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Addicted to Cheese? Here’s Why

Addicted to Cheese? Here’s Why

Ever felt like you couldn’t give up cheese?  Ever think it might actually be a drug? The surprising news is that as far back as the 1980′s researchers have known that cheese contains trace amounts of morphine. Seriously.

In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories reported traces of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate. It turns out that morphine is found in cow milk and human, purportedly to ensure  offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow.

Researchers also discovered the protein casein, which breaks into casomorphins when it is digested and also produces opiate effects. In cheese, casein is concentrated, and so is the level of casomorphins, so the pleasurable effect is greater. Neal Barnard, MD said, “Since cheese is processed to express out all the liquid, it’s an incredibly concentrated source of casomorphins—you might call it dairy crack.” (Source: VegetarianTimes.com)

One research paper states, “Casomorphins are peptides produced from the breakdown of CN and possess opioid activity. The term opioid refers to morphine-like effects which include signs of sedation, tolerance, sleep induction, and depression.” (Source: University of Illinois Extension)

And another research study conducted in Russia found that a type of casomorphin found in cow milk might impact human infant development negatively, specifically in a manner resembling autism.

To make matters worse, cheese also contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which contribute to heart disease. One ounce of cheese can contain a large amount of saturated fat (check out this Fat Content of Cheese Chart).

A recent New York Times article states Americans now consume about 33 pounds of cheese each year. Reducing cheese and saturated fat consumption is something anyone can do to prevent heart disease, since “Unhealthy diets and lack of exercise may kill about 300,000 to 500,000 Americans each year.” (Source: Cspinet.org)

But as many know, cutting back on cheese can be challenging because of the good feelings – the opiate effects of casomorphins – it produces.

Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a former self-described cheese addict said, “You need to give yourself a couple of months without cheese, some time to let your taste buds catch up with your ethics. It might sound like deprivation at first, but your body will adjust.”

“I started loving Brussels sprouts and butternut squash,” Moskowitz said. “I could taste the subtle difference between a raw and a toasted pumpkin seed. Once you figure out that you don’t have to cover everything in cheese, you start to become almost like a supertaster.” (Source: VegetarianTimes)

Hold the cheese please? What do you think? Share in the comment stream below.

Image Credit: Dorina Andress

Related Links:
Dairy-free Cheese
11 Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy
5 Milk Alternatives

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, , , ,

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291 comments

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3:45PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

I like cheese. A lot.

1:55AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

I've grown bored and tired of flagging insulting and out of control comments from disrespectful and rude members. It does little good as it seems to just increase Customer Support's work load so much, everybody ends up with comments deleted. I think it accomplishes more to leave them "in place" so everyone can see how ridiculous some extremists are.

There is nothing in cheese or any other "non vegan" food product that is actually "addicting". We merely like or even love the taste so much, we think we need more. There IS known scientific proof that some sugary or salty products "trick" the brain and make us feel "satisfied" and release pleasurable sensations (endorphins) but they wear off very quickly, so we consume more of those products to get that pleasure back. Ice cream, chocolate and potato chips are such products. Cheese is not "addicting" in the sense that we go thru physical "withdrawal". If it contains a minute/miniscule amount of morphine, so do poppy seed muffins (poppy seeds contain cocaine).

2:39AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Robyn H fantasizes with a comment right out an old dog eared copy of the DSM:

"Dale I is so very defensive...I wonder what's going on in his subconscious to make him that way?"

I wouldn't know about that, since I do not see a 'Dale I' in the thread, so I don't know who he is. Of course, the i key and the l key are right beside the o key, so it is likely the missive is directed my way via the way of a typo. O, say can I see?

The only ones appearing defensive are vegans who try mould the world in their own image. Good luck with that, given that out of the entire populace of the world, only three percent happen to be vegan.

2:38AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Perhaps some are overly defensive because the rest of us are not joining you when it comes to abstaining from dairy products, including the noble cheese in its infinite forms, textures and delicious flavours. Yes, savour the flavour, it certainly beats soy 'cheese' any day of the week. Perhaps some are miffed that when they gave up their own cheese past and still see the rest of us partaking in the forbidden food that they have to make up stories about how the rest of us are in the land of the 'addicted' or the 'selfish'.

2:38AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

"Going on in his subconscious to make him that way?"

Perhaps, a vegan purporting to know a tad bit about psychiatry/psychology and therefore just cannot resist rolling out the proverbial vegan couch to analyze why the naughty non-vegan 'infidels' dare to continue to eat dairy?

We must, according to vegan doctrine, have something 'going on in our subconscious' to make us behave this way, but of course. Eureka! The Order of Sigmund! Perhaps 60 sessions of psychoanalysis with the PCRM will change those 'dreaded omnivores' and dairy and egg eating vegetarians who still dare to 'cling' to the notion of eating cheese.

2:38AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

But, somehow I hardly think that three percent of the vegan populace of the entire planet is going to give us anything but the standard stock and trade answer of: "Whisper, don't eat cheese anymore because I gave it up and you can too, stop eating it (!) or... if I see it out in the open too many times, I might give into the temptation, order a pizza and detest myself in the morning because I fell off the proverbial cheese wagon!"

As for being 'defensive', no. I just happen to enjoy partaking in the written word and travel from cheese thread to politics thread to C2NN thread to women's rights thread, to vaccination thread and then to the most off topic thread on Care2 where a conservative continually demonizes President Obama in a topic that is really about the State of Virginia and legislation on certain aspects of sex thread and I write a lot, but that is because I happen to really enjoy writing and debating, not because of an imagined wished for vegan-in-the-making self consciousness lurking beneath my fromage eating way. Nice try, but no cheesecake.

2:37AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Of course, there is always Sarah c, who reached into the grab bag of personal insult, aka using the word 'idiot,' while also discussing the world of profit. There is a huge difference between the corporate world of the factory farm and small organic farms. Even the smaller veggie farmers are going to want to make some profit or even they would go out of business. Sarah c percolates in the mythology that anyone eating cheese is somehow 'selfish'. There is almost a religious fervour of doctrine about it all. If one 'gives into' the 'craving' to have cheese, then one is seen as weak in the vegan world, one is seen as giving into 'temptation' and then, of course, crossing that barrier into the realm of 'selfishness' if one dares imbibe in 'The Demon Cheese'.

1:34AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Thank you :)

8:31AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Dale I is so very defensive...I wonder what's going on in his subconcious to make him that way?

7:38AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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