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Submission + - Scientists Say Oreo Cookies As Addictive as Cocaine 1

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: VOA News reports that lab rats formed an equally strong association between the pleasurable effects of eating Oreos and a specific environment as they did between cocaine or morphine and a specific environment. They also found that eating cookies activated more neurons in the brain’s “pleasure center” than exposure to drugs of abuse. “Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” says Professor Joseph Schroeder. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.” To test the cookie’s addictiveness, researchers placed rats in a maze. On one side of the maze, they would give hungry rats Oreos, and on the other side, rice cakes. They would then give the rats the option of spending time on either side of the maze. Those results were compared to rats who were placed in a maze that offered an injection of cocaine or morphine versus an injection of saline solution. The research showed the rats conditioned with Oreos spent as much time on the Oreo side of the maze as the rats conditioned with cocaine or morphine. While it may not be scientifically relevant, Jamie Honohan says it was surprising to watch the rats eat the famous cookie. “They would break it open and eat the middle first."
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Scientists Say Oreo Cookies As Addictive as Cocaine

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  • Let's see: The rat had a choice (in both cases) of something enjoyable vs. something not as enjoyable. All other things being equal, why not choose the more enjoyable thing? They'd probably get the same result if they'd used fruit instead of oreos. But hey, that wouldn't be as good of a headline: Cherries are as addictive as Cocaine. The neuron activation thing may have some merit. (I don't know enough about neurochemistry to argue either way) And.. why didn't they run the experiment with just the fi

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