Why do the French have such low rates of heart disease when they eat so much meat? It's known as the French paradox (although it could be because the fats/heart disease theory is wrong)-and scientists reckon they've figured out the puzzle.
It's all to do with another staple of the French diet: cheese. Cheese seems to help generate the compound, butyrate, which is a natural cholesterol fighter, say researchers from the American Chemical Society.
Cheese seems to be unique among dairy produce to have this quality. Milk and butter didn't have the same benefits, the researchers discovered when they analysed urine and fecal samples of 15 healthy men.
Only the cheese-eaters had levels of butyrate in their samples. Butyrate is produced by gut bacteria, which seems to get a biological helping hand from cheese.
Their findings throw into question the saturated fats/heart disease theory, said lead researcher Hanne Bertram.
(Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2015; 63(10): 2830)