Nutrition

Can Addiction To Cheese Be As Dangerous As Heroin? Study Reveals

Blame it on the cheese if someone asks you why you are such a cheese addict!

That is because the secret to your mysterious food addiction lies hidden within that creamy savory bite, which is hard for you to resist even if you are following a strict diet plan. The answer is Casomorphins!

Image Source: bitesizevegan.com
Image Source: bitesizevegan.com

Cheese and Casomorphins: The Disturbing Dairy Connection to Human Health

Casomorphins are protein fragments that are derived from the digestion of milk protein called Casein. In fact, Casein and Whey are the two types of proteins that are present in all dairy products. Out of this protein combination, 20% consists of Whey and 80% is Casein. Study finds that certain foods are additive because of the method through which they are processed. A natural cheese contains a lot of milk, which is then condensed and bacterially cultured to make it tasty. Foods that are more processed and are fatty, contain substances that can drive the addictive behavior of a person. In case of processed cheese, most of the liquid Whey is strained or filtered out, leaving behind nothing other than Casein.

The difference between these two types of proteins is the way they react when digested by the human body. In case of Whey protein, digestion takes place quickly followed by its rapid absorption into the blood stream. This stimulates the formation of insulin quickly.

The Casein on the other hand, is a slow process. The human body digests the Casein, which is then broken up to form fragments. One of these peptide fragments inside the gut leads to the formation of beta-casomorphin-7. This is similar to a naturally occurring compound known as the Opiate, which is actually the basis for a number of drug names such as Morphine, Oxycodone and Codeine. The drug like Casomorphin when released, are attached to the opiate receptors inside the human brain, thus causing severe addictive behavior response. This is called the Opioid effect. This is capable of producing a feeling of euphoria thus making it hard for most Americans to curb their craving for cheese.

Besides, the slow digestion of the Casein also imposes strain on the digestive system. This is because the human body has a difficult time trying to break down the milk protein. The Casein breaks down inside the stomach to produce Peptide, Casomorphin and a kind of Histamine releaser that can cause some people to be allergic to dairy products. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, some of the common health issues that are caused due to sensitivity to Casein are - constipation, bloating, gas or diarrhea. It can even result in skin problems such as rashes, acne, skin redenning and irritation.

But is that the only reason why you should concern yourself with eating too much of cheese?

The Harmful Health Issues Caused From Cheese Addiction

The concern here rather, is to understand the potential health impact casomorphins can have on one’s health condition. For example, dairy products like cheese, yogurt or ice-cream are said to cause brain fog symptons including forgetfulness, inability to focus or think, frustration and even confusion. The answer, according to Dr. Neal Barnard is Yes! While different people might react differently with regard to opioid drugs. Nevertheless, daily binging on sufficient quantities of drugs is harmful to the human brain and the body.

According to the recommendation guidelines of the National Institutes of Health Dairy, the average dairy cheese intake of a person should be clearly 1.5 ounces. A normal 14 inch pizza contains about 4-5 ounces of cheese on it. So, if you like having pizza, consuming a couple of slices could take you beyond the recommended allotment. While casomorphins is not the only reason why some of us love cheese so much, it also includes animal protein, saturated fat and lactose content that trigger the Insulin-like Growth factor 1 or IGF-1 inside the human body and hence is a reason why it is being linked strongly to malignant diseases like the Cancer. According to health reports, the insulin is capable of creating new cancer cells as well as the proliferation of cancer cell growth.

Too much of cheese consumption therefore, is harmful for your health. But then, complete abstinence from it might turn out to be far too difficult than any sacrifice for some.

Dr. Barnard prefers to call it, "…being hooked on casomorphins, the tiny, biologically active compounds produced when my body breaks down milk proteins”.

So what do you do now? The perfect answer to conclude this would be according to the doctor, "You do what you do with any drug you're hooked on you get away from it…You don't look at it, you don't smell it, and you certainly don't eat it."

Addiction is indeed a kind of disease that has the power to take over the brain activity, causing damage to the neurotransmitters. Boosting productivity through effective time management is certainly an effective life recovery skill that can help to recover an addictive brain and improve one’s life.

A post by paulinawhite (6 Posts)

paulinawhite is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.
Paulina is a psychiatrist holding a Doctorate degree from the Lincoln University, Oakland. She is a frequent contributor to many renowned magazines and loves writing on topics that cover human health,mental disorders and the contribution of medical science in the field related to the human brain.

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