Oreos Really Are as Addictive as Cocaine, Says Science

Categories: Wake Up Call

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It's really not your fault you ate the whole bag.
You think you can have just one, or maybe a two, and before you know it the whole bag has disappeared. But don't worry. It's not your fault. Scientists at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut are now saying that those beacons of chocolate cookie-and-creme goodness really might be as addictive as crack. Yes, we're talking about the Oreo. And almost more importantly, these super-smart scientists also settled the debate on which part -- the cookie or the creme -- reigns supreme.

Way to go, science.

See also: Can Wine "Experts" Really Tell The Difference? Science Says No

Neuroscientist Joseph Schroeder from Connecticut College led research about the cookie's addictive qualities. Using rats, Schroeder found that Oreos trigger the same neurons in the brain's pleasure center as cocaine. The study also found that rats given coke and rats given Oreo cookies showed similar levels of addiction.

To come to these conclusions, the researchers put rats into mazes with routes to either a rice cake or an Oreo. Other rats were put into a maze with saline solution and cocaine. Once the rats had explored the maze, they were able to choose which reward they wanted. Of course, the rats has a strong preference for Oreos (and coke), and in both situations spent similar amounts of time hanging around the zone where they received their rewards. The fact that the rats in both cases hung around waiting to score again indicates similar levels of addiction.

The scientists also noted that rats tended to prefer to eat the cream part of the cookie first. Indicating that, in fact, the inside of the Oreo is the best part. Even to rodents.

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My Voice Nation Help

First of all, this is not a peer-reviewed, published study. The researchers looked at something called "conditioned place preference". This is not the same thing as addiction, which is characterized by specific cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes. http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes food can be addictive. But this study did NOT directly compare Oreos to drugs. It compared Oreos to rice crackers, and drug injections to a saline control. The team never compared Oreos plus saline control to drugs plus rice crackers!

So, any conclusion about their relative addictive potential is invalid. The outcome would not change replacing Oreos with chocolate chip cookies, or cheese. http://thephysicspolice.blogspot.com/2013/10/rats-oreos-and-drugs.html

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