home
RSS
Oreos as 'addictive' as cocaine in lab rat study
October 16th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

Oreos as 'addictive' as cocaine in lab rat study

Anyone who's ever eaten an Oreo knows how difficult it can be to eat just one.

Scientists have long suspected that our brains crave junk food in the same way they crave other pleasurable substances, such as illegal drugs. Previous studies in rodents and in humans have shown the same area of the brain that lights up on scans when people use drugs, also shows increased activity when study participants consume, or even look at, high fat, high sugar foods like ice cream or bacon.

Some scientists believe certain foods trigger the brain to signal for more, similar to the way addictive drugs prompt cravings; if we don't fulfill the brain's request, the body could produce a physical response (like caffeine headaches) similar to withdrawal symptoms.

New research from undergraduate students at Connecticut College adds to the growing evidence suggesting that food can be addictive. The students were interested in understanding how the availability of junk food in low-income areas has contributed to America's obesity epidemic.

“Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat, high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability,” study designer and neuroscience major Jamie Honohan said in a statement.

The study

The student researchers used a maze with two sides to test their theory. On one side of the maze, they gave the rats Oreos; on the other side, the rats got rice cakes. The rats were then allowed to choose which side of the maze they wanted to explore.

The researchers recorded the amount of time the rats spent on each side. They then compared the times to a similar experiment where the rats were given an injection of cocaine or morphine on one side of the maze and a shot of saline on the other.

The researchers also analyzed the Oreos' effect on the rats' brains by looking at the number of neurons in the nucleus accumbens - the brain's "pleasure center" - that were activated while eating.

The results

The lab rats conditioned with cookies spent just as much time on the "drug" side of the maze as the rats conditioned with cocaine or morphine, the researchers say. "This, by itself, is not surprising or novel," Schroeder told CNN in an e-mail. But researchers also found that the rats eating Oreos experienced more pleasure than the animals being injected with drugs, as measured by activation changes in the nucleus accumbens.

"Taken together, these finding support the hypothesis that consumption of high fat/sugar foods can lead to addictive behaviors and can activate the brain in a similar manner as drugs of abuse," Schroeder said. "This may, in part, help us to understand why individuals who have trouble controlling their food intake, especially when food options are limited to high fat/sugar options, are more susceptible to obesity."

Caveats

These results have not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. And research in rats does not always translate to humans. It would be difficult to get approval to conduct the same experiment on humans as it would require giving illegal substances to study participants.

The results do also not show that the rats were addicted - in the traditional sense of the word - to the cookies; simply that the rats sought them out and found pleasure in eating them.

While Oreos were used in the study, the experiment was done to illustrate the effect any food high in sugar or fat could be having on your brain.

Takeaway

This study helps us understand why it's sometimes difficult to resist junk food even though we know it's bad for us, Schroeder said. It might be hard to give up your favorite cookies cold turkey, so follow the golden rule of nutrition:

Everything in moderation.

Your brain on food: Obesity, fasting and addiction


soundoff (522 Responses)
  1. 우리카지노

    I love your blog page. I'm faced. Thank an individual.

    https://pastebin.pl/view/f4a0e495

    April 13, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 먹튀사이트

    Your website is great as in case it ended up written simply by a writer. I am going to visit your blog typically. Thanks always.

    https://www.instructables.com/member/levelgiant56/

    April 14, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 먹튀

    Wow. You aren't so good that you're so good currently. Your help woke everyone up. Thank you very much.

    https://spinalhub.win/wiki/Texas_Holdem_Poker_Strategy_Basics

    April 14, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Cordell Brave

    Hey there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    https://trello.com/c/oteWg4dr

    April 14, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Find The Best Magic Mushroom Spores Here

    A lot of bloggers nowadays yet just a few have blog posts worth spending time on reading.

    https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/product-category/magic-mushroom-spores/

    April 14, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Pierre Esperanza

    You could definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

    http://public.sitejot.com/zahlmike69.html

    April 15, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. kaos

    With every thing that appears to be developing inside this specific subject material, a significant percentage of viewpoints are actually relatively radical. On the other hand, I am sorry, but I do not give credence to your entire plan, all be it exciting none the less. It would seem to me that your opinions are actually not entirely rationalized and in simple fact you are yourself not even wholly convinced of your argument. In any case I did enjoy looking at it.

    https://grosir-kaos-distro86048.blogsumer.com/3216909/12-kaos-distro-terbaik-di-pasar-saat-ini

    April 15, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 카지노사이트

    http://bezvoprosa.ru/index.php?qa=user&qa_1=mimosachalk58

    April 15, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 우리카지노

    https://thinkgrc.com/members/novelroof68/activity/336330/

    April 16, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Prudence Pettinato

    That is a very good standpoint, yet seriously isn’t create any sence by any means preaching about which mather. Every means with thanks as well as pondered make an effort to promote your current publish in to delicius nevertheless it looks like it’s problems with all your blogs are you able to make sure you recheck the item. many thanks once more.

    https://writeablog.net/personal-local-reading-list/h2-i2h-makes-another-acquisition-buying-ambassador-from

    April 16, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/

    A lot of blog writers nowadays but just a few have posts worth spending time on browsing.

    https://magic-mushrooms-online.com/

    April 16, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 카지노사이트

    http://webcamera.ru/user/ideadress4/

    April 16, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 우리카지노계열

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be exciting to read through content from other authors and use something from other sites.

    http://armor-team.com/members/easemine48/activity/2248413/

    April 17, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 토토사이트

    https://baccarat5clovertower48.bladejournal.com/post/2021/03/22/Roulette-Strategies-And-Tips

    April 17, 2021 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 메이저사이트

    https://canvas.instructure.com/eportfolios/131714/totosite6deanujfs481/10_Things_We_All_Hate_About_

