Dietary cheese may impact cholesterol levels differently in men and women*
“…NMR based lipoprotein subclasses analysis suggest that lipoprotein response to cheese intake is gender-specific”
Reducing dietary intake of saturated fat is widely promoted to maintain good cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is also a major cause of morbidity arising from heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and the onset of vascular dementia.
Saturated fat intake is generally accepted as a key contributor to high blood concentrations of cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for maintaining cell membrane integrity and for the production of vital hormones, but when levels of circulating cholesterol become too high there is an increased risk of cardiovascular complications.
Although there is much evidence showing that reducing plasma cholesterol levels results in clinically relevant reductions in cardiovascular risk, individuals with plasma concentrations of lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol within the normal range continue to develop cardiovascular disease.
LDL-cholesterol is the subtype of circulating cholesterol that can form atherosclerotic plaques on the lining of arteries, impeding the flow of blood through them and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disorders arising.
One hypothesis to account for the development of cardiovascular disease despite low levels of circulating LDL-cholesterol particles is that the smaller, denser LDL-cholesterol particles increase cardiovascular risk, irrespective of their absolute concentration.
Contrary to the belief that saturated fat increases cardiovascular risk, studies have shown that the consumption of saturated fatty acids gives rise to the formation of large, buoyant circulating LDLcholesterol particles, which are thought to be associated with a lower cardiovascular risk.
The impact of dietary saturated fat on LDL-cholesterol particle size distribution has recently been compared between regular-fat cheese, reduced-fat cheese, and carbohydrate alternatives.
Fasting blood samples from adult patients with = 2 metabolic syndrome risk factors were collected at baseline (week 0) and after 12 weeks of receiving a diet containing regular-fat cheese (REG), reduced-fat cheese (RED) or additional carbohydrate (CHO) instead of cheese. These sampleswere analyzed by 1H NMR using a Bruker Avance IVDr 600 MHz system and the LDL particle size distribution, cholesterol concentration and more than 100 other lipoprotein parameters were determined using the Bruker IVDr Lipoprotein Subclasses Analysis (B.I.LISA) module
The data showed that regular-fat cheese did not increase either the number or size of LDL-cholesterol particles compared with reduced-fat cheese in the overall population. Interestingly, however, the effects of diet differed according to gender. In men, the REG diet decreased the total LDL particle count compared with the RED diet. In contrast, women on the REG diet had a higher number of high-risk small, dense LDL-cholesterol particles than those in the CHO group.
It thus appears that the lipoprotein response to dietary cheese fat is gender specific. Further studies are required to investigate whether saturated fat intake affects cardiovascular risk differently in women and men.
Raziani F, et al. Nutrition & Metabolism 2018;15:61. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-018-0300-0
* Bruker NMR Instruments are for research Use Only. Not for Use in Clinical Diagnostic Procedures.