Great news for fondue fans: new scientific research has found that full-fat cheddar does not contribute to raised cholesterol.
The revelations made by the Irish-led study mean that people who were warned off cheddar in a bid to reduce their cholesterol may be able to tuck in again.
Full-fat cheddar had long been associated with health risks like high blood cholesterol, but a study of 127 people with elevated cholesterol has counteracted this long-established opinion.
The study by Food For Health Ireland (FHI) found that popular full-fat Irish cheddar cheese actually let to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels over a six week period when other forms of fat (like butter) were eaten.
RTE’s Science Correspondent Will Goodbody reports that researchers found others who ate equivalent amounts of fat in reduced-fat cheese did also see their cholesterol drop - but not by the same amount.
All in all, they found that full-fat cheddar does not reduce cholesterol nor increase it.
"This is an exciting result that demonstrates the importance of what has become to be known as the 'food matrix' whereby you consider the food source of nutrients (the 'matrix') rather than simply nutrients alone," Dr. Emma Feeney, the principal scientist conducting the study, said.
"Our next steps in this area are to explore the ideal amounts of cheese required to generate these results,” she added.
The news is also surely music to the ears of Irish-based cheese manufacturers, as cheddar accounts for more than half of cheese sold on the market with an incredible €108 million ($126 m) spent on it in the last year alone.
Time to celebrate? Here are some classic mouth-watering Irish cheddar recipes.