    April 17, 2021 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. boiler grade steel pipe supplier

    Manufactured to API 5L specs, Trident Steel'' s provides routine 40 and 80 ERW line pipe in grades from B to X70. A economical alternative for pipeline, our high return ERW pipeline is generally used for midstream applications and also is offered for same-day delivery. Get a quote today!

    https://coub.com/bateman78crews

    April 19, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 먹튀검증사이트

    Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://rafaeluvxj254.fotosdefrases.com/15-people-you-oughta-know-in-the-meogtwigeomjeung-industry

    April 19, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 카지노사이트

    https://casino5gasliquid95.werite.net/post/2021/04/04/Round-Craps-Learn-the-Basics

    April 19, 2021 at 07:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 먹튀검증업체

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely happy I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

    https://www.openlearning.com/u/quailmist47/blog/GreatTipsAboutChineseKeno

    April 19, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 우리카지노

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always helpful to read content from other authors and use a little something from their websites.

    https://nephewjury25.bravejournal.net/post/2021/01/22/Memoir-of-a-Translated-Life-by-Trent-Et-Quarante

    April 19, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 먹튀검증사이트

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.

    https://www.transtats.bts.gov/exit.asp?url=https://matchguaranty.com/members/gambling2goattower47/activity/271394/

    April 20, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 먹튀

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this site needs much more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

    http://www.google.co.mz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CGkQFjAH&url=https://penzu.com/p/6803650c

    April 21, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 먹튀사이트

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ

    http://lzx.lezaizhuan.com/space-uid-2950864.html

    April 21, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. kaos distro

    Fantastic post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

    https://kaos-distro29484.blogmazing.com/3203165/7-yang-bisnis-kaos-distro-terbaik

    April 21, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 먹튀

    I love it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great blog, stick with it!

    https://www.keralaplot.com/user/profile/206551

    April 21, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. https://www.laweekly.com/5-best-cbd-oil-companies-to-buy-from-in-2019/

    The only point I regret is not having found your blog before.

    https://www.laweekly.com/5-best-cbd-oil-companies-to-buy-from-in-2019/

    April 21, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. zithromax 500 mg

    side effects of zithromax 250 mg https://zithromaxes.com/ zpack for strep dosage

    April 22, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LA Weekly's List

    Your manner of addressin this subject is both terrific and inspiring.

    https://www.laweekly.com/5-best-cbd-oil-companies-to-buy-from-in-2019/

    April 23, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. vardenafil 20mg india manufacturer

    buy vardenafil online without presciption https://vegavardenafil.com/ levitra generic vardenafil

    April 23, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 먹튀사이트

    http://www.astro.wisc.edu/?URL=gambling6pumatest17.werite.net/post/2021/03/13/How-Does-House-Edge-Play-Into-My-Blackjack-Gambling-Strategy

    April 23, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription

    cialis through canadian pharmacies https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis, sale, canadian pharm.

    April 23, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Forklift For Sale

    http://www.pluto.no/frame.tmpl?url=https://wildwestlifttrucks.com/buffalo-forklift-repair-orange-county-california

    April 23, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. realtors around me

    There's definately a great deal to know about this subject. I love all the points you have made.

    http://map.google.se/url?q=https://meganleary.com

    April 23, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Solar Panels Systems Los Angeles

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

    http://mysweetnieces.com/cgi-bin/at3/out.cgi?id=297&tag=toptop&trade=http://ocrvshop.com

    April 23, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. sildenafil online europe

    generic sildenafil https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ where can i buy over the counter sildenafil

    April 24, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 토토사이트

    http://rust.freelan.biz/index.php?subaction=userinfo&user=planemosque09

    April 24, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 사설토토

    I quite like reading an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    https://squareblogs.net/gambling0summerstraw5/how-to-beat-baccarat-in-your-regional-casino-or-maestral-resort

    April 24, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. canadian generic pills

    canadian pills online https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian customs pills vitamins

    April 24, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv generator repair

    https://www.actualitesdroitbelge.be/click_newsletter.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-sylmar-california

    April 25, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Body Shop Near Me

    http://smile.wjp.am/link-free/link3.cgi?mode=cnt&no=8&hpurl=http://youtube.com/watch?v=0hg66ANB3uY/

    April 25, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. order tadalafil

    tadalafil pills https://elitadalafill.com/ generic tadalafil

    April 25, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 사설토토

    http://b3.zcubes.com/v.aspx?mid=6767331

    April 25, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 메이저사이트

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to this web site before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly delighted I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

    https://www.stealth-bookmark.win/is-tech-making-meijeosaiteu-better-or-worse-8

    April 26, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 사설토토

    https://www.captainco.net/forums/user/j2mxkrx926/

    April 26, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. 바둑이사이트

    https://wanelo.co/sundaystamp2

    April 27, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. jersey olahraga

    Hello there, I found your website via Google while searching for a related topic, your website came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    http://ricardojnqtt.newbigblog.com/3636214/kaos-futsal-langsung-dari-bandung-hubungi-sekarang-via-whatsapp-0813-8888-5251

    April 27, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. 바둑이

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites online. I will recommend this web site!

    https://lynnemctaggart.com/forum/members/novelsleep49/activity/633456/

    April 27, 2021 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. home for sale hauser idaho

    https://www.besiktasarena.com/index.php?thememode=full;redirect=https://meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 온라인바둑이

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    https://spamdb.science/wiki/Video_Keno_Games_Versus_Voids_Which_is_Better

    April 28, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. pkvgames

    Thanks , I've just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

    https://articlescad.com/kabar-daftar-akun-poker-online-kuasai-seni-bersama-7-rahasia-ini-976529.html

    April 28, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.