Why Full-Fat Cheese Is Good For You

Ready for the best news you've heard all day? Researchers say the healthiest cheese could be the full fat cheese.

Cheese board with multiple cheese varieties
Photo: Olha_Afanasieva/Getty Images

Break out the cheddar! New research suggests that full-fat cheese is actually good for you. After years of studies stating that low-fat or fat-free cheese and other dairy products like milk and yogurt were the best choice for a healthier diet, some researchers are saying the opposite is true.

According to Time, two recent studies show that full-fat dairy products, like cheese, have multiple health benefits. One 15-year study led by American cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, found that 3,333 adults had higher levels of three by-products of full-fat dairy linked to a 46% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. And while full-fat dairy has been linked to weight gain, a separate study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that full-fat dairy lowered a person's risk of being overweight or obese by 8%.


While this is great news for cheese lovers, it's still unclear how full-fat cheese can improve health. One theory is fermentation: Most cheese is fermented (except for "fresh cheeses" like some types of goat cheese and mozzarella) and may contain microbes that could lower the risk of diabetes. Or people who eat full-fat cheese might feel more satisfied from that creamy bowl of mac-and-cheese (yes, portion control is key), and less likely to eat more additional calories, especially from foods high in sugar.

We're not suggesting that a grilled pimiento cheese sandwich is healthy. (Oh, Southerners can wish!) But we'll be reaching for the good, full-fat stuff in the dairy aisle the next time we're in the mood for cheese.

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  1. Park A. The Case Against Low-fat Milk Is Stronger Than Ever. TIME.

  2. Yakoob MY, Shi P, Willett WC, et al. Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among Men and Women in the United States in Two Large Prospective CohortsCirculation. 2016;133(17):1645-1654. doi: 10.1161/circulationaha.115.018410

  3. Rautiainen S, Wang L, Lee IM, Manson JE, Buring JE, Sesso HD. Dairy consumption in association with weight change and risk of becoming overweight or obese in middle-aged and older women: a prospective cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 103(4):979-988. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.118406

  4. Zhang K, Bai P, Deng Z. Fermented dairy foods intake on the risk of diabetes mellitus: results from meta-analysis. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 46(3). doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2021.09.003

  5. Schuchmann C. Is full-fat food better than low-fat or fat-free food? UChicago Medicine: At the Forefront.

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