Eating Cheese Isn’t Even A Little Bit Like Smoking Crack Cocaine

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You may have seen a few headlines last week proclaiming that research shows we’re addicted to cheese, or that cheese really is crack.

While it’s all in good fun (maybe?) to exaggerate your love of foods by claiming they’re addictions, it’s important to remember that scientifically, practically, and even metaphorically speaking, eating cheese is not even a little bit like smoking crack cocaine.

The truth is that the two sources of scientific information that were most-cited in these stories actually don’t show cheese has addictive properties.

The first one, a study published this year by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked two different groups of people to rank a list of 35 foods from most to least addictive. Tasty items like pizza, chocolate and chips shot to the top of the list. Based on these responses, the UMich researchers hypothesized that highly processed foods with added fats and refined sugars are most likely to feel “addictive” to people. All the researchers did was perform a statistical analysis of the different types of listed food and speculate as to why they might be more addictive than others. That’s it.

The researchers themselves were uncomfortable with the “cheese is crack” headlines, and point out that their study found the opposite: people mostly struggle to control their intake of highly processed foods, not necessarily cheese.

“Our study found that people reported cheese … as less problematic than highly processed foods that contained added fat and high [glycemic load],” lead researcher Erica Orenstein told HuffPost. “Thus, the bounds of our data suggest that highly processed foods are most implicated in addictive-like eating.”

The second source of scientific data cited by most of the “cheese is crack” stories is a 2011 book called 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, —> Read More