Is cheese really addictive?
In our Cheese show we considered the suggestion from the President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Neal Barnard, that dairy cheese is addictive. In this 2003 article entitled “Breaking the Food Seduction”, introducing his book of the same name, Dr. Barnard writes:
Cow’s milk—or the milk of any other species, for that matter—contains a protein called casein that breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins. A cup of cow’s milk contains about six grams of casein. Skim milk contains a bit more, and casein is concentrated in the production of cheese.
I looked into the references from Dr. Barnard’s book that PCRM was kind enough to send. But the analysis I offered in the show was that the idea that cheese is addictive is at best overstated and at worst wrong.
This is why.
Vegan Cheese: Casein, Casomorphins, and the Daiya Redwoods Vegusto Taste Test
What is the secret of making cheese without dairy that stretches and melts?
Is there a cheese addiction?
What’s the past, present, and future of vegan cheese?
And if you brought together the leading vegan cheeses from Europe and the Americas – like Redwoods Cheezly, Vegusto, and Daiya – that aren’t meant to be available in the same country, let alone the same pizza – who would win?
(28 min) Play or download (26 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)
Spoiler warning: the results of the taste test are below the fold.