Which do you think is more addictive-Oreos or cocaine? A new study out of Connecticut College says they’re the same in terms of addiction. The study found that Oreos are equal in addictive properties to both cocaine and morphine in a study done with lab rats. In fact, the cookies actually made more pleasure center neurons fire in the brain than did the drugs.
It might not come as a shock to anyone who has opened a box of Oreos only to find it empty a half hour later with little memory of how it happened but with lots of chocolate crumbs all over their shirt and an empty glass of milk on the table. If you’ve ever experienced an Oreo binge, you can most likely relate to this scenario.
As it turns out, it’s not really your fault. Researcher say that the study sheds light on why some people are unable to resist so-called “bad” foods like Oreos, and that their findings may lead to a better understanding of obesity. Joseph Schroeder, a professor at Connecticut College says, “Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do. It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”
What’s more, the researchers say, high fat, high sugar foods might actually be more dangerous for us than illegal drugs because Oreos are extremely inexpensive and can be purchased almost anywhere. “Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat/ high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability,” said scientist Jamie Honohun.
Now here’s the part of the study results that sounds like a joke, even though it’s not. Researchers have revealed that the little jingle associated with Oreos also applies to the rats. The song goes “Do you know exactly how to eat an Ore? Well, to do it, you unscrew it, very fast. ‘Cause a kid’ll eat the middle of an Oreo first, and save the chocolate cookie outside for last.” Guess what? As unbelievable as it sounds, researchers claim that the rats also ate the insides first.
The scientists who conducted the study say that it will lend credence to looking at obesity as similar to other problems caused by addictive processes. To conduct the study, they observed the rats’ behavior when presented with a maze that had the cookies in one section and plain rice cakes in the other. The rats quickly figured out how to get to the Oreo section and they gathered there. Then, the rats were given cocaine and morphine in one section of the maze and a non-drug solution in the other. The rats spent as much time gathered on the Oreo section of the maze as they did in the section of the maze that featured the addictive drugs. The rats’ behavior also indicated that they did not get as much pleasure from eating the rice cakes as they did from the Oreos.
You may have already guessed it, but now a study confirms that when it comes to Oreos and cocaine, they’re the same in terms of their potential for addiction. Pass the milk!
By: Rebecca Savastio