Now, I love cheese, always have and probably always will. I was that kid who only ate the cheese from the pizza and put the rest of the slice back in the box subtly (or not so much since I got in trouble for that more than once!!) I mean come on, who doesn’t fight for the piece of lasagna with the most cheese. Doesn’t the idea of melted cheesy goodness on just about anything make your mouth water??
I was inspired to write this post by Huffygirl’s post on America’s love affair with cheese. As she so nicely puts it, cheese is everywhere. Try ordering a vegetarian meal without it, good luck!! (Although I had the most amazing onion based meal last night at L’epicier, and no cheese!) But how does it affect us??
Cheese and depression
A recent article described a spanish study linking trans fat to depression. They show that people who eat more trans fat (which in this case came mostly from cheese, whole milk and butter) are at higher risk of developing depression. Interestingly they also found a link between eating olive oil and a lower risk of depression.
Calcium and weight loss
There’s an expression in Quebec which roughly translates to One is good, Two is better. It comes from the ads by the dairy community that encourages people to drink 2 glasses of milk every day. They’ve also been telling us drinking milk will help you lose weight. But when you really look at the studies, most of them show that there is no link. Some high dosage calcium supplements may help but probably don’t. And so, with it’s high fat content, cheese is definitely not going to help you lose weight.
I have tried giving up cheese a few times, and it’s really hard. Even just the thought of giving it up makes me crave some soft goat cheese. I wondered if it had any addictive properties, and that’s when I opened the Pandora’s box. A quick google search will bring up a whole lot of information and the mention of morphine. As in, there is morphine in cheese which makes it addictive (cue dramatic music!). Really??? That explains everything!!!
Well the scientist in me wanted to dig a little deeper. I noticed that a lot of these mentions were on pro vegan websites which I thought didn’t make them as objective and I needed, but then I found the origin of this rumour. There was a study in the early 80′s that demonstrated there in fact was morphine in milk. But in very very small quantities. So the focus turned to casein, a protein, that when digested releases another component that resembles morphine. And while casein is found in all dairy, it’s much more concentrated in cheese. It hasn’t been demonstrated if these molecules make their way to our brain or not, but I find it all quite suspicious. Some studies also suggest that children being weaned off breast milk (which also contains this morphine) display withdrawal like symptoms. This article even suggests that the cheese industry knows it all too well and uses these addictive properties for marketing… Scary stuff.
Wish me luck, I’ll let you all know how it goes!!