Move over bath salts, there’s a new addictive substance that is all the rage these days. What’s more, you don’t even have to embark on clandestine maneuvers to get it, as it’s perfectly legal. You can even obtain it at your local grocery store.

According to a new study from the University of Michigan, cheese is a particularly addictive food. Working off data culled from about 500 students who completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale, researchers found that certain foods are more addictive because of the way they are processed (the more processed and fatty, the more addictive). Pizza in particular seemed to be ranked high as an addictive food, and researchers say that’s not because of the doughy crust or spicy marinara. It’s because of the cheese.

The addiction stems from a protein in cheese called casein, which is actually found in all dairy products (and is oftentimes the culprit behind certain people’s trouble in digesting dairy, not lactose). During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins, which trigger dopamine receptors and enhance the addictive quality.


(Photo: Instagram/liisa_f)

So next time you find yourself chowing down on hunks of smoked gouda or gruyere, maybe try a bit of self-compassion. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem. At least now you know it’s not your fault.

[via LA Times]