I hate pizza that has been plentifully bestrewn with cheese – said no one ever.
When cheese was brought into America in the 1970’s, the average American consumed 8 pounds of cheese each year. Grist reports that people are now eating 35 pounds of cheese a year and those numbers are on the rise.
However, it seems that cheese is has an addictive quality – as much as opium or heroin.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that cheese is more addictive than other foods as shown above in the graph. In testing addictive qualities of foods, unprocessed foods do not cause the same addictive behaviours as much as processed ones.
Erica Shulte, one of the study’s authors, told Mic that highly processed foods such as french fries and potato chips have a common denominator: fat. “Fat seemed to be equally predictive of problematic eating for everyone, regardless of whether they experience symptoms of ‘food addiction,'”
At the top of the list of fatty, processed foods is the carb-and-fat-filled deliciousness that we have grown to love – pizza.
The sugar in the tomato sauce and the crunchy crust also lights up our brain’s dopamine receptors and causes addictive behaviour and cravings. Casein, a chemical found in all milk products is capable of altering our thought process. According to Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, casein “breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins.” Multiple studies have shown that casomorphins interact with opiod receptors. These are involved in controlling pain, reward and addiction in the brain.
There is a very small dosage of casein in milk. However, to produce a pound of cheese, 10 pounds of milk is required and the substance that coagulates the solid milk fats a.k.a whey, is casein. The more casein, the more casomorphins.
The hormones released when we consume cheese are the same as the ones when we take recreational drugs.
However, there’s so many studies that say that cheese is beneficial for your health.
- Eating 8 or more servings of full-fat dairy a day can lower the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
- Eating 2.5 servings of a mix of high and low fat dairy a day can lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Eating 7 weekly servings of any kind of dairy may be associated with a lower BMI, less body fat, and longer life expectancy.
You can pick and choose what you wish to believe in. How about being addicted to the new drug a.k.a cheese for your health benefits?