It is a long-held hope of mine that someday, science will validate all my lifestyle choices. Maybe in 2024, a study will finally come out noting that a diet heavy in whiskey and ice cream is the secret to longevity and emotional health, or that Cheeto dust is extremely high in a cancer-preventing nutrient. (Probably not! Far more likely is that I have been poisoning myself in various subtle ways for years! Ask me in thirty years, if we get that far.) And finally, the good researchers at the University of Copenhagen have released a study that I can print out, laminate, and hand out to people who question just how intensely I linger at the cheese plate of every party. That's right: a diet rich in "high-fat" cheese (or, as we in the non-scientific community know it, "cheese") could actually be very, very good for you.
The researchers, who published their report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, did a 12-week test with 139 adults (admittedly a kind of small sample but, listen: cheese) and split them up into different groups. One group ate 80 grams of regular cheese a day (amateur hour), one ate 80 grams of reduced-fat cheese (a.k.a. "lies) and one group didn't eat any cheese (I'm so sorry). The group that ate regular amounts of cheese saw an increase in HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind of cholesterol that's thought to be heart-healthy. Yes! Add that cheddar to your scrambled eggs, and throw a healthy slab of swiss onto your breakfast sandwich. Rejoice, the dark days of cheeselessness are behind you!
This isn't the first time that cheese has been linked to good health and nutrition. Last year, a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Good Chemistry suggested that cheese and whole milk might increase your good gut bacteria. Obviously there's nothing super-conclusive here, and probably switching to a cheese-only diet isn't going to help you in the long run. (If you want to find out: I am here for you, science.) But the next time someone shames you for reaching for the whole mozzarella instead of the skim, you will have some truly incendiary links to send them.