Say cheese! Yes, it will make you smile but the truth is most people like cheese so much that they’ll smile even when they just think about it – I know I do. But is it just innocent love for this gooey and tasty type of food or is it an addiction that we’re just unaware of?
If you’re up to date with the hottest science discoveries, you may have heard that cheese is addictive. The headlines were making us all feel like addicts with phrases like “Cheese triggers same part of brain as hard drugs, study finds” and “Cheese really is crack. Study reveals cheese is as addictive as drugs”.
We all know that sugar is addictive but what about cheese and dairy products? What is this all buzz about? I dug deep into the scientific research and I can tell you that cheese is NOT addictive.
The study that was misinterpreted by many journalists aimed to discover which foods are the hardest to limit or eat in a controlled manner.
The participants were asked to judge foods in terms if they are problematic or not. The researchers gathered the data and concluded that the most problematic were highly processed foods which are high in sugar and fat. Unsurprisingly, chocolate, pizza, ice cream and chips all ranked very high on the list but cheese was only the 16th most problematic food, with a score similar to bacon and nuts. If you ask me it doesn’t really prove that cheese is addictive and the mere presence of cheese on the pizza which ranked as 4th problematic food is not enough to jump to such conclusions.
There were also theories that our love for cheese is fueled by casomorphins, compounds found in dairy products which by some people are thought to act similar to drugs. Well, there’s no science to support that but there’s a study to crush this theory. It was carried out on 84 adult rats which were divided into groups. The scientists tried to induce place preference using doses of morphine, beta-casomorphin, or placebo. The rats were then tested for place preference – only morphine was able to change place preference and beta-casomorphin had no such effect. Therefore the researchers concluded that this opioid found in dairy products has no addiction potential.
So although both cheese and drugs light up the reward system in the brain, cheese remains not addictive. Jumping to conclusions about the addictive properties of cheese is not supported by any scientifical facts. So the next time you want to munch on cheese, remember that it’s just another habit which you can easily change if you ever want to. That said, going completely vegan is not easy though!