Gouda news for cheese lovers: Despite claims that the fatty treat does damage to your cardiovascular health, a review of 29 studies has found no evidence that full-fat dairy products like cheese and milk boost one's risk of death, heart attack, or stroke. While many dairy products are high in saturated fat—and health guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat in your diet, per the Independent—the studies involving almost a million participants showed dairy products have a "neutral" effect on health. Fermented cheese might even lower one's risk of cardiovascular disease slightly, the report finds, per Newsweek. Researchers acknowledge three pro-dairy groups helped fund the review but say they had no input in the results, per the Guardian.
"There's quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you," says Ian Givens of Reading University, an author of the report in the European Journal of Epidemiology. This is one reason why young people are drinking less milk, putting them at risk of osteoporosis in later life, he adds. But "our meta-analysis included an unusually large number of participants. We are confident that our results are robust and accurate." Some still remain unconvinced. A doctor at the British Heart Foundation, for example, says "decades of research have proved that a diet rich in saturated fat increases 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol in your blood, which puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke," per CNBC. (The US has way too much cheese.)