Oreos have been around since I was a child. Like me, do you split the cookie and eat the center first?
Harmless right? Maybe not!
What if you gave a mouse a cookie? Could that cookie be addictive?
Now, I’m not suggesting you find a 12-step program to deal with your impulse purchase of Oreos, but neuroscience is interesting when it comes to why we eat these high fat, high sugar foods. There is more to the cookie than meets the eye or taste bud for that matter.
Researchers actually studied the brain effects of eating Oreos in rats! I know, who thinks of these studies? And I love the fact that rice cakes were used as the control group food for the rats. Rice cakes or Oreos? The rats were not stupid. They went for the cookies!
What the researchers found was that Oreos activate the same pleasure centers in the brain that cocaine and morphine do. Specifically, they looked at how many cells were turned on in a specific part of the brain when rats ate Oreos or were given drugs. More were activated by the cookies than the drugs.
While the jury is still out on whether or not foods can be addictive, this study gives support for addictive properties in high fat, high sugar foods.
So for some of you, walk past that cookie aisle and go directly to the fruit section of the store.
Will you get a high from the cookies? Last time I looked you could drive while under the influence of Oreos! But, one of the reasons we LOVE our cookies is that they activate those pleasure centers of the brain. Just how much pleasure we get may encourage us to eat more than we want to eat.
Food for thought!