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  1. Basoodler

    If you have ever found yourself unable to resist just one more Oreo, you’re not alone. That “stuff” is like crack, neurologically speaking.

    A new study from Connecticut College shows that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats. According to the new study, eating the iconic black and white cookies activated more neurons in the rat brain’s “pleasure center” than drugs such as cocaine.

    “I haven’t touched an Oreo since doing this experiment,” neuroscience assistant professor Joseph Schroeder said in a school press release.

    The research looked at the rats’ behaviors and the effects the cookies had on their brains. Rats were put into a maze and given the choice of hanging out near rice cakes or Oreos. The tasty sandwich cookies won that popularity contest handily. Those results were compared to a different test, where rats were given the choice of loitering in an area of a maze where they were injected with saline or in another corner where they could get a shot of cocaine or morphine.

    The rats in the study liked the cookies about as much as they liked the drugs, congregating near the cookie side of the maze as much as they would on the drug side.

    Much like humans, rats also prefer the delicious creamy center to the cookie. “They would break it open and eat the middle first,” said Jamie Honohun, one of the students who worked on the study.

    “These findings suggest that high fat/sugar foods and drugs of abuse trigger brain addictive processes to the same degree and lend support to the hypothesis that maladaptive eating behaviors contributing to obesity can be compared to drug addiction,” Schroeder’s team writes in a statement describing the study.

    Not addictive?Rice cakes. “Just like humans, rats don’t seem to get much pleasure out of eating them,” Schroeder said.



  1. Basoodler
    Oreo cookies as addictive as cocaine - to lab rats

    Editor's Choice
    Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs Also Included In: Neurology / Neuroscience; Obesity / Weight Loss /Fitness
    Article Date: 18 Oct 2013 - 2:00 PDT

    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.

    Professor Joseph Schroeder and his students at Connecticut College were conducting research on the addictiveness of high-fat and high-sugar foods, and how, for instance, they may contribute to the obesity epidemic.

    Prof. Schroeder 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."

    One of the students, Jamie Honohan (who has since graduated with a BA in Behavioral Neuroscience), was particularly interested in human motivation and food, and how the obesity epidemic may be linked to the prevalence of high-fat, high-sugar foods in low-income neighborhoods. It was her idea to use Oreos, as she explains in a statement issued this week:

    "We chose Oreos not only because they are America's favorite cookie, and highly palatable to rats, but also because products containing high amounts of fat and sugar are heavily marketed in communities with lower socioeconomic statuses."

    The results of their study are being presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference that is taking place early November in San Diego, CA.

    Measuring pleasurable effects

    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.

    The researchers then repeated the experiment with another group of rats. This time, instead of feeding them Oreos and rice cakes, they injected them with addictive drugs - such as cocaine and morphine -when they were on one side of the maze, or saline, when they were on the other side. (Prof. Schroeder is licensed to carry out this kind of experiment).

    The results show that the rats "addicted" to Oreos spent as much time on the side where they had been conditioned with Oreos as the rats that had been conditioned with addictive drugs spent on the drugs side of their maze.

    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.

    In 2011, a team from Yale University reported finding that food addiction and substance dependence have similar brain activity.

    And finally, one interesting observation - it seems that just like humans, rats eat the middle of an Oreo first.

    Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
  2. scartissue_68
    I wish researchers would stop using illegal drugs as a benchmark for addiction.

    Wouldn't everyone love to see the headline?

    Science proves:
    Doritos are as just as addictive as Oreos

    Is this not far more relateable to the average person?
  3. Alien Sex Fiend
    Always hated that white nasty stuff between the oreos. if only oreos were sold like two cookies and not glued together with spunk, oreos would be ok
  4. Diverboone
    This may sound funny to most, but beware, there could very well be more to this than realized. More people died from obesity and it's relate issues than do from all crime and illegal drugs. With the ever increasing attempts to govern health in the U S, it's just a matter of time till they decide that Oreo's and many other foods are just too dangerous to allow the public to posses or consume. The increasing obesity rate shows that we are unable to make wise diet choices, so these highly addictive and fatten foods will have to go.
    You may think that's far fetch and crazy. All one has to do is look at New York's attempt to control dietary habits through a band. New York City has approved the first US ban on large-size sodas and other sugary drinks being sold in restaurants and other eateries. The measure was passed by eight members of the city's mayoral-appointed health board, with one member abstaining. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for the ban as a way to reduce obesity and its related health problems.

    New York's Supreme Court invalidated the law before it went into effect. But the most surprising element is that. On September 13, 2012, New York City's Board of Health voted unanimously in favor of the proposed regulation. Not one person on this board objected to the Government's intrusion into our daily dietary habits.

    We as American's can no longer be trusted to choose the type and size of drink to consume. How could anyone believe for one moment that we are free. Is these the freedom that soldiers are fighting for? Well hopefully no one believes that our soldiers are fighting for our freedom either, but that's a different subject.
  5. Phenoxide
    Well.. I'd need a bit of comfort food too if I was locked in a cage with grad students poking me and randomly shooting me up every so often. Rice cakes wouldn't cut it. I also love the way they justify the experiments by turning oreos into a class issue. The way its reported it just sounds like scientists doing wacky experiments in order to state the obvious - animals are wired to enjoy calorific food!

    A study to fit the headline would've been to condition the rats to oreos and cocaine on opposite sides of the cage, and then see which side they hang out on. My bet would be that the cocaine wins, but if not, I'm going to make my fortune setting up the first Oreo rehab facility.
  6. Diverboone

    I believe you would be much more fortunate to invest in massive supply, to enter in the sales and distribution of Oreo's. Once the existing supplies were depleted following the band, you would to stand to make a huge profit.
    That is until the "Secrets to Illegal Oreo Manufacture" is published. Once the publication is made public, sale all remaining Oreo stock and take a two year vacation on some foreign island, To study and develop a urine test to detect Oreo use.
    Sale the patent to this urine test, and invest everything you can into private prison companies. This should return sufficient funds for retirement. But if you still want to play in the game, start the rehab.
  7. babalooj
    I am pretty sure they did a study like what you described, i've heard and read it quite a few times
    But the rats choose cocaine over food always, even to the point that they starve
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