Why Is Blue Cheese So Addictive?

Due to a substance called casein that is present in dairy products and has the ability to activate the brain’s opioid receptors, new research contends that cheese is addictive in a way that is comparable to drug addiction. The findings’ relevance was discussed by Nicole Avena, PhD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of pharmacology and systems therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. This is a first step in identifying particular foods and dietary ingredients that can cause this addictive response, the expert claimed. “This might influence how we treat obesity in the future. It may require adopting strategies used to reduce smoking, drinking, and drug usage rather than just “cutting back” on certain meals.” – Nicole Avena, PhD, an assistant professor of pharmacology and systems therapeutics at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine

What makes melting cheese so compelling?

The casein protein found in cheese, which your body converts into casomorphins, may have a moderate addictive quality. Your brain’s dopamine receptors bind to these substances, potentially causing cravings for related foods.

Due to its beneficial lipids, protein, and calcium content, this common dairy product is actually associated with a wide range of advantages.

Is cheese addiction a real thing?

There is a strong impression that cheese can be addicting. It can be challenging to refuse an offer like “Would you like cheese on that?” Everything tastes better with cheese, even the foods that are already delicious.

However, the word “addiction” is grave and should not be used carelessly. It is a medical disorder that involves intricate interactions between your brain, body, environment, and even your heredity, according to the American Society of Addiction Medication. Even though a person is aware of the negative effects of their obsessive behavior, addiction often takes the form of such behavior. When stopping an addictive behavior, withdrawal symptoms might also appear.

No. There is no solid scientific proof that cheese is addictive or has such profound effects on the brain as narcotics or alcohol.

That’s not to say that eating cheese won’t have an impact on your brain’s reward region; you might even develop an occasional craving for it. However, eating cravings and addictions are not the same. Additionally, they are not cheese-specific.

What meal is the most addicting?

According to Dr. Albers, these people might eventually get tolerant to the foods they are addicted to. To experience the same level of pleasure, they must consume more and more of them. They want to stop, and they are aware of the bad effects of their overeating, but nothing they do seems to help.

“According to Dr. Albers, many of the terms people use to describe how they feel about food, such as cravings, withdrawal, and feeling out of control, are closely tied to addiction.

Some people explain this issue in a different way, calling it a “Rather than a true food addiction, process addiction occurs. Instead of being dependent on the meal itself, people start to get dependent on the process—the pleasant, calming feelings—that occurs when they eat.

According to studies, people may turn to compulsive eating habits as a coping mechanism for stress and emotions.

It is obvious that many people experience addictive-like eating, which can have a severe impact on their health, self-esteem, and quality of life. More research is required on this topic.

The most addictive foods

The foods that are most likely to cause compulsive overeating share a potent combination of fat and carbs, such as refined grains and/or sugar.

There aren’t many instances of this enticing combination in the natural world. For instance, nuts are high in fat but low in carbohydrates, whereas rice is heavy in carbohydrates but low in fat. However, manufacturers of processed foods may combine components and chemically intensify flavors to produce mouthfeels that are so alluring that you keep wanting more.

Some of the most typical responses in a study where participants were asked which foods they were most likely to overeat were:

  • Chocolate.
  • Icy dessert.
  • fried potatoes.
  • Pizza.
  • Cookies.
  • Chips.
  • Cake.
  • Cheeseburgers.

Red flags to watch out for

If they are not addressed, food-addictive behaviors can contribute to health issues including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that are linked to a poor diet.

Wean off cheese

Can’t quit completely? I understand. Even if you’re the type of person who puts cheese on just about anything, you can still overcome your cravings for cheese. Start small, is what we suggest. First, decide which days of the week you will avoid eating cheese (have your morning oats with non-dairy milk, enjoy a grain bowl for lunch, have pasta with red sauce for dinner). Then, as the weeks pass, gradually increase the number of days without cheese until, at some point, your entire week is devoid of it.

Try nut cheese

There are several plant-based cheese substitutes, but it’s important to realize that these substitutes are not cheese. Giving nut cheeses some separation from the cheese you were raised on will help you avoid disappointment and enable you to enjoy nut cheese as a delightful food group on its own.

