They tell you to say cheese when you take pictures, but what you really can’t resist is another slice of cheese every meal or as a part of your snack. If you think about grabbing one more constantly, you’re not alone. What most people don’t know is that food addiction is real and it’s a problem in many individuals.
If you’re considering a switch or you recently switched to a plant-based diet, cheese could be your weakness. A study available in the US National Library of Medicine assessed why there are some foods that are more addictive than others.
According to the researchers, they have compiled a list based on the responses from 500 people who were measured through the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Pizza was on top of the list and this is not surprising. But there’s a specific ingredient in pizza that has something to do with the pizza love and that’s cheese.
Why Do You Love Cheese So Much?
While there are some foods that are addictive because of the processing and the amount of fat, cheese is more special. It has casein, which is a protein that you can find in milk products. When cheese is digested in the body, the casein in it releases opiates, which are known as casomorphins. These opiates affect the dopamine receptors in the brain and this immediately triggers an addiction.
Cheese addiction is real and its influence is really potent, which is why even some scientists call it as the dairy crack. There have already been a number of studies that showed how casomorphins latch on the opioid receptors, which are the parts of the brain responsible for:
- Controlling pain
- Reward behaviors
But Why is Cheese More Addictive than Milk?
Considering the fact that milk and other milk products also have casein, you’re probably wondering why cheese is the addictive one, not milk itself? The answer to this is that milk only contains a small amount of casein. But in order to make cheese, you will need about 10 pounds of milk. As a result, we ingest high amounts of the chemical in just a few slices of cheese. An average person though can eat around 35 pounds of cheese, which easily suggests that this particular dairy product is really addictive.
If you can’t really get rid of cheese in your diet, there are some healthy cheese recipes that you can try at home. Beware of highly-processed cheese, sometimes known as plastic cheese. This kind of cheese, along with other foods high in fat and refined carbohydrates, not only triggers addiction but also obesity.