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Changing the cheese can make a difference

06-Dec-2002

Changing consumption of normal cheese to cheese made from vegetable oils can reduce cholesterol levels in some people, according to a new study published in this month's European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers at Finland's University of Kuopio have found that rapeseed oil-based cheese could be a healthy alternative to normal cheese, although there will obviously be a much lower calcium level in the healthy cheese.

The team found that rapeseed oil-based cheese reduced serum total and LDL cholesterol in people with moderately raised cholesterol levels when they replaced ordinary milk-based cheese in the diet.

A randomized, controlled, single-blind, cross-over clinical trial was carried out on 31 subjects in Eastern Finland. The study began with a two-week pre-trial period followed by two four-week intervention periods. During the intervention study subjects replaced their ordinary cheese or cold cuts with 65g of rapeseed oil-based or milk-fat-based control cheese. The type of test cheese was switched at four weeks of intervention.

Researchers found that compared with the control cheese period the mean serum total cholesterol concentration was 6.7 per cent lower after two weeks and 5 per cent lower after four weeks using the rapeseed oil-based cheese. Respectively, LDL cholesterol concentration was 7 per cent lower after two weeks use and 6.4 per cent lower after four weeks' use of rapeseed oil-based cheese.

The researchers said that "this single change in dietary habit resulted in a decline in total cholesterol concentration similar to reduction achieved by general dietary advice at population level."

The research was funded by Mildola Ltd, Tuusula, Finland and Kyronmaan Juustomestarit Ltd, lsokyro, Finland.