Nuts. Now researchers tell me that when I dunk my Oreos in milk, my brain acts just like I took a hit of cocaine. Seriously, now I can’t even love Oreos anymore? The ones with orange centers are my favorite; not because they taste any different than the white centered ones, but because they’re pretty.
A new study from Connecticut College revealed their findings on the effect of Oreos on rats’ brains. In one chamber, the rats were offered Oreos. In another chamber, they were given rice cakes. Even rats aren’t fools. They tore the Oreos apart and devoured the cream filled centers but wouldn’t even finish the rice cakes. Then the researchers gave the rats a shot of either morphine or cocaine in one chamber and then gave them a shot of saline in the other chamber. They observed that the rats who were given the drugs wanted to spend as much time in the chambers where they received the drugs as they did in the chambers where they received the Oreos. Thus, the researchers concluded that the rats’ pleasure centers were stimulated as strongly by the cookies as they were by the drugs.
For those of us who crave chocolaty goodness, this might be bad news. While I am not ready to call my love for sweets akin to being addicted to cocaine, I get their point. High fat, high sugar, highly processed foods are bad for us. I knew that. But I do think that there’s something here that we can’t miss, as much as I’d like to dismiss it.