Oreos or Cocaine?

This past week in class we have been discussing the use of cigarettes. Cigarettes are highly addictive things that a large portion of the population uses. Addiction has always interested me in a way. I have always wondered how our bodies can become so dependent on one thing. I guess one reason for this is that addiction runs in my genes. Past family members of mine have succumbed to alcohol addiction, so I know when the time comes and I am legal, I will have to be careful of that. I also know both of my grandparents used to smoke, but luckily they beat their addiction.

I have fortunate to avoid addiction so far in my life. However, there is one exception to that statement. If I had to pick one things that I may be addicted to, it would definitely be…OREOS! Now, I know, many people out there love the classic crème filled cookie. I feel like my love of Oreos goes beyond that. When I eat one cookie, I simply can’t stop. Just having one turn into having three, and before I know it half of the box is gone. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but you get the point. I just can’t stop.

The other day I was sitting in my apartment doing some schoolwork when I remembered that my one roommate had bought birthday cake Oreos. I was stressed out from studying for an exam and I really just needed something sweet. Therefore, I went into the cabinet in search of those Oreos (don’t worry, I asked permission first). I had a few, and then a few more. I started to get up and reach for a third round of Oreos but stopped myself for fear of making myself sick. “Oreos are so addicting,” I remarked to my other roommate, “I really can’t stop eating them.” Much to my surprise, she remarked that studies have found that Oreos may be as addicting as cocaine.

This really peaked my interest. Oreos are as addicting as cocaine? It couldn’t be. I know I love to joke about this Oreo addiction, but I had no idea there were studies done on the matter. Therefore, I sat down and did some research and what I found amazed me. According to this article, Oreos do in fact have the capability to be as addicting as cocaine.

At Connecticut College researches conducted a study with rats. In one experiment, they were placed in a maze with a rice cake and Oreo. During the study the rats gravitated towards the Oreos. The same study was done with small cocaine injections and saline injections. The rats behaved the same way towards the cocaine as they did towards the Oreos. According to another article done by Forbes, the reason for this is that Oreos trigger the the portion of the brain that gives us the feeling of pleasure.

Now if we look at this experiment, we can see many flaws in it. First of all, the rats tendency to gravitate towards Oreos does not necessarily mean they were addicted to them- it just means they preferred the Oreos to the alternative option. And let’s face it- who wouldn’t? I feel as though a better test as to whether the rats were addicted or not would to be to feed them a large amount of Oreos for an extended period of time and then cut the rats off. By monitoring their reaction to being cut off, I feel as though researches could get a better grasp on just how addictive Oreos are.

Although an Oreo addiction would be better than a cocaine addiction any day of the week, it still can be rather detrimental to your health. As Forbes magazine put it, the addicting qualities of sugary sweets create negative eating habits that worry many health professionals. It is pretty safe to say Oreos aren’t exactly the healthiest option for a snack. Knowing what I know now, I definitely will be laying off the Oreos. While they certainly are a joy to eat, the harmful effects of the cookies will not be so fun later on in life. Bye-bye Oreos- no more addiction for me.

Image result for oreo addictWorks Cited:





6 thoughts on “Oreos or Cocaine?

  1. Tyler Olson

    I too come from a family with a history of alcohol addiction. While I have been fortunate to avoid that, I understand what you’re talking about with the Oreo addiction as I am a nicotine addict. I use chewing tobacco and go through about a can per week. Every day, just after lunch time and just after dinner, I tend to get a strong craving for a nicotine that throwing in a lip fixes instantly. I know the mechanism for my addiction to tobacco is the nicotine, so I began to wonder what it could be for your Oreo addiction. I did a little research and a study I came across attributed much of food addiction in people to bad carbs, like those in Oreos. Here’s the link: https://hms.harvard.edu/news/addicted-food-7-3-13

  2. Nathan Andrew Morningstar

    I can understand how the association between having a oreo addiction and a cocaine addiction, due to both sugar and cocaine are both seen as stimulants in the body. It also makes sense, as since sugar is a form of energy that is easy for the body to use immediately, that your body will continue to crave for it. Here is a link that describe how it is easier for someone to become “addicted” to sweets, and why our body craves for it like cocaine. http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2015/01/07/sugar-health-research

  3. rlw5445

    This post got my attention from the title. I, like many others, am a huge fan of the sweet snack. What originally starts as an appropriately proportioned snack turns into inhaling half of the box. It becomes uncontrollable and to hear that they may have addictive qualities sheds some light on this strange behavior. Now as a psychology minor I would be very curious to look at the brain scans of participants with a cocaine addiction and those of someone who is eating Oreos. I feel that if we could see a side-by-side comparision it may allow us to discover what physical triggers are a result of the snack that lead to the addiction-like behavior.

  4. Zachary Cope

    I can totally relate to your post, I mean who doesn’t like Oreo’s? I’m the same way, I usually grab a bowl full of Oreo’s get a glass of milk and enjoy the cookies while they last, and then I want more..happens every time. When comparing Oreo addiction to Cocaine addiction however in my opinion does not hold up its factual evidence. There’s simply no way that Oreo’s (a chocolate cookie) can be as addictive to one of the world’s most addictive drug that ruins countless of people’s lives day in and day out. The rat trial was conducted very poorly because it doesn’t show the choices of the rats over time after continued trials. Cocaine is something that takes time for the addiction to set in and once it does, it is a terrible thing and very hard to get over. All in all, Oreo’s are very good don’t get me wrong, but it simply doesn’t compare to the addiction of Cocaine.

  5. Matthew O'Brien

    I am also a huge fan of Oreos and I have definitely heard the rumor that they might be as addictive as cocaine. I have long regarded that as ridiculous and I must admit that after reading your post, I still do! It is certainly a comical comparison, even a little scary, but all the study really proves is that rats spend more time with what they feel is the preferable of two choices. Perhaps if they had chosen to compare Oreos to a non-brand but similar cookie, we might have learned if the Oreo brand is addictive or if rats just prefer sugary foods to those that lack it. One of the key characteristics of addiction is the problem associated with withdrawal. Does a stop to Oreo intake really compare to the difficulty of breaking a Cocaine addiction?

    On a related note, I feel that it is entirely possible to conduct some kind of human trial to determine whether Oreos are addictive. Rats are not always identical to humans (they can’t think long term about health conciseness, etc.) and the fact that this already science-lacking study didn’t even involve humans makes it even more dismissible.

  6. Jarrod T Skole

    I relate to your post 110%, once I have one oreo I can’t stop until i have had at least 8. My parents always joked I was addicted but after reading this post, its scary to think how true it could be. I do wonder how the cocaine and oreo test worked with the rats. I know that cocaine gives people certain feelings and saline does pretty much nothing, so maybe the rats just enjoyed the feeling of cocaine more than salt water. Maybe if the researchers gave the rats sugar water injections or something more than salt water, they would have preferred it more than the cocaine. Anyway that is just a thought. Another thought is that since oreos trigger a part of our brain that is related with pleasure, what other foods that are healthy affect that part of the brain. If we could find that out, maybe people like us could switch from oreos to that certain food.

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