Cheese triggers same part of brain as hard drugs, study finds.

If you’re planning a few cheese boards this Christmas, you might want to know a little-known fact about cheese first.

Your favourite yellow food contains a chemical that’s also found in highly-addictive hard drugs, scientists from the University of Michigan have found.

The researchers used the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which measures a person’s dependence on different foods. They asked 120 students to answer the addiction scale, and choose between 35 foods, and then did a second test on a further 384 subjects.

Their findings? The foods that ranked top of the scale contained cheese.

Lovely, melty, cheesy cheese.


Cheese contains casein, which is present in all dairy products, and can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors, which are linked to addiction.

The study states:

The current study provides preliminary evidence that not all foods are equally implicated in addictive-like eating behavior, and highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse (e.g. high dose, rapid rate of absorption) appear to be particularly associated with ‘food addiction’.

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