Cheese consumption prevents fat accumulation in the liver and improves serum lipid parameters in rats fed a high-fat diet
Cheese consumption has been reported to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome; however, the mechanisms by which cheese prevents these disorders are not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cheese consumption on lipid accumulation in the liver as well as to evaluate various serum lipid parameters. Two groups (n = 7) of male Fischer-344 rats were fed the following high-fat diets for 9 weeks: AIN76-modified 20% fat diet containing casein and butter oil (control diet) or the 20% fat diet containing a freeze-dried cheese powder (cheese diet). Blood samples, liver tissue, and fecal specimens were collected and analyzed. Cheese consumption for 9 weeks reduced the accumulation of triglyceride and cholesterol in the liver (P = 0.016 and P < 0.001, respectively), as well as the serum non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol concentration (P = 0.013). In contrast, cheese consumption increased the serum HDL concentration with statistical tendency (P = 0.086). We also observed an increase in the serum adiponectin concentration at week 9 in rats fed the cheese diet (P = 0.029). Furthermore, cheese consumption also increased fat excretion in the feces (P < 0.001). Taken together, our results suggest that cheese mediates various beneficial effects for preventing the development of metabolic syndrome by suppressing the accumulation of fat in the liver.