Cookie fiend

I don’t tend to get excited over studies on lab rats. I’ll take one human study over 10 animal studies any day of the week.

But this one? Well, this new research from Connecticut College is too good not to share.

This team of researchers designed their experiment to shed light on addiction. But they weren’t just studying neurological responses to illicit drugs. In fact, one of the substances in question was none other than “America’s favorite cookie”–the Oreo.

And surprise, surprise. Its sinister siren strong is just as strong. Maybe even stronger.

The researchers put hungry rats in a maze. On one end of the maze was Oreos, while rice cakes served as a control on the other. They observed how long the rats would spend on the side with the cookies. Then, they compared these findings with results of the same test–but this time, with a shot of cocaine or morphine instead of Oreos, and a saline injection in place of rice cakes.

Ultimately, the rats spent similar amounts of time on the side of the maze offering Oreos as they did when illegal drugs were the reward on offer. And the rats’ brain chemistry reflected the reasons behind this choice.

As it turns out, Oreos lit up even more neurons in the rats’ pleasure and reward centers than cocaine or morphine did. And believe it or not, they went straight for the cookie’s middle, too. Just like in the commercials.

So what’s the moral of the story here? You don’t need a dealer to buy this “white stuff.” But don’t kid yourself. The consequences are just as dire.

It’s high time America kicked this killer habit, once and for all.

Connecticut College. “Are Oreos addictive? Research says yes.” ScienceDaily, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.