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Science Says Cheese Is Addictive As Drugs, Here’s Why

Science Says Cheese Is Addictive As Drugs, Here’s Why

Do you love cheese? Really really love it? Have you ever jokingly made reference to your ‘cheese addiction’? Well, it may not be such a joking matter after all – scientific research suggests that eating cheese really does just makes us want to eat even more.

If you’ve ever reached the end of a meal but miraculously discovered that you have some more room in your stomach when the cheese tray comes out, you may be a cheese addict.

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It turns out that, just as is the case with hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, some foods provide a consumer with an intense and almost-instant ‘hit’ or ‘high.’

Why Cheese Is Particularly Addictive

In the research, 500 people completed a survey that asked them what foods most often prompted them to overeat.

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The researchers found that the most highly addictive foods contain significant levels of fat and are typically highly processed with a high sodium content.This explains why pizza is such a popular food – it is a manufactured rather than natural product, it is rapidly digested thanks to the high-GI level of the dough. Also, it is high in salt, and usually comes heaped with lots of cheese.

Let’s take a closer look at the chemical composition of cheese. Dairy products contain the milk protein casein, which releases casomorphins when it is digested in the human gut. This prompts the release of the ‘feel-good’ chemical dopamine in the brain, which can cement a cheese addiction even further! A glass of milk contains relatively little casein in absolute terms, but it takes a lot of milk to produce even a small amount of cheese. Therefore, cheese is notably high in these addictive proteins, which act indirectly on the opioid receptors in the brain. These are the same receptors that are triggered when a drug addict consumes a hit of heroin.

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Should You Quit Eating Cheese Then?

Does this mean you should quit eating cheese? The authors of this study believe that the most addictive foods – including cheeseburgers, cookies and ice-cream and of course cheese – can trigger unintentional overeating. This may be a factor in explaining why obesity is an ongoing and expanding phenomenon in the US and other developed countries. So should you throw out the cheddar? Not necessarily. As long as you enjoy a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables as the key components, feel free to indulge in this relatively harmless vice once in a while. Enjoy it with some low-fat, low-GI foods in the same meal to slightly temper the ‘hit.’

Featured photo credit: Global Panorama via flickr.com

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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