A study finds Oreo cookies as addictive as Cocaine.
Hoax or Fact:
Messages spreading online and even some news reports talk about a scientific study which seems to have found out that Oreo cookies are as addictive as Cocaine.
Oreo is a popular cookie brand that not only kids, but also adults love to eat. The present message talking about a scientific study comes as a shocker, suggesting that the reason why Oreos have been popular is because it is addictive - as addictive as Cocaine. Following the publication of this study in Connecticut College website, several news reports broke out warning people about the addictiveness of Oreos, some even saying they are as addictive as drugs.
About the Study
A group of Connecticut College students and Joseph Schroeder, a professor of psychology studied the potential addictiveness of Oreo Cookies - in an undergraduate student research project.
The student researchers put rats in a maze with two sides. On one side, the rats were rewarded for traversing the maze with Oreos, while the other side had rice cakes. The students measured how long the rats spent on either side of the maze. No surprise, the Oreos were more popular than the rice cakes. The students then repeated the experiment, but this time they put a shot of morphine or cocaine on one side, and a shot of saline on the other side. Their observations revealed that rats given the choice between Oreos and rice cakes spent as much time on Oreos as the rats given the choice between cocaine and saline did on the cocaine. They found that eating Oreos activated more neurons in the brain’s “pleasure center” than exposure to drugs of abuse. So they thought that the “America’s favorite cookie” is just as addictive as cocaine – at least for lab rats.
Validity of Study
The aforementioned study on Oreo cookies does not conclude that they were as addictive as Cocaine. As mentioned in the report of their undergraduate study, the results are preliminary and are subject to further scientific review. Edythe London, a UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) researcher who uses brain imaging to study the neural basis of drug cravings, responded to this study saying:
“The study performed cannot determine whether Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. That question is best addressed in a comparison of how hard a rat will work for Oreos versus cocaine — how many times a rat will press a lever to get one or the other. More is needed to say that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine or addictive at all."
So it is evident that the rat study does not prove that Oreos are as addictive as Cocaine or any other drugs. Some reports also said Oreos contained Cocaine, which again, is not a fact. Oreo cookies, like many other foods, are already known to have a 'pleasurable' effect on human brain. The question whether foods can be addictive is not resolved yet. However, the study, which was basically meant to examine the potential addictiveness of high-fat/high-sugar foods, suggests the dangers of over consumption of those easily accessible and affordable foods.