This new study may justify your love of cheese

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Whether you're paying attention to what's on your plate more for its Instagram potential or, you know, its nutritional value, eating habits are important. Keeping up with the latest food trends ("_ is the new kale!") can score you major likes and major health benefits. But while the açai bowls and avocado toasts of the world might come and go, there is one food that will always stay near and dear to our taste buds even if it is a total indulgence: cheese.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition made headlines with the claim that snacking on full-fat cheese might not affect LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind) levels as we once thought—totally flying in the face of the splurge mentality we've built up around the beloved dairy product. But the findings have a few important caveats. The current case against cheese, specifically full-fat cheese, is that it's high in saturated fats—which keeps it on the no-no list of most dietary guidelines. But researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark questioned whether we've been unfairly vilifying the full-fat dairy product. One more piece of information to digest before you read the results: The study was partially funded by various Danish dairy organizations.

To see how eating full-fat versus reduced-fat cheese really impacts our health, the researchers split 139 participants into three groups: One ate about 2.5 servings worth of hard and semisoft cheese every day, a second group ate the same amount of low-fat cheese, and a final group, the control group, had no cheese, instead getting a carb-heavy diet of toast and jam. At the end of the 12-week study, the researchers measured a variety of health signals, including cholesterol levels, blood pressure, waist circumference, and blood levels of insulin, glucose, and triacylglycerol.

SEE MORE: Everyday is cheese lovers day

National Cheese Lovers Day recipes
See Gallery
National Cheese Lovers Day recipes

Instead of the full-fat cheese diet being a fast track to weight gain and skyrocketing cholesterol levels, the researchers found the opposite. Neither of the cheese-eating groups saw increases in waist circumference, blood sugar, triglyceride levels, or levels of LDL cholesterol (that's the "bad" one). But even more surprising, the full-fat cheese eaters saw an increase in HDL cholesterol (that's the "good" one), leading researchers to the conclusion that if you're going to eat cheese, the full-fat stuff is the healthier way to go.

The question mark keeping us from dropping everything to dash off to our local fromagerie to stock up on cheese has to do with overall diet. "One food is not going to make or break someone's health," says registered nutritionist Keri Gans. "What we should be focusing on whenever we look at specific foods and findings like those in this study is portion size and overall diet." The study didn't track what the participants ate (or how much exercise they got) outside of their portion of cheese. If the rest of your diet is very low in fat, getting a little extra in the form of full-fat cheese can be totally OK and even good for you (we do need fat as part of a healthy diet). But if you're already getting a lot of saturated fats from other food sources, these findings aren't an excuse to go crazy, says Gans. "No matter how you slice it, [consuming] too many calories is going to lead to weight gain no matter which foods those calories are coming from."

