The study used a maze to see how rats would respond to the cookies and the coke. On one side of the maze was rice cakes, the other side was loaded with Oreos. As you can imagine, the rats liked the cookies better. The scientists then compared these results to rats who were trained with morphine or cocaine rather than Oreos. They found that regardless of what “drug” the rats were offered (Oreos, cocaine, or morphine) they spent about the same amount of time on the "good" side of the maze.
What did they expect when the "non-drug" side of the maze was only serving up rice cakes?
“It basically tells us how many cells were turned on in a specific region of the brain in response to the drugs or Oreos,” said Connecticut College professor Joseph Schroeder, who led the research. "Oreos actually activated cells in this brain area more than did either cocaine or morphine, which suggests that that magical combination of sugar and fat may be even more delectable to our brains than drugs."
And that explains why it's so hard to put the cookies down after hitting the bong. But there's more, it also proves that high-calorie foods, which are often low-priced, are highly addictive, and may be created to be highly addictive. The combination of sugar and fat seems to be particularly hard for people to resist. Certainly making healthy food available at lower costs -- and marketing them in the right ways -- is an ongoing issue in the “Big Food” industry, and one that’s only just beginning to change in the smallest ways.
A final oddity of the current study: the rats apparently preferred the creamy vanilla filling to the cookie itself. So much so, in fact, that they would break it open and eat the middle first.
Join the club, little bros.