Is cheese a functional food? My speech at the FFC Conference in Boston


Are dairy products healthy? And what about cheese in particular?

These are probably two of the most difficult questions to answer when it comes to nutritional epidemiology. Dietary recommendations still insist in focusing on nutrient content (particularly fat), but the evidence from epidemiological studies is far from being conclusive on this topic.

Together with my former colleagues at Gothenburg University, I published the results of two observational studies[1],[2] showing that cheese intake is inversely related to the risk of mortality. Therefore, that cheese can make you live longer.

Should we eat more cheese then? Is cheese equivalent to a functional food that can help us live longer?

This is the topic of my presentation at the 24th International Conference of the Functional Food Center, which will be held at the Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) on September 20-21st 2018.

I believe cheese has a lot of potential as a healthy food and it could potentially protect against chronic disease. The evidence from epidemiological studies still shows a mix between either neutral or favourable effects, probably because of differences among cheese types and because cheese is used as ingredients in many unhealthy foods (e.g. fast food).

During my speech, I will talk about bioactive peptides, milk fat membrane globules, and vitamin K2 and how a better understanding of the health properties of these ingredients could contribute to identify or produce healthy cheese variants, with favourable effects on the gut microflora, chronic inflammation and blood lipids.

What are you waiting for? Register now to the Functional Food Center Conference and meet me in Boston!



[1] Tognon G, Nilsson LM, Shungin D, Lissner L, Jansson JH, Renstrom F, Wennberg M, Winkvist A, Johansson I (2017). Nonfermented milk and other dairy products: associations with all-cause mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 105: 1502-11.

[2] Tognon G, Rothenberg E, Petrolo M, Sundh V, Lissner L. Dairy product intake and mortality in a cohort of 70-year-old Swedes: a contribution to the Nordic diet discussion. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Oct 28. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1556-2.


Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon is an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. He started his career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden. He has been involved in several EU research projects and has extensively worked and published on the association between diet, longevity and cardiovascular risk across the lifespan, also studying potential interactions between diet and genes. His work about the Mediterranean diet in Sweden has been cited by many newspapers worldwide including the Washington Post and The Telegraph among others. As a speaker, he has been invited by Harvard University and the Italian multi-national food company Barilla.

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About Me

I’m an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. I started MY career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden.

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