Students and a professor of neuroscience have found “America’s favorite cookie” is just as addictive as cocaine – at least for lab rats. In a study designed to shed light on the potential addictiveness of high-fat/ high-sugar foods, they found rats formed an equally strong association between the pleasurable effects of eating Oreos and a specific environment as they did between cocaine or morphine and a specific environment. They also found that eating cookies activated more neurons in the brain’s “pleasure center” than exposure to drugs of abuse.
A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction, the study found.
Of all the addictions, food has to be one of the most elusive. Let’s face it: we don’t really need tobacco, heroin, cocaine, booze, shopping, sex, religion and so forth in order to survive — although we may think we do. It’s hard to convince an addict who’s shaking it off cold turkey, or an alcoholic who’s in the midst of an unsupervised detox*, but people do survive these things every day and, despite how it may feel, no one is going to die if he doesn’t get laid today.
Food — well, that’s a different issue. Continue reading