You know the way your mouth waters and your eyes bulge out of your sockets when you see a melty cheesy piece of pizza being pulled from the pie, right? Chances are your heart might be beating faster, your pupils are dilated and it takes just about everything in you to hold yourself back and act like a civilized person when it comes to just about anything smothered in cheese.
You are not alone. There is an actual scientific answer for this, friends. It’s called food addiction. Pizza in fact is one of the most addictive foods because, well, cheese. Also carbs and veggies and meat and just plain goodness.
High fat foods in general are the hardest to put down, but cheese is present in most of the top ranking addictive foods, such as pizza, cheeseburgers, nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese etc.
The way most cheese is processed causes it to contain a very high amount of casein which is a protein found in all milk products. When casein is being digested, it releases opiates called casomorphins. Casomorphins trigger the same receptors as some hard drugs, causing it to release dopamine which is called the reward-motivated chemical and thus making your eyes goggle at the sight or smell of any sort of cheese.
It is well known that binging on drugs is no kale chip, so it can probably be safely assumed that binging on anything that produces a similar effect is not in our best interest either. Of course we can’t directly compare cheese to cocaine; that would be silly. We can however, look at how the pathways of drug to brain are similar – releasing dopamine and telling us that we did something good and we should do it again.
Cheese is not the enemy. But it is important to note that the way your body reacts to certain foods can determine how strongly you will crave the nachos covered in cheddar or the quesadilla with mozzarella oozing out the sides.
Pass the cheese please?