On Wednesday May 25th, our class went to a cheese tasting at a fromagerie. After our final class of the day, we all took the metro together from the Accent Center (where we have our classes) to Monbleu. I went cheese tasting once with my family on vacation, but the cheeses offered were processed, familiar cheeses, so trying French cheese was a new and exciting experience for me. During this experience, I was able to try raw-milk cheese, an experience I would not have been able to have in the United States. Although I did not love every cheese I tried, I enjoyed being able to taste French cheeses and immerse myself in the culture of France, my home for the next 5 weeks.
As for the connection with class, the first research article we reviewed in NBB 402W was a paper about comfort foods and stress response in male rats. Previous studies showed that comfort eating led to less of a stress response in both male and female rats when given sucrose, which brought up the question of whether the macronutrient content or the palatability of the food led to the altered stress response. The study we read used cheese to determine that the palatability of the food was responsible for the decreased stress response in rats (Fourman et al., 2021). This preliminary study can lead to further studies regarding stress, comfort food, and obesity. If the palatability of food causes stress reduction in rats, could this be the same in humans? And if so, could healthier alternatives be substituted for standard comfort food (cookies, cakes, etc.)?
Another study found that Gouda cheese intake had a beneficial effect on stressed mice in recovering recognition ability. The researchers also noticed changes to internal microbiota, which suggests that the bioactive ingredients in cheese may improve mood and brain function. (Yun et al., 2020). The research in this study connects to French culture because the French diet relies heavily on cheese, meat, and wine, many foods that Americans would associate with disease and early death. Yet, citizens of France have a lifespan 3.5 years greater than that of people in living the United States. Because the study found that Gouda cheese intake may improve mood and brain function, this could be a large part of the Parisian’s longer lifespans.
Fourman, S., Buesing, D., Gervin, S., Nashawi, S., & Ulrich-Lai, Y.M. (2021). Limited cheese intake reduces HPA axis and behavioral stress responses in male rats, Physiol. Behav. 242 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113614
Yun, B., Yoo, J. Y., Park, M. R., Ryu, S., Lee, W. J., Choi, H. J., Kang, M. K., Kim, Y., & Oh, S. (2020). Ingestion of Gouda Cheese Ameliorates the Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress in Mice. Food science of animal resources, 40(1), 145–153. https://doi.org/10.5851/kosfa.2019.e81