Do you know why the French have low cardiovascular diseases despite having a diet high in saturated fats? It is not because of wine or their lifestyle but another French staple: Cheese and its metabolism.

Researchers have revealed that those who consumed cheese had higher fecal levels of butyrate — a compound produced by gut bacteria.

Elevated butyrate levels are linked to a reduction in cholesterol.

"The results suggest a role for gut microbes and further shore up the connection between cheese and the ‘French paradox’," said lead researcher Hanne Bertram from the department of food science, Aarhus University, Denmark.

For her study, she and colleague compared urine and fecal samples from 15 healthy men whose diets either contained cheese or milk or who ate a control diet with butter but no other dairy products.

Figuring out why the French have low cardiovascular disease rates despite a diet high in saturated fats has spurred research and many theories to account for the phenomenon known as the "French paradox".

A recent study had also found that cheese reduced "bad" cholesterol when compared to butter with the same fat content.

The results were detailed in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.