Could You Be Addicted to Oreo’s? Possibly. Oct 23, 2013

Ever found yourself eating one Oreo and then look down a couple of minutes later and see you’ve actually have eaten a whole sleeve of Oreos? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone, and maybe aren’t to blame. Turns out, Oreo’s can be as addicting as cocaine, at least to lab rats.

A team of professors and students conducted a study intended to find the potential addictiveness that high-fat/high-sugar foods have at Connecticut College. According to them, after the rats had consumed an Oreo cookie, their brains activated more neurons in their ‘pleasure center’ and had stronger associations with pleasure than when they had been exposed to drugs such as cocaine and morphine.  

The tests were run by putting the rats in a maze that had Oreo’s on one side and rice cakes on the other. They then measured how long the rats spent on each side. Not surprisingly, the rats’ preference was typically Oreo’s.  Joseph Schroeader, a neuroscience professor at the college said, “Just like humans, rats don't seem to get much pleasure out of eating rice cakes.”  Then, the team compared the results of the first test to the same test that had rats with a shot of cocaine or morphine on one side and rats with shots of saline on the other.

The data shows that the rats who were lured in by the delicious cookie spent as much time on the “drug” side of the maze as the rats that had gotten shots of cocaine and morphine. Schroeder went on to say, “This correlated well with our behavioral results and lends support to the hypothesis that high-fat/high-sugar foods are addictive.” Jamie Honohan analyzes, “Even though we associate significant health hazard 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.”

According to the College, Schroeder is said to present this research in November at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego

So the next time you find yourself eating Oreo after Oreo, you shouldn’t feel so bad because there is actual scientific research to prove that they are addicting. But let’s face it, no research project is going to stop anyone from eating delicious Oreo’s.

By: Sierra Brown-Rodrigues

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