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Thu October 17, 2013
Oreos as Addictive as Cocaine, in Lab Rats
News has been pretty rough lately, between the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. Now comes word that America’s favorite cookie can produce similar effects on the brain as addictive drugs. New research from Connecticut College finds that the Oreo cookie is just as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats.
It's actually not all that surprising that eating high-fat, high-sugar foods can produce pleasurable effects. But Joseph Schroeder, director of the behavioral neuroscience program at Connecticut College, studied the brains of rats after they ate Oreo cookies. "When we did that," Schroeder said, "we found that the animals that were conditioned to Oreo cookies had a greater number of neurons that were activated, compared to animals that were exposed to cocaine or morphine." That, he said, could explain why someone who knows high-fat, high sugar foods aren’t good for them can’t resist taking the next bite.