PCRM Looks at “Addictive Qualities” in Cheese; Examines Caloric Content of Fast-Food Salads
According to the president for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit vegan group founded in 1985, recent, unpublicized studies have suggested that “cheese, chocolate, sugar, and meat all spark the release of opiate-like substances that trigger the brain’s pleasure center and seduce us into eating them again and again.” Neal Bernard also discusses research showing (i) “participants moving to a vegetarian diet have a harder time giving up cheese than almost any other food”; (ii) “the principal protein in cheese, casein, breaks apart during digestion to produce abundant amounts of morphine-like compounds called casomorphins”; and (iii) naxolone, an opiate blocker used to treat morphine and heroin overdoses, reduces the desire for chocolate, sugar, cheese, and meat suggesting that their attraction does indeed come from druglike effects caused within the
Bernard asserts that “just as Big Tobacco intentionally manipulated the addictive qualities of its products, Big Food does the same. Chocolate manufacturers spend long hours nailing down the exact proportion of fat and sugar that makes their products maximally addicting. Farmers breed and feed cattle in such a way to ‘marble’ fat through the muscle tissue, putting the most seductive possible sizzle in the steak. And cheese producers talk about their USDA-sponsored marketing program ‘triggering the cheese craving.’” He concludes by stating “it looks like Ronald McDonald may have more in common with Joe Camel than anyone dares admit. It’s time to share the blame.”
PCRM also recently issued a report contending that most fast-food salads are “no more healthful than a burger without the bun, dipped in salad dressing.” Nutritionists apparently rated salads at Au Bon Pain, Burger King, McDonald’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. Only two of 34 salads received high marks for high fiber and low fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. And a number of salads actually had more fat and calories than the largest hamburger sandwiches offered. McDonald’s Crispy Bacon Chicken Ranch Salad with Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing apparently has 51 grams of fat and 661 calories, more fat and calories than and the same cholesterol as a Big Mac. See The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2003; TheDay.com, May 19, 2003.