Sugar is addicting, and for many reasons. It’s a fast acting, fast burning source of fuel for our body. Sugar makes us feel better mentally and gives us a nice mental and physical boost. The problem with sugar though is that it is an addicting substance. Long term it becomes more addicting and then you can and will begin to rely on it as your bodies sole source of energy, which is not ideal for your health.
Joseph Schroeder, an associate professor of neuroscience at Connecticut College in New London, Conn. said “Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”
Jamie Honohan explained that Oreos were chosen not only for their taste, but because they have high amounts of fat and sugar and are marketed heavily in areas where people tend to have lower socioeconomic status and higher obesity rates.
The rats were put in a maze and given either Oreos or rice cakes at the end. The researchers timed how long the rats would spend on the side of the maze where they were fed the snack. Oddly enough, just like people do, the rats split the Oreo in half and ate the creamy inside first before eating the actual cookie.
The rice cakes were chosen because they weren’t a crowd favorite. “Just like humans, rats don’t seem to get much pleasure out of eating them,” Schroeder said. Other rats were put in the same maze but given an injection of cocaine or morphine or saline when they reached the end. The researchers also monitored how long they spent on the side where they received the drugs or placebo.
The researchers found that the rats spent about the same amount of time on the side where they would get their next “fix,” whether it was drugs or cookies.
Researchers also looked at what are known as nucleus accumbens, also known as the brain’s pleasure center, and measured how much c-Fos, a protein marker that signals brain neuron activation, was expressed. They were looking at how many cells were turned on in response to the drugs or Oreos.
The researchers found that Oreos activated many more neurons than cocaine or morphine. Talk about a food chemistry experiment gone wrong for us, and “right” for the food manufacturer. They have a marketable junk food that is more addictive than hard drugs.
“This correlated well with our behavioral results and lends support to the hypothesis that high-fat/high-sugar foods are addictive,” said Schroeder.
Previous studies have shown that highly-processed carbohydrates like cakes, cookies and chipsby triggering the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when the brain senses something that is a reward.
“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,” Honohan said.
If you’re hooked on oreos what can you do? I’d recommend to stop buying oreos completely and try newman’s O’s cookies, which are made with organic flour and organic sugar. These oreo mimicking cookies are free of preservatives, colors and artificial flavors. They are also Casein free, cholesterol free, dairy free, egg free, gmo free, lactose free and vegetarian/vegan. This company also donates 100% of their profits to charity. So switch to an organic, preservative (not drug-like addicting) alternative until you can remove your sugar addiction completely.
Switching to these cookies will give you that oreo taste without all the addicting chemicals in the food. Then you can begin to transition off sugar with this 10-day sugar detox diet, as well as begin to use any variety of natural sweeteners found here instead of sugar in your home.