The addiction to cheese...
What makes cheese as addictive as crack?
I remember when I decided to switch to a dairy-free diet first. I gave myself permission to have cheese pizza every once in a while because I was not sure if I could ever drop it completely. Shockingly, after a few weeks of dropping it completely, I did not crave it anymore.
So what really makes cheese addictive?
The question may seem silly, but it is mind-boggling to know that you are addicted to cheese.
In addition to various studies, Dr Neal Barnard, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), believes that cheese is just a welcome mat to cholesterol and also names it as ‘dairy crack’.
The inflammatory proteins in cheese can behave as mild opiates, making it addictive.
Casomorphins, which are fragments of cheese protein, binds to the same brain receptors as heroin and other drugs. As a result, every piece of cheese releases a small amount of dopamine in the body.
This is great for cheese manufactures, but bad news for us. Cheese is not only high in saturated fats and cholesterol but also has something called AGE’s or advanced glycation end-products. These are toxic molecules that lead to inflammation and oxidation in the body. Both of these raise your risk of PCOS symptoms, endometriosis, and even painful menopause transition.
Cheese is also concentrated in growth hormones, raising your risk of cancers and insulin resistance.
All milk products have a protein called Casein, one of the ingredients that makes cheese so addicting. Casomorphins are opiates released by casein after digestion.
So, what is the alternative to cheese?
There are various vegan cheese options available in the markets. At first, you may not like the taste or texture, but don't stop at one and try out the different varieties. You will not miss dairy cheese after a few weeks of dropping it from your diet. Like any addiction, it might be hard at first, but you will get over it.
What does science say?
The study, "Which foods may be addictive? The roles of processing, fat content, and glycemic load" looks at why some meals are more addictive than others. Cheese particularly topped the list because of Casomorphines.
This was observed irrespective of people with or without eating disorders.
Would you pick up smoking knowing it is addictive? Then why cheese?
Trust this helps,
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