Most people adore dairy products, and cheese in particular, for the taste. The nutritional benefits are very appealing, too.
Unfortunately, Dr. Neal Barnard, author of The Cheese Trap, claims that our love affair with cheese is actually an addiction. As reported in USA Today, Barnard says that the dairy proteins in cheese can act as mild opiates.
According to Barnard, fragments of cheese protein attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics, so every bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine. The opiates, along with salt and grease, are what pull us in, says Barnard. He calls cheese “dairy crack.”
Barnard’s claims against dairy don’t stop there.
In his writing, Barnard promotes a diet without meat, cheese, and dairy as a good way to lose weight. Research led by PCRM indicates that animal fats slow down metabolism, and therefore links dairy consumption to weight gain.
Barnard is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), an organization that has long promoted a vegan diet. PCRM is a nonprofit organization that recently opened a clinical practice in Washington, D.C., which relies on plant-based medicine as a first step for treating chronic disease.It should be noted that many other studies have found dairy to be part of a very healthy diet, and dairy remains a key segment of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Three servings per day of low-fat or fat-free milk or other dairy products are recommended for adults.