Sammy Nickalls
April 14, 2015 11:22 am

How many times have you thought to yourself, “Man, why can’t all healthy superfoods be filled with cheesy, gooey wonderfulness?” Probably many times, because #LetsBeHonest: Cheese is one of the best things on planet Earth.

Unfortunately, we’ve long heard that while cheese may be the perfect dietary choice for your taste buds, it isn’t exactly the best for your waistline. But here’s a conundrum: why in the world are French people so chic and lithe and healthy if their diet is jam-packed with brie? Like, seriously, it’s estimated that the average French person eats 57 pounds of cheese a year, while the average American eats 34.

In fact, this is something that TIME calls “The French paradox”: people in France partake in a diet rich in wine, baguettes, and cheese, yet they still have generally low rates of heart disease and are known for their trim waists. What’s the deal?

Recently, a new study — and the best study ever conducted, IMHO — suggested that people in France are not healthy despite their cheese intake, but partially because of it. Yep, you read that right. Read it again. It feels good.

The study analyzed 15 healthy young men (not a massive number, so more research needs to be done) who ate three different diets for two weeks. All of the diets had the same amount of fat and calories, but the difference was in the content: one was a control diet, one was rich in milk, and one was rich in — you guessed it — cheese.

Afterwards, the researchers analyzed the research participants’ . . . err, excrement, and found some very happy news about our beloved cheese. Essentially, they found that a diet with a healthy amount of dairy, especially cheese, might help modify gut bacteria to DECREASE the amount of TMAO your body produces.

What is TMAO? It’s a “metabolite produced when the body metabolizes choline, which is found in many animal-derived foods,” according to TIME — and it’s been shown to transport cholesterol to the arteries, which isn’t exactly a good thing. So basically, eating cheese is a good thing. 

The researchers were shocked, and still aren’t totally sure what to make of the findings, according to TIME. “We didn’t know beforehand what to expect, study co-author Morten Rahr Clausen told TIME. “Sometimes you find something that you didn’t expect.”

Maybe we love cheese so much that it is loving us back (and being nice to our bodies). Sure, more research needs to be done, but we’re certainly going to be rejoicing in the form of hot, melty, cheesy goodness. Get in our bellies, gouda!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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