, those who ate cheese regularly were less likely to be the same people who had heart disease.
The researchers' conclusions showed that there was an inverse relationship between cheese consumption and total risk of CVD, CHD, and stroke.
But don't stock up on the Cheddar just yet; both studies have their own limitations.
It's important to remember that cheese isn't some sort of miracle food. Also relevant is the fact that different types of cheese weren't studied, meaning that some may be better or worse for you in terms of reducing risk of heart disease and stroke. Low-fat is made with 2 percent milk and non-fat is made with skim milk.