Have you ever felt like it’s hard for you to give up cheese? Have you thought about the fact that cheese can be a drug?
The surprising news is that as early as the 1980s, researchers discovered that cheese contains negligible amounts of morphine. Seriously.
In 1981, Eli Hazum and colleagues at the Wellcome Research Laboratory reported the presence of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate, in cheese.
It turned out that morphine is present in cow and human milk, apparently to create a strong attachment to the mother in children and make them receive all the nutrients necessary for growth.
The researchers also discovered the protein casein, which breaks down into casomorphins upon digestion and causes a narcotic effect. In cheese, casein is concentrated, and therefore casomorphins, so the pleasant effect is stronger. Neil Barnard, MD, says: “Because the liquid is removed from cheese during production, it becomes a very concentrated source of casomorphins, it can be called a milky “crack”. (Source: VegetarianTimes.com)
One study reports: “Casomorphins are peptides produced by the breakdown of CN and have opioid activity. The term “opioid” refers to the effects of morphine, such as sedation, patience, drowsiness, and depression.” (Source: University of Illinois Extension)
Another study conducted in Russia showed that casomorphin, found in cow’s milk, can negatively affect human infant development and result in a condition resembling autism.
Even worse, cheese contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which contribute to the development of heart disease. Cheese is high in saturated fat (see Cheese Fat Table).
A recent article in The New York Times states that Americans consume about 15 kg of cheese a year. Reducing cheese and saturated fats may prevent heart disease, as “Unhealthy diets and lack of exercise kill 300000-500000 Americans every year.” (Source: cspinet.org)
As many people know, giving up cheese can be difficult because of the feeling it evokes, the opiate effect of casomorphine.
Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a former “cheese junkie” by her own definition, says, “You need at least a couple of months without cheese, let your taste buds come into line with your ethics. It sounds like deprivation, but your body will get used to it.”
“I love Brussels sprouts and butternut squash,” says Moskowitz. “I could taste the slightest difference between raw and toasted pumpkin seeds. Once you understand that you don’t have to sprinkle cheese on everything, you start to feel the taste very clearly.” (Source: Vegetarian Times)