Oreo Cookies As Addictive As Cocaine

SpoonFed: Via CNN

Anyone who’s ever eaten an Oreo knows how difficult it can be to eat just one.

Scientists have long suspected that our brains crave junk food in the same way they crave other pleasurable substances, such as illegal drugs. Previous studies in rodentsand in humans have shown the same area of the brain that lights up on scans when people use drugs, also shows increased activity when study participants consume, or even look at, high fat, high sugar foods like ice cream or bacon.

According to  Medical News Today , A group of students and a professor of neuroscience have discovered that Oreo cookies may be as addictive as cocaine or morphine – to lab rats at least.

The study shows that for rats, the association between the pleasurable effects of eating Oreos and a specific environment were as strong as for cocaine or morphine and a specific environment.

For their study, the students gave Oreos to hungry rats on one side of a maze, and on the other side of the maze they gave them a “control” food, in this case, rice cakes (Prof. Schroeder comments that like humans, rats do not seem to relish rice cakes very much).

Then they gave the rats the option to go to either side of the maze (without the food present), and measured how long they spent on the side where they were typically fed with Oreos compared with the side they were fed with rice cakes.

High-fat, high-sugar foods ‘addictive’

Prof. Schroeder and one of the students, Lauren Cameron, furthered the research by measuring the expression of a protein called c-Fos in the pleasure center of the rats’ brains.

“It basically tells us how many cells were turned on in a specific region of the brain in response to the drugs or Oreos,” Prof. Schroeder explains.

They found Oreos stimulated many more neurons than cocaine or morphine. This is in line with the findings of the earlier behavioral experiments and supports the idea that the high-fat, high-sugar foods are addictive. [...] read more