What Parents Should Know About Cheese Addiction (Seriously!)

“What Parents Should Know About Cheese Addiction (Seriously!)” originally appeared on Fatherly, and was reprinted with permission.

Image source: Thinkstock
Image source: Thinkstock

It’s possible that you’ve sensed a pattern in your kid’s favorite foods — macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, string cheese, cheese cheese — but you’ve likely never questioned if they have a problem. That’s a researcher’s job, and you can bet your Babybel they’re working on killing your youngster’s dairy buzz. New findings out of the University Of Michigan reveals that cheese is delicious because the brain processes it like crack, which kind of explains how Junior reacts when you forget his cheese.

The study, published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, wasn’t initially looking to ruin your kid’s main source of protein. It all started when they had two cohorts, 120 undergraduate students, and 384 adults recruited through Amazon MTurk, complete the Yale Food Addiction Survey (YFAS). Unsurprisingly, food with high fat content and added fat and/or refined carbohydrates that rapidly absorb into your system ranked as the most addictive, which meant pizza, pizza, pizza.

Experts suspect this is because cheese contains casein, a protein found in milk that releases opioids known as casomorphins during digestion. “[Casomorphins] really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element,” registered dietician Cameron Wells told Mic. And you thought you were just doing your part to help with the national cheese surplus.

But before you devour all the cheese under guise of saving your kid from a life of addiction, it’s important to note that the overall opioid effect casomorphins have on individuals is widely debated among food scientists. Although you don’t want to get them started on it too early, it’s probably more reasonable to focus parental energies on modeling healthy eating habits and introducing new foods to their palate, instead of stressing about dairy rehab. Unfortunately, you’re still going to have to bring it up anytime you want them to smile for a picture.

h/t: Tech Times

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