You know how sometimes you just want to eat grated cheese straight of the bag and completely spoil your dinner? Or how you just go straight for the cheese and nix the crackers because CHEESE? Well, science has explained our insatiable hankering for cheese.
Recent evidence from the Society for the Study of Addiction has supported the idea that food can have addictive qualities, triggering that “can’t stop won’t stop” part of your brain. And cheese? It’s like the tobacco of dairy, in a really subtle but complicated way. Let us explain how it works.
So, you eat a bite of cheese. Okay, a whole cheese pizza. Okay fine, and also a grilled cheese sandwich. Inside that dairy you are feeding your body is a protein called casein. During the cheesemaking process, this protein gets really condensed. When it goes into your body, it has to break it down. Turns out, your body isn’t able to break it down completely. Instead, it leaves short strings of amino acids called casomorphins. “Morphins” equal morphine. The “morphins” part of that word triggers the opiate receptors in your brain, and suddenly, you can’t get enough of the stuff.
Also, our brains have evolved to LOVE fatty and salty foods, something that cheese is an expert in. You take something our body is programmed to enjoy and combine it with something our brain being triggered to want, and it’s literally impossible to put down that fried mozzarella stick.
Despite this, the USDA MyPlate program still recommends a pitiful ounce and a half of cheese for daily consumption. Don’t they know we have a problem? There’s no wiggle room for the addicts among us, but at least we have science to explain why our midnight snack consists of extra cheddar Goldfish crackers.
(Image via iStock)