Why Cheese is Like "Dairy Crack": Because It's Got Morphine In It

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Last week, I visited a cheese restaurant, where every dish is based around cheese. Before leaving the house, though, I snaffled a slice of brie from the fridge. Is this because a.) I'm a fatty, or b.) cheese is addictive?

If you chose both answers, you're right. Turns out that researchers have known since the 1980s that cheese actually contains small amounts of morphine—yes, the very same drug given in hospitals as a hardcore pain relief. It's not added by evil dairy farmers intent on securing their financial futures though, as is actually found naturally in both cow and human milk—which might explain a lot to new mothers who are having trouble shaking off their offspring.

Not only that, but milk also contains the protein casein, which provokes similar effects to opiates when it's turned into cheese, due to the casomorphins being greater concentrated. It's been previously described as "dairy crack" by the managing director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Neal Barnard, who claims that they "reach their peak about 40 minutes after eating." That might go some way to explaining those wild dreams following a late-night cheese quaffing session.


Those addicted to sausages and chocolate might also find their soft spot for cheese familiar too—this is due to the phenylethylamine chemical which is an amphetamine used in diet pills to simulate the happy feelings you normally get from eating a bar of the brown stuff. Now you know all of this, will it stop you from eating cheese so much? Will it heck... [Care2]

Image Credit: Cwbuecheler