RELATED: The internet is obsessed with this rainbow grilled cheese

Rainbow grilled cheese goes viral
See Gallery
Rainbow grilled cheese goes viral
😍😱😰芝士係咩色?藍色?紅色?綠色? 全部都岩! 今日新開既小店 有唔同味既芝士 雖然個樣都幾核突lol 可惜我嗰份唔似人地可以流心 影唔到澎湃既效果 不過你又估唔估到幾款芝士係咩味呢? 食完今晚打埋食評再講😙
. #cic荃灣 -卡洛芝士吐司専門店 •開心首選 (勁量 $42)• 芝士控真係要去下呢間舖 因為佢啲野食全部都係芝士乜乜乜😍 我就梗係打大佬 一黎就叫個勁量開心首選🤘🏻 呢個toast既材料只有四種顏色既芝士 分別係 黃: 原味 紅: 蕃茄 藍: 薰衣草 綠: 羅勒 賣相好靚 一mit開個飽已經見到五顏六色既芝士 拉絲程度都幾勁 雖然佢有4個味既芝士 但味道既分別唔大 只係食得出原味同少少蕃茄 而且芝士味唔夠濃 同埋配料只有芝士 食到後面已經有啲膩味道有啲單調 最好食係個多士 勁香牛油味勁脆 呢啲咁邪惡既小食最啱同frd分享下啲kcal😂😂 呢個開心首選試一次就好啦 gimmick成份好重 賣相無疑吸引 好有創意 可惜味道平平無奇 價錢又貴 試試就好了 如果再有下次 我應該會揀其他款式 Score: 7/10. By: car 地址:荃灣荃興徑4-6號地舖 #hk #hkig #hkfood #hkfoodie #hkfoodies #852 #hkeat #hkfoodporn #hkfoodblogger #hkfoodlover #hkfoodstagram #hkdessert #hkdessertshop #hkfoodblog #foodporn #cheese #toast #foodblogger #食野 #食家 #食評 #相機食先 #吃貨 #香港美食 #芝士 #芝士控 #一路食一路post
We've all seen the rainbow bagel, but now there's a RAINBOW GRILLED CHEESE. Good thing it doesn't exist in the US (yet), because obviously people would be lining up for it. Hong Kong #EEEEEATS 📸: @hkfoodiexblogger
收工食宵夜😍又彩虹又紫薯😋😋😋 塊多士好脆好脆好脆,芝士完全五漏點解甘好味😩🧀🍠
#cheesetoast #nafoodielyn
This is our signature grill cheese toast - "KALAful choice, made of tomatoes (red), basil (green) and lavender (blue) cheese, all made out of natural food colouring. The ideas is to get people eating with fun!! We selected a mild version of those coloured cheese, so that the flavour won't be too strong to be resisted by any particular. However for those whom are big fan of those food flavour, we recommend you to try out any of those particular flavour on its own, to really tickle your tastebuds. 我地既特色吐司 "開心首選" 係由紅色番茄味, 綠色羅勒葉味, 藍色薰衣草味組成。 這幾款法國進口的顏色芝士都係經過我地精挑細選採購回來。選用比較溫和既味道,是希望可以比較容易讓香港的大眾接受。 如果你是想試出其真正味道,我們會建議大家點選個別的味道,作為吐司的口味; 例如"芝心蕃尋味"為你件吐司的口味,再加一至兩款配料另其口感更豐富。 #foodporn #cheesetoast #rainbowcheese #kalatoast #芝士控 #彩虹
覓食荃灣 Round 1 爆芝三文治加我最愛的紫薯口味! 好吃又滿足! #purplepotato #cheesesandwich #覓食荃灣
#Rainbow #grilledcheese #toast 🦄🌈🍞🧀 #hkfood #foodie #yummy
開心首選 $35 (普通版) 吐司烤到金黃酥脆 芝香滿溢 賣相令人心花怒放😍 不過四款芝士在味道上分別不大🤔分別是原味 蕃茄 薰衣草 羅勒 😅混在一起只有羅勒味較特出 🌟身為荃灣友 位置方便 會回頭🏃🏻 #ahna_cheese #ahna_toast #ahna_tsuenwan 卡洛芝士吐司專門店 (荃灣) 荃灣荃興徑4-6號地舖 #hkig #ahna_fooddiary #hkfood #hkfoodie #hkstreetfood #hkfoodblogger #foodporn #foodgasm #foodstagram #likeforlike #followback #tagforlike #likeback #相機食先 #芝士 #cheeselover #cheesetoast
开心芝士吐司; 吃得好乱,颜色特别,味道普通;但服务好好!!! 🙂 #alienoutofspace
七彩芝士 吐司 好膩🙈

So no, going on a cheese binge still isn't healthy (sadly). What we can take away from the study is that it's totally fine to enjoy your full-fat cheese when you do indulge. "The truth is most people will agree that full-fat cheese tastes better," says Gans. "People are usually having cheese as a snack, and I want them to feel satisfied and enjoy that snack as part of their overall diet."

More from Allure:
The 10 Best Mascaras Under $20
The 9 Prettiest Date-Night Makeup Looks
Find the Best Haircut for Your Face Shape
20 Celebrities Who Look Surprisingly Different Without Their Signature Looks

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts
Search Recipes