Is Cheese Addictive

Author profile picture
Samuel Anthony
Sep 9, 2022
A cheesy pizza slice with strings of cheese stretching

Cheese addiction is real.

As a nutritionist, one of the most common questions I get is:

“How do you give up cheese?”

Often people say they wish they could go vegan but can’t bring themselves to give it up.

There is no doubt something about cheese has a hold on many of us, making it very difficult for some to make the switch.

A cheese shop display

What makes cheese so addictive?

Chemicals in cheese can bind with parts of the mind and body and bring about similar effects to certain hard drugs.

According to Dr T. Colin Campbell, a protein found in milk called casein is a relevant cancer promoter in cheese. [1]

When we break this same protein down, we produce drug-like casomorphins which “attach to opiate receptors in the brain and cause addictions to dairy products”. [2]

Pomegranate seeds with crumbled cheese

Cheese is the product of fermenting and curdling milk.

The milk of a mother cow attempting to feed her baby.

Like humans, after a mother cow feeds her baby, the baby will often fall asleep or enter a restful, trance-like state.

These same opiate-like compounds that help send a baby off to sleep could be the same reason cheese is an addictive substance.

A cheeseboard with bread, pretzels, cheese and grapes

Why is cheese more addictive than milk?

While milk is mostly water, cheese is primarily solid.

Manufacturers reduce the water content of the curdling milk to make cheese during the process.

For this reason, you need a lot of milk to make cheese, and with most of the water removed, you end up with a very potent milk concentrate.

More milk means more casein, and while casein is in milk, it does not compare with the amount of this harmful substance found in cheese.

“The more casein you eat, the more casomorphins are produced, and the harder it is to give it up.” [3]

Hard round cheese wheels

So the reason you are struggling to give up cheese is simple.

Cheese impacts reward signals in the brain and can become addictive due to the effects of the casomorphins. [4]

Simply put, your brain feels good. You can begin associating this with cheesy food, making it even harder to stop eating these foods.

Round blocks of cheese on white tray

How to Stop Craving Cheese, according to Veganuary [5]

  1. Don’t quit cold turkey
  2. Avoid vegan cheese…for now
  3. Replace cheese with something else
  4. Find your reason why
  5. Explore vegan cheese when you’re ready

Take time to transition, as sudden changes will cause more problems, and you will likely rebound.

Do not expect to find a vegan cheese that tastes the same as your favourite type - at least not until you are over the cravings.

Rather than try and replace like for like, explore something different.

Remind yourself of the reason why you do what you do. If it’s moral or for your insides, keep it in mind to motivate yourself because every mouthful matters.


Be the first to leave a comment below.

Leave a comment

Please note, by submitting this form your name and comment will be stored and displayed on this website publicly for other users to see. We respect your privacy.

Thank you! Your submission has been received! We will review your comment before publishing.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Sources & References

Plant-Based Nutritionist & Fitness Coach
View website
Facebook logo
Instagram logo
Pinterest logo
Twitter logo
YoutTube logo
TikTok logo
View profile
Green arrow pointing forward
Gordon Ramsay sharpening his knives

Is Gordon Ramsay Vegan?

Gordon Ramsay has been a dominant figure in the world of gastronomy for decades. As the world witnesses a remarkable surge in the popularity of veganism, a pivotal question arises: Is Gordon Ramsay vegan?

Read More
Soy in the form of silken tofu in a blue bowl

Is Soy Bad for You?

In plant-based diets, few ingredients have garnered as much attention and controversy as soy. Let's explore how brands like Tofoo champion organic sourcing to address these concerns.

Read More
High-protein tempeh on barbeque skewers with a vibrant orange plant-based dipping sauce.

Which Vegan Foods are High in Protein

Explore the world of plant-based protein with our comprehensive guide. Discover high-protein vegan foods, learn about amino acids, and unlock delicious recipes. Embrace a nourishing, sustainable, and vibrant plant-powered lifestyle today.

Read More