BY ZACHARY GOTTHARDT
SC Staff Writer
According to a Harris Poll Trend Survey, the majority of Americans consider Oreos to be their favorite cookie. The mixture of chocolate and cream has been on the market since 1912. However, the joy caused by Oreo cookies may have an astonishing chemical basis.
According to a recent study, America’s favorite cookies elicit a stronger neurological response in rats than cocaine, one of the world’s most dangerous drugs.
A student from Connecticut University wanted to discern a possible cause of high obesity rates in low-income communities. If cheap, high-fat foods are also addictive, then a correlation exists to the issue of obesity.
The study looked at the preference of rats to a multitude of addictive substances, as well as Oreos. The researchers designed two mazes. One maze contained morphine and cocaine at one end and saline solution at the other. The second maze held Oreos at one side and rice cakes at the other.
The results of the experiment showed that the rats preferred the Oreos with just as much frequency as they did cocaine.
The researchers decided to test the biological basis of this tendency.
When exposed to Oreos, the rats had significantly more neurons fire than when they were exposed to cocaine. These responses manifested in the same location in the brain.
Since cocaine is highly addictive, and Oreos have an even stronger response in the brain, Oreos appear to be more addictive than cocaine—at least in rats.
America has a well-documented obesity problem, and the study’s findings may suggest a chemical basis to the issue. Consumers have been polled and believe that Oreos are indeed addictive, without any scientific evidence needed. According to a CNN poll, 68 percent of people believe that Oreos are addictive.
However, these findings do not suggest that Oreos are a form of drug.
While unhealthy, they are not as dangerous as a narcotic like cocaine. While the results are troubling, the sales of Oreos are not expected to be affected by this study.
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