All the Crave: That's the way the cookie humbles [Virginian - Pilot]
(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) I COULD HAVE saved those inquisitive researchers at Connecticut College a whole lotta time and money.
They just discovered that Oreos - those delectable, irresistible concoctions of cream and wafer - may be as addictive as cocaine or morphine, at least in tests on lab rats. Seems the high fat and high sugar stimulate the brain the same way drugs do.
It was above-the-fold, front-page copy in The Pilot on Friday.
Where's the news?
I've known, for nearly a half century, that these cookies were nothing more than a gateway confection to ice cream, eclairs and Eskimo pies. Once you start eating, it's nigh impossible to stop.
This brings to mind an old saw of addiction-recovery programs: "One is too many, a thousand not enough." It's true, even for cookies.
My first brush with this craving came as a kid. But it was through a "cousin" of Oreos, also made by Nabisco.
In those days, I was so thin that pants struggled to stay on my (nonexistent) waist. After dinner, I often hauled a bag of Chips Ahoy to the living room as I watched TV.
My father would shake his head as I devoured, one after another, the chocolate chip cookies. "You just ate!" he'd marvel. "Do you have a tapeworm?"
I'd shrug off the teasing, then scarf down another cookie. Must have been the metabolism of a growing boy who ran all day.
Occasionally, I would switch over to Oreos. Since then, they've become my main sugary dessert of choice.
I buy family-size boxes of the stuff at Sam's Club, though The Boss and I are empty nesters most of the year.
Don't judge me.
By the way, did you know Oreos celebrated their 100th anniversary last year? Or that, according to published reports, the cookies became all-kosher in 1998? Lard formerly was a key ingredient.
The contraband - er, cookie - also has a worldwide following. Oreos are sold in more than 100 nations, with folks in the United States, Venezuela and China among the top users. Heck, the cookie's Facebook page has more than 34 million "likes."
Back to those Connecticut College researchers. Their experiments also measured the increased neuron activity in the part of the brain that registers pleasure.
Previous studies, according to CBS News, have shown highly processed carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies and chips "could affect this same pleasure center by triggering the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when the brain senses something that is a reward."
Let me say this plainly: I know addiction to cocaine, heroin, pot or other illegal drugs is no laughing matter. Many lives and communities have been ruined by drug abuse.
In fact, the college researchers studied the sugar rush similarities to narcotics - in part - because obesity is a problem in many poor communities. Many calorie-laden sweets are cheap, plentiful and make you feel ... good.
That's true for most people, regardless of their income level.
I know I'm hopelessly hooked on Oreos and have been for ages.
Yet, deep down, I'm sure I can stop my cookie habit.
Can I please have one more?
Roger Chesley, 757-446-2329, firstname.lastname@example.org, pilotonline.com/chesley, www.facebook.com/RogerChesley
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