A recent study discovered cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs. It’s not the first food however, that affects our bodies in certain ways. Here are some foods that have various effects.

1. Cheese

The recent study was conducted by a team who wanted to pin-point why certain foods seem more addicting than others. The team used the Yale Food Addiction Scale and measured a person’s dependence on cheese. Scientists say the reason is because it contains casein. Casein is found in all dairy products and it can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors, which is linked to addiction. They further found that most foods that ranked high on the addiction scale contained some kind of cheese. One of the most addictive foods was pizza.

2. Processed and Fatty Foods

The study found that processed as well as fatty foods were linked with addictive behavior. The authors of the study said that fatty foods were the hardest to put down. A separate study found these foods to be very addicting: chocolate (milk specifically) was ranked pretty high on the addiction scale, next came French fries, donuts, bagels, sugary cereals, margarine, cheeseburgers, non-diet soda, potato chips (largely because of the salt), next came cookies, and then ice cream. Another study found cured meats, microwave popcorn, salty roasted snacks, and all fast food options.

A health expert at the University of Southern California says there is a neurological reason people feel the need for these foods, especially sweets. “Areas in the brain that control pleasure, reward, and motivation, those areas are all activated when people see sweet foods. So there’s this brain mechanism to explain why people create sweet foods,” said Katie Page, health expert.

Page also warns that this addiction should not be taken lightly—“a third of our population is obese right now, so it’s affecting everyone.”

There are alternatives if you find yourself in the midst of a nasty craving:

  • Brown Rice
  • Apples
  • Plain Black Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Banana
  • Salmon
  • Corn
  • Strawberries
  • Granola Bars

3. Aphrodisiac Foods

If you’re looking to go in a completely different direction with regards to foods that affect our body, these are aphrodisiac foods: hot chilies, asparagus, avocados, bananas, chocolate, honey, coffee, pine nuts, arugula, olive oil, figs, strawberries, artichokes, chai tea, cherries, pumpkin seeds, whipped cream, oysters, pomegranates, red wine, salmon, vanilla, watermelon, and walnuts. Various items on this list help with increased blood flow which helps with the aphrodisiac aspect.

Do you love cheese? Do you feel you’re addicted? Let us know which foods you can’t put down.