The scientific study that led to the “Cheese is Crack” headlines did not prove that dairy’s like dope, but it did come to an important conclusion that was mostly ignored by the media. The study had 500 people rate foods from least addictive to most addictive and yes, cheese ranked high on the list, but the top of the list was dominated by processed foods. The more processed the food, the more fat added to that food, the more addictive it felt. See why they went with “Cheese is Crack”? “Manufactured Munchies are Meth” is a mouthful.
The addictiveness of processed foods is what should have made headlines! (Or the felt addictiveness; remember, no one was probed, prodded, or even fed during the study; they were asked for their opinion.) Companies know that processed foods are addictive and even test their products for “cravability” (ie addictiveness). If they can get us to eat a little, they know we’ll want more.
This is important for weight loss. If you’re trying to eat less, avoid highly processed foods as best you can. The more processed the food, the more addictive it is, so do yourself a favor and stop buying the worst of them. You might crave them for the first few days, but they’re not crack cocaine: you can resist and you can handle any withdrawal symptoms (like irritability, nostalgia, or desperately cleaning out the back corners of the cabinets) at home.