In a 2016 study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that the fattier or more processed a food, the more addictive it’s likely to be. Unsurprisingly, foods containing cheese are ranked at the top.
Just this week, an article in Forbes highlighted not only the addictive effect cheese has on consumers, but the dairy industry's efforts to take advantage of it:
It turns out there’s a reason behind our cravings. Cheese contains casein. It also contains casein fragments called casomorphins, a casein-derived morphine-like compound. Basically, dairy protein has opiate molecules built in. When consumed, these fragments attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.
And the dairy industry has been using this addictive quality of cheese to sell its products for years. In fact, a presentation given in 2000 by Dairy Management Inc. (which collects money from dairy companies to promote its products) suggested that the best way to increase demand for dairy was to trigger consumers’ cheese cravings. Forbes explains:
The presenter broke cheese consumers into two categories: enhancers, those who sprinkle cheese on pasta, salad, etc. from time to time (not worth targeting), and cravers, people who LOVE cheese and will consume it whenever possible. This meant working with Fast Food companies to promote more cheese heavy products on their menus (Cheddar-Lovers sound familiar? Stuffed Crust pizza too!).
Countless studies show that dairy in general is detrimental to human health. For instance, cow's milk is linked to a 60 percent increased risk of prostate cancer for every two glasses consumed daily. And women who switch from dairy to soy products reduce their risk of breast cancer by a shocking 43 percent.
And to make matters even worse, cows at dairy farms are subjected to extreme confinement, mutilations without painkillers, and inevitably, a ruthless slaughter. They are denied nearly everything that comes naturally to them, including caring for their young.
You can protect your health and make a big difference for cows by leaving cheese and other dairy products off your plate. And fortunately, there are tons of delicious plant-based cheeses available to help you curb those cravings!
Click here for tips on leaving cheese behind for good.