To Your Health: Local News
Oreos as Addictive as Cocaine
Story Updated: Oct 17, 2013
ABC NEWS -- Can't put down the box of Oreos? There might be a compelling biological reason for that.
New research suggests that sugary, fatty treats can elicit the same reaction and activate the brain in a similar manner as cocaine and morphine, at least in lab rats.
Joseph Schroeder, an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Center at Connecticut College, is expected to present the study, which has not yet been published, next month at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, Calif.
Oreos weren't specifically singled out for their ability to trigger a snack attack, they were just a handy device to get enough fat and sugar in the rat's habitat, Schroeder said.
A spokeswoman for Mondelez International, which owns Nabisco, the maker of the iconic sandwich cookie, cautioned people against associating Oreo with the findings since the cookies were used as "a proxy for a non-specific 'sweet' variable."
"While it may seem simple to bucket foods as 'good' or 'bad,' the reality is that foods are complex, and encouraging people to enjoy a balanced diet paired with physical activity is most important," the spokeswoman said in a statement.
The experiment was actually conceived by Schroder's neuroscience student, Jamie Honohan, to examine the effects of high-fat and high-sugar foods on the brain. Honohan said she is interested in examining the effects of high concentrations of fatty and sugary foods in lower-income areas where there tend to be higher rates of obesity.