Additionally, if you consume just natural foods, watch out for some of the store-bought vegan cheeses, which can be laden with preservatives, oil, and sodium.

Get yourself some nutritional yeast!

One of the nicest things a former cheese lover can do is purchase some nutritional yeast, or as vegans prefer to refer to it, “nooch. This deactivated yeast, which can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets (and undoubtedly at natural food stores), doesn’t expand, so there’s no worry that eating it would cause a loaf of bread to bake in your stomach. Because it imparts a nutty and cheesy flavor to your meal, nutritional yeast is a fantastic addition to any spice collection.

once more, separating any plant-based substitute from the “The actual thing is better, but if I had to choose one cheese to compare nutritional yeast to, it would be parmesan. Excellent for sprinkling on popcorn, steaming vegetables, tofu scrambles, soup, spaghetti, and soup. With nooch, you can’t go wrong.

Cook with non-dairy creamy textures

Concerned that you won’t enjoy the creamy flavor that melted and soft cheese may impart to a dish? Without using dairy, you may still achieve creamy textures in your pasta, pizza, and rice meals. Consider avocados, raw cashews that have been soaked and blended, dairy-free milks (such as oat, almond, soy, and coconut), blended boiled potatoes, and blended white beans.

Explore other flavors

You may have used cheese to flavor your food up until now. Americans have a penchant for topping everything with cheese! So your food may taste bland now that you don’t eat cheese. However, things don’t have to be this way.

Your culinary possibilities really increase when you give up dairy and switch to a whole-food plant-based diet, which is one of the coolest benefits (contrary to popular belief that eating this way is restrictive). Your preference for flavor will suddenly shift from a slice of cheese to your spice closet.

A wonderful time! Explore, experiment with international cuisines that don’t typically include dairy (recipes from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean are great places to start! ), and browse Pinterest. Dinnertime may become an adventure.

Be patient!

Change doesn’t always take place quickly. Take each day as it comes. No concerns if you end up eating some cheese at a dinner gathering. Simply get back on the cheese-free horse when you have your subsequent meal or snack. Feel some compassion for yourself. It can be challenging to break unhealthy habits, but with time it gets easier until you don’t even miss it. In fact, in just two weeks, our taste buds can undergo significant modification. You can eliminate dairy products from your diet and keep the cheese protein. You can do this.

Is blue cheese healthy?

Nutrient-dense blue cheese offers a number of noteworthy health advantages. For instance, blue cheese, especially when compared to other forms of cheese, delivers significant calcium content. One ounce of blue cheese has 150 mg of calcium in it. While the daily requirement for calcium depends on factors including age and sex, most individuals should get at least 1,000 mg each day.

Additional advantages of eating blue cheese include:

Blue cheese can help people develop healthier bone density due to its high calcium content. Consuming calcium-rich foods on a daily basis, like blue cheese, maintains bone health and lowers the risk of osteoporosis over time.

Blue cheese’s calcium may also be connected to systems that fight obesity and lower body fat levels. Consuming blue cheese has been linked to lower levels of visceral fat in the abdominal region and improved gut health, according to studies. Higher mortality rates have been linked to excess visceral fat levels.

Spermidine, a substance found in blue cheese, may slow aging and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe that spermidine has a beneficial impact on cardiac muscle cells and other components of the cardiovascular system, despite the fact that the precise cause of this effect is still unknown. The “French paradox,” in which fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in France despite ingesting, on average, more saturated fat, may be explained by the presence of spermidine in blue cheese.

Does cheese have opium in it?

Outside your home, are there vampires and ghouls? Comparatively mild material versus what’s inside. Slice the blue cheese into pieces. The brevibacteria, which are the same bugs that cause—you got it—itstinky feet, are the source of that unpleasant smelly feet smell. How about the cheese’s mildly vomit-like aroma? It is derived from butyric acid, the same chemical that gives things their smell. Skatole, a substance that contributes to the foul smell of human waste (i.e., waste as in number two), is also present in cheese.

But there’s a reason I’m telling you this. Americans gain weight more quickly during Halloween and the subsequent fall months than at any other time of the year. One of the things is Halloween sweets. But cheese, pork, and other fatty meals are the main causes of our collective weight growth.

