The greatest rule to practice good nutrition is to have everything in moderation. But when your favorite snack is as addictive as cocaine it can be hard. So are Oreos as addictive as cocaine or is this just another publicity hyperbole?
High Fat, High Sugar, Highly Addictive
This is certainly not new news, it is the reason we crave sugary snacks or foods high in delicious fats. The more we consume the more intense the cravings become. However a recent study done on rodents proved just how powerful this craving could be.
Studies done on rodents and humans show that the same area of the brain is activated when we use illegal drugs or if we consume or even look at high fat, high sugar foods. Think of the last time you looked at some fresh crispy bacon, or a delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. The craving you experienced when looking at these foods is the same as the craving for someone with a cocaine addiction.
If you prompt these cravings by seeing a box of oreo cookies for example, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms if the craving is not fulfilled. The physical response you experience is quite similar to drug withdrawal symptoms.
Affordable and Accessible Addiction
Because these junk foods are so accessible and affordable, they are thought to be the major contributor to America’s obesity problem. The availability of these junk foods in low income area’s leaves communities helpless to the power of addiction.
Just like cocaine or methamphetamine, junk food can be a powerful addiction that is extremely hard to quit.
Oreos As Addictive As Cocaine – The Oreo Study
Researchers used a maze that had two sides. On one side there was a delicious Oreo treat waiting for the rats, on the other side a rice cake. The rats were then free to explore whichever side they pleased.
Time spent on either side was compared to a previous study that looked at the behavior of rats who were given an injection of cocaine or morphine on one side of a maze, and a shot of saline on the other.
The researchers looked at the effect of the Oreos on the rats brains by looking at the pleasure center of the brain. The area of the brain that was activated when the rats ate the Oreos.
Results of the Oreo Study
Lab rats spent just as much time on the Oreo cookie side of the maze as the rats in the previous study who were injected with cocaine. Not really that surprising. What was very interesting was the lab rats brain.
The reaction to eating Oreo cookies was even more extreme than the effect of the cocaine on the lab rats pleasure center of the brain.
Results of this study show just how extreme sugar and fat addictions can be. When the majority of food options, especially in low income area’s are sugar or fat filled, it leaves the population far more susceptible to over consumption and obesity.
This Oreo cookie study illustrates just how powerful junk food addiction can be. Explaining why it is so hard to resist your favorite junk food. While it may be unrealistic to completely cut these foods out of your life, but if you practice moderation you can help reduce cravings and reduce the risk of disease and obesity.