Cheese addiction explained

cheese_shcokerd.jpgCheese is addictive because it contains morphine, reports the Internet: " It turns out that morphine is found in cow milk and human, purportedly to ensure offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow." [Care 2 via Gizmodo]


  1. It’s not really morphine (to my knowledge), it’s peptides that resemble it. This was the part of the rationale for casein and gluten free diets (gluten proteins also have peptides that are morphine analogs)for autism. The original food rotation/elimination guru (from the 1920’s?), Dr. Albert Rowe, described overconsumption of just about all favorite foods as an addiction.

  2. In unrelated news, the government of the United States of America today issued a recall on 342 varieties of cheese, citing “general health concerns”, and an apparent outbreak of salmonella in imported cheeses has caused the Customs Department to hold all cheese imports. US Army Corps of Engineers have been deployed to Wisconsin to handle levees desperately in need of repair [footage of troop transports and anti-personnel vehicles rolling out], and a tragic chemical spill at the processing factory of a major cheese-byproduct manufacturer [footage of men in clean suits rushing into factory] has caused it to be shut down for what officials refer to as an “indeterminate period of time”.

    This weekend, our 9th annual Taste of the Town Festival will feature many local restaurateurs cooking their signature dishes, with falafel, brioche, and fondue being this gentleman’s choi — [WE ARE EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, PLEASE STAND BY.]

  3. In high school, I drank about a gallon of milk a day. Minimum. Friends could tell when our family ran out. I would be grouchy and a little bit jumpy. We all called it my addiction. Even today, I drink more than necessary. Couldn’t care less for booze or anything else, but a nice glass of milk after not having any for a few days will just about make my eyes roll up in my head.

    Several years ago, someone was asking the presidential candidates what was their vice. Obama answered smoking. I gave him credit for owning up and thought it was a fair question for everyone. So I tried to figure out what mine was. People who know me agreed: milk.

    Hey, it’s my vice! Get your own! God damn it, somebody find me some 2%! Now!

  4. Ahem: “Source:” No bias to see here, move along please. (Bonus points for the spurious link to autism.)

    Your brain also contains plenty of opioids, like endorphin. Clearly this is the source of zombie’s addictive behavior, and their taste for fleeing people.

    1. Except that vegans are the ones who don’t eat dairy, not vegetarians. So would Vegetarian Times really be pushing a dairy-free agenda?

      1. What, you don’t think that vegetarians – especially those who bother to write about it – would be highly sympathetic to vegans? I don’t think that opinions fit into the discrete spectrum that you imply.

        1. I actually forgot about rennet. I remember so many “university vegetarians” would eat cheese for the calcium and protein. Little did they know. I still don’t think this is necessarily bias-driven since awareness that cheese supposedly contains morphine does not mean people will suddenly turn away from cheese. I think many people would simply be relieved to know why they crave cheese so much.

        2. Here’s a little secret, knappa: vegans and vegetarians don’t give a crap what you eat. Just as there are a few preachy veggie-types, so too are there a few preachy meat-types. Meat eaters are so self-conscious about it, but really, I couldn’t care less. Just another annoying stereotype.

    1. Why are people still commenting after this?
      This should have closed the comment thread, right?

  5. They’ll take away my cheese when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers (now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go mainline some cheddar).

  6. Am I the only one who’s asking what’s wrong with naturally occurring morphine? I think that 95% of human recreational activities have to do with acquiring some kind neurochemical buzz. Why start another mindless witch hunt for that mysterious evil which makes us middle class loafers in the industrialized world feel so tired and out of touch?

    Cheese is also a self-limiting addiction. Your cardiovascular system will burn out long before you start breaking into houses for cheese money.

  7. Cheese == morphine is a canard.

    Casomorphin is not, structurally speaking, even an opiate. Its effect is histidine up-regulation an has no bearing on opiate receptors.

    Histidine up-regulation is associated with increased vigilance and repetitive behavior, e.g., playing sudoku.

    1. Not in industrial cheeses. Generic mass-produced cheddar doesn’t use rennet from calves–too expensive.

  8. Its not just opioid peptides, “chemically authentic morphine” is well known to be produced by animal cells.

    Ill repeat that because it seems unbelieveable, but its true: your brain, and other animal brains, synthesise small quantities of actual, real morphine, as part of your normal metabolism.

    Look up “endogenous morphine” on Pubmed. Youll get articles like this one:

  9. Snig
    In answer to your comment
    “It’s not really morphine (to my knowledge),”

    Actually it is, as small amounts of morphine is found both in human milk (Hazum et al., 1981) and for any zombies out there, in the cerebrospinal fluid (Cardinale et al., 1987), while codeine is also found in the cerebrospinal fluid (Cardinale et al., 1987). Just for an added bonus for any zombies out there, small amounts of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT can be found in the cerebrospinal fluid of schizophrenic, psychiatrically normal humans and manics (Corbett et al., 1978).

    Hazum, E., Sabatka, J.J., Chang, K.J., Brent, D.A., Findlay, J.W.A. & Cuatrecasas, P. 1981. Morphine in Cow and Human milk: Could dietary morphine constitute a ligand for specific morphine receptors? Science 213, 1010.

    Cardinale, G.J., Donnerer, J., Finck, A.D., Kantrowitz, J.D., Oka, K. & Spector, S. 1987. Morphine and codeine are endogenous components of human cerebrospinal fluid. Life Sciences 40, 301.

  10. Seems fairly reasonable. I’m convinced all the moralists out there are knee-deep in the things they claim to hate, and are totally unaware of it. Stop trying to tell nature what to do.

  11. “reports the Internet” – When did the Internet become a sentient being capable of doing its own reporting?

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