Cheese is one of the foods that is most ingrained in American culture, appearing in everything from creamy pizza to mushy macaroni and cheese dishes. In actuality, the United States now produces 11.8 billion pounds of cheese annually, and as a result, American cheese consumption and cholesterol levels are rapidly rising.

Here are five alarming cheese statistics:

1) The same microorganisms that cause body odor and unwashed feet also give cheese its fragrance. Cheesemakers add various microorganisms to milk during the fermenting process to create unique flavors and odors. Cheesemakers add brevibacteria—exactly the same bacterial species that lives on your feet—to manufacture Munster, Limburger, and a number of other cheeses, while other cheese cultures contain Staphylococcus epidermidis—the bacteria in charge of human body odor. Additionally, the process of manufacturing cheese results in the production of butyric acid, a substance that is identical to that created by your stomach acid during digestion and gives human vomit its characteristic odor.

2) One of the items that has undergone the most processing is cheese. Don’t be duped by the ads. Dairy products are frequently falsely marketed as “The ideal food found in nature, yet cheese is unnatural. Cow’s milk is pasteurized, bacteria-fermented, coagulated with enzymes, sorted into solids, salted, and aged to create cheese. It may then be cooked onto a pizza, placed inside of a casserole, or sprinkled on tacos, and then it is baked and salted once again.

Milk crack? Why is it so difficult to stop after one piece of cheesy pizza? It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective that we are predisposed to seek out foods that are high in calories, fat, and salt, a substance that was formerly scarce. Additionally, cheese contains casomorphins, which are weak opiate-like substances that bind to the same brain receptors as addictive opiates. When casomorphins bind to these receptors, just like other opiates do, the brain releases dopamine, causing a feeling of reward and pleasure. This mechanism is effective at making growing calves desire to eat, but it can lead to weight gain and other health issues in people.

4) The government actively supports your addiction to cheese. The American government urges Americans to reduce their consumption of sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat in the Dietary Guidelines in order to improve their health. But is the government actually doing what it says when it comes to cheese—a top source of all three overconsumed nutrients? The United States government receives roughly $140 million annually from the cheese industry, which it subsequently transfers to Dairy Management Inc., a company run under USDA supervision whose goal is to increase milk sales. DMI works with fast food companies to create cheesy, high-fat menu items and market them to the American public, spending millions of government dollars in the process. Two examples of DMI and taxpayer funds in action are the Wendy’s Cheddar-Bacon Lover’s Cheeseburger and Pizza Hut’s Ultimate Cheese Pizza, which has one pound of cheese per serving.

5) The typical American consumes 33 pounds of cheese annually. This equates to almost 60,000 calories per person, the majority of which come from saturated fat. In fact, the American diet’s primary source of saturated fat is cheese. It is the kind of “The unhealthy fat that causes cholesterol levels to rise and raises the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s illness Dairy protein, which is even more concentrated in cheese, has been connected to a number of health issues, including digestion issues, psoriasis, tendonitis, arthritis, migraines, allergies, asthma, and migraines.

Is cheese a more compelling drug than sugar?

Participants were surveyed by University of Michigan researchers to see which meals on a list were the hardest to limit or consume in moderation.

Unsurprisingly, highly processed foods like ice cream, French fries, cookies, chips, and cake that have extra fat and refined carbohydrates topped the list. Cheese was rated somewhere in the center; it was thought to be more addictive than steak, eggs, bananas, and broccoli but less addictive than sweet, processed meals.

Pizza was ranked among the top foods, but just because it has cheese on it doesn’t necessarily mean that cheese is solely to responsible for pizza’s allure.

Beyond the study, several news stories conjectured that casein, a protein found in dairy products, may be the reason why cheese is addictive. A licensed dietitian who was featured in numerous of the reports claims that the casomorphins that are released when casein is digested have a morphine-like, addictive impact on the brain.

However, there isn’t much proof that eating casomorphins has this kind of an impact on the majority of us. Additionally, the dietician who made the dubious assertion is employed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an organization that promotes vegetarianism and urges people to avoid cheese. Not exactly an impartial voice.

The fact that this article has received so much attention serves as a reminder that spectacular headlines about food are actually addicting. Unfortunately, there is no cure for that.