SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A team of Dutch scientists trying to figure out the French paradox discovered that cheese and dairy consumption may be the secret to a healthier lifestyle.

Lactose intolerant eaters won’t like the news, but the researchers studied 15 healthy young men as they consumed diets high in dairy and cheese fats for 14 days, and found that cheese had positive effects on both metabolism and obesity numbers.

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The study was funded in part by Denmark’s dairy industry.

The “French paradox” is a term first used in the 1980’s to summarize the observation that French people have low coronary heart disease rates while enjoying diets rich in saturated fats.

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The urine and fecal samples of 15 test subjects who ate diets rich in dairy and cheese were compared with 15 other subjects who consumed a control diet featuring butter, but no other dairy products.

The men who ate diets rich in cheese and dairy exhibited higher levels of butyrate, which is linked to healthier hearts and lower cholesterol levels.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests that the dairy products could help contribute to healthier bacteria in the gut.

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