It has been called “the world’s most popular food.” Everyone loves it (now, don’t deny). We love it so much it has come to a point where we’re addicted to pizza. In fact, we are, according to a new study.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with loving pizza. But if you ever need a scapegoat for your obsession with it, science conveniently found one: cheese.
Americans don’t need the results of a study to tell them that they love pizza. But the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted one, and now it’s officially a fact: Americans love pizza.
According to the study, 13 percent of Americans eat pizza on any given day. That’s one in eight Americans. Men eat it much more frequently than women.
The study also found that pizza provides about one-third of American’s daily intakes of sodium and calcium. It also provides more than half of their daily intake for lycopene.
The findings also show that kids who consume pizza get 25 percent of their daily energy intake from it. On the other hand, adults get 29 percent of their daily energy intake from pizza.
The USDA’s study clearly establishes that, yes, we love pizza, but didn’t find out why. Thankfully, a group of researchers went ahead and found out the reason for this national addiction.
A separate study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine wanted to find out what the most addictive foods are and why certain foods are more addictive than others. The research was based on responses to the Yale Food Addiction Scale. The scale was compiled using responses from 500 students who were asked to identify what they thought were the most addictive foods.
They found (to no one’s surprise) that pizza is the most addictive food. It was followed closely by chocolate, chips, cookies, and ice cream.
The reason pizza tops the list, researchers say, is because of cheese, which is a main ingredient in this Italian dish. Cheese itself is among the top-10 most addictive foods. Cheese is addictive because it contains the addictive compound casomorphin, which can be found in all proteins.
“Casomorphins attach to the brain’s opiate receptors to cause a calming effect in much the same way heroin and morphine do,” Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the US and author of Breaking the Food Seduction explained to Vegetarian Times. “You might call it ‘dairy crack’.”
Cheese is an extremely concentrated source of casomorphin.
Now you know why you’re so addicted to pizza. If anyone asks, just tell them it’s because of the cheese.