June 24, 2017

Cheese addiction: the book

I missed this a couple of weeks ago when it came out, but Stuff has a pretty good story on the ‘cheese addiction’ question.

As long-time readers will know, there’s been a persistent story circulating in the media claiming that a University of Michigan study found cheese was addictive because of substances called casomorphins.  The story is always unsourced (or sourced only to another copy), and the researchers at the University of Michigan have pointed out that this isn’t remotely like what their research found. The difference now is that Dr Neal Barnard, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is fronting up. He’s written a book.

As the story on Stuff says (with added expert input), the cheese addiction claim doesn’t really stand up, but cheese is high in fat and there are things to not like about the dairy industry. And

While it’s not hard to pick holes in some of Barnard’s anti-cheese arguments, the book has good advice on what to eat instead

That could well be true but, as with paleo, you could find books that just give the recipes and leave out the scientifically-dubious propaganda.


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    Ras Gonzo

    Casomorphins[diary but more in cheese]. Cheese is the hash of diary!
    Glutomorphins[bread etc].
    Adrenaline and other stimulants and sedatives in meats.

    Most GP’s have never even heard of these words!

    4 months ago

    • avatar
      Thomas Lumley

      It’s a probably good thing GPs don’t waste their time learning about these things: there’s enough stuff that affects health and healthcare based on actual evidence for them to learn.

      4 months ago