There’s one food that many of us have absolutely zero self-control with: Cheese.
Whether melted in an egg dish, sprinkled on top of a salad, or on its own with a side of gourmet crackers and wine, cheese just makes most meals so much better.
And you kind of crave more when you’re done.
A new study now suggests that food addiction is an actual thing, which means you could very well be addicted to that rapidly diminishing brick of aged cheddar in your fridge, or to that pizza place down the street.
Published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the study examines why certain foods are more addictive than others. The researchers distinguished addictive foods from about 500 people who completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale. The scale is designed to measure whether someone has a food addiction.
The study was conducted in two settings: university and community. For the university study, the students (120 undergraduates) answered the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), then identified which among the 35 nutritionally diverse food items presented were most associated with addictive-like eating habits.
The results revealed that certain foods are addictive because of the way they are processed. As it turns out (but I probably could have told you this), the more processed and fatty the food, the more likely it was to be associated with addictive behaviours. Researchers found that the top-ranking foods on the addiction scale were those that contained cheese, most notably, pizza.
So yes, your cheese addiction is real.
It’s thanks to an ingredient called casein – a product found in all milk products – that cheese happens to be especially addictive. Casein releases opiates called casomorphins during the digestion process.
Basically, it triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs do, which is why you can’t seem to ever get enough of it.
There is some good news for the addicts, though: you’re not in this alone, we’re right there with you.