We have mentioned it on one or two occasions and it is a source of interest for many a nutritional scientist. How come the French, who consume a high level of saturated fat, have such low levels of coronary heart disease?
This was the question that a group of Danish researchers wanted to investigate. Their paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, looks at the Metabolomics of the paradox.
The idea is quite simple, if you just look at say saturated fat level in the diet then France looks like it should have a serious problem. But, studies have found that fermented foods can have beneficial effects on the body and cheese is a fermented food. So the researchers took 15 healthy men and put them on moderate diets supplemented with milk, cheese or a control diet containing butter for 14 days. They then measured certain metabolomes in stool and urine samples.
It was found that those that ate cheese had more small chain fatty acids in their gut, possibly due to stimulation of beneficial bacteria in the gut as well as an increase in lipid excretion. These differences and a list of others led the authors to conclude that cheese could very well be an important part of the French paradox.