We’ve all been there, there’s no shame in admitting it. One minute we’re at a swanky soirée thinking how we’ll just sample a few cubes of cheese, and then…we’ve held everyone hostage demanding to be taken to the Cheese Overlords to fulfill our dairylicious destiny.
Whew. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us—it’s delicious cheese, remember? Not to worry, research and science have your back. As it turns out, we are actually chemically addicted to cheese.
In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories reported traces of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate. It turns out that morphine is found in cow milk and human, purportedly to ensure offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow. (Care2.com)
Huh. Well, that makes sense. The problem is that cows are weaned very quickly and so don’t build that dependency the same way human babies do. And of course, once cows are weaned, they no longer consume dairy naturally, whereas humans continue to make milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products a regular part of our diets, thus further exposing ourselves to the addictive opiates.
A University of Illinois research paper by Mueen Aslam and Walter L. Hurley states
Casomorphins are peptides produced from the breakdown of CN and possess opioid activity. The term opioid refers to morphine-like effects which include signs of sedation, tolerance, sleep induction, and depression. […] Once absorbed into the blood, these peptides can pass to the brain and various other organs to elicit an opioid effect.
Further research has shown that:
…ingesting milk products with casomorphins is not enough to cause addiction (and we’re talking just cow’s milk here—goat cheese lovers can rejoice without fear of addiction!). But it takes 10 pounds of milk to make just one pound of cheese, meaning there’s much higher concentration of casein (and casomorphins)—not to mention fat—in cheese. This higher concentration also makes it much easier to develop an addiction to the opiate-like compounds. […] The jury is still out on whether everyone who ingests cheese gets the same level of euphoric feelings (or any at all [Greatist.com).
There isn’t enough conclusive evidence to claim boldly that cheese is addictive to everyone, all of the time, forever and ever…so we’re not saying that. However, studies are certainly pointing to some interesting conclusions.
TL;DR? The cheese made you do it.