Out of all the addictions a human being can suffer from, perhaps this one is the most surprising, but studies confirm you can be addicted to cheese.
- The explanation lies in our brains
- The study shows the most addictive food out there is pizza
A new study has been performed, at the University of Michigan. And it was a tasty study, as researchers tried to find out which food is the most addictive. And they did. It is pizza, the Italian feast no one can go long without. But, in the process of discovering that pizza makes you crave it more than a pregnant woman craves ice-cream, researchers have also found out the reason why.
It’s because of cheese. Cheese, of course, is made from milk. Or, like Chandler from ‘Friends’ put it, cheese is milk you can chew. It can be made from cow, sheep, goat or buffalo milk and it comes in hundreds of shapes, sizes, colors, varieties and smells. Usually, it depends on the country where it is produced.
The technical process of making cheese means coagulating a milk protein called casein. It takes proteins and fat from the milk, which is usually acidified during the whole making process, and an enzyme called ‘rennet’ is added to make the milk, proteins and fat coagulate. The solids that come from this are then separated from the liquids and are pressed into a shape. Different spices, pieces of vegetables or dried fruit, as well as noble molds can be added to the cheeses. Also, almost all cheeses melt when heated.
But it is the little protein called casein that is causing all the commotion. The reason why it’s addictive is because it’s acting quite like crack does and creates almost the same effect. When we digest it after, let’s say eating a whole pizza, although we’re not supposed to, casein releases an opiate called casomorphine. It, of course, has an effect on the dopamine receptors and starts off the addiction process.
Dopamine receptors are linked to various neurological processes such as pleasure, motivation, memory or learning. This is the reason because of which, when casein from milk, found in cheese, triggers the dopamine receptors, it actually triggers the pleasure and memory reactions in the brain. And pleasure and memory combined mean addiction.
So there you have it. This is the ultimate proof that, when you find yourself craving cheese in the middle of the night, it is a real thing. We are all, to a certain extent, addicted to cheese and, as studies show, to the God given gift that is pizza.
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