British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

A comparison of the effects of cheese and butter on serum lipids, haemostatic variables and homocysteine

Anne S. Bionga1a2, Hanne Müllera3a4, Ingebjørg Seljeflota5, Marit B. Veierøda6 and Jan I. Pedersena1a3 c1

a1 Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, PO Box 1046 Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway

a2 TINE Centre for Research and Development, 0902, Oslo, Norway

a3 Akershus University College, 1356 Bekkestua, Norway

a4 Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, The Agricultural University of Norway, PO Box 5003, 1432Ås, Norway

a5 Centre for Clinical Research, Ullevål University Hospital, 0407, Oslo, Norway

a6 Section of Medical Statistics, University of Oslo, 0317, Oslo, Norway


Milk fat contains considerable amounts of saturated fatty acids, known to increase serum cholesterol. Little is known, however, about the relative effect of different milk products on risk factors for CHD. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of Jarlsberg cheese (a Norwegian variety of Swiss cheese) with butter on serum lipoproteins, haemostatic variables and homocysteine. A controlled dietary study was performed with twenty-two test individuals (nine men and thirteen women) aged 23–54 years. The subjects consumed three isoenergetic test diets, with equal amounts of fat and protein, and containing either cheese (CH diet), butter+calcium caseinate (BC diet) or butter+egg-white protein (BE diet). The study was a randomised cross-over study and the subjects consumed each diet for 3 weeks, with 1 week when they consumed their habitual diet in between. Fasting blood samples were drawn at baseline and at the end of each period. Serum was analysed for lipids and plasma for haemostatic variables and homocysteine. Total cholesterol was significantly lower after the CH diet than after the BC diet (−0.27 mmol/l; P=0.03), while the difference in LDL-cholesterol was found to be below significance level (−0.22 mmol/l; P=0.06). There were no significant differences in HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, apo A-I, apo B or lipoprotein (a), haemostatic variables and homocysteine between the diets. The results indicate that, at equal fat content, cheese may be less cholesterol increasing than butter.

(Received February 03 2004)

(Revised June 17 2004)

(Accepted July 09 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: Professor Jan I. Pedersen, fax +47 22 85 13 41, email,