Forget a Coke and a smile. For a stronger buzz and real grin of delight, word on the street is Oreos are the way to go. A study released last week by Connecticut College claims that, at least in lab rats, Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. Seems rats who ate the fat-laden treats had brain pleasure center activity mirroring — actually, exceeding — that of rats exposed to cocaine or morphine.
In other words, as previous studies have suggested, chocolate might parallel sex but cookies are the really guilty pleasure.
Of course, the naysayers claim that there’s not enough information because there haven’t been enough studies done on people with “Oreo withdrawals.” Easy fix — head to a newsroom late on election night or anywhere other place with a broken vending machine.
In reality, it’s a little hard to equate cookies with illegal drugs although maybe that explains why those annoying and prevalent pop-ups on computers are called “cookies.” Like addiction, they don’t seem to go away easily and act as a terrible gateway to other addictions — mainly online shoe shopping.
However, we should certainly all milk this new finding as long as possible.
First off, this could be a valid excuse for those who prefer nose candy to, dare we call it, nose cookies. Imagine the explanation: I was going to just take the edge off with a few Oreos but have you seen the fat content in those things not to mention the addictive quality? It’s sort of akin to how I jokingly justify a soft spot for gin and zinfandel (not together, thank you). With all the worries about what’s floating in the drinking water — some tasty chloramine or overflouridation, anybody? — why not just be safe and stick with adult beverages?
Just imagine, too, if this new Oreo study gains wider traction and leads to some widespread legal reform. With cookies (you know the authorities won’t just stop at Oreos) on the controlled substance list, there will undoubtedly need to be revamped rehab programs. Members of Overeaters Anonymous may get more sympathy if their drug of choice is now actually considered a drug. The Legislature and courts can launch Proposition 36-style diversion programs and the jail population will fatten up with offenders who just can’t let go of that addictive sandwich cream and chocolate wafer goodness. The pundits will go crazy at first, of course, debating whether these cookie fiends are mere victims of genetic tendencies and widespread availability or monsters who are getting their just desserts.
Filmmakers looking for a new way to turn old Hollywood favorites into money makers for future generations can swap out cocaine for Oreos. Imagine Tony Montana in a remade “Scarface” chowing on a pile of cookies sitting on his desk. Kind of gives his gun competition for the label “my little friend.”
Or what about the Johnny Depp biopic on cocaine importer George Jung entitled “Blow”? Guess the new version would be aptly named “Chew.” Maybe even “dunk” as a nod to cookies’ common partner in crime.
Singers can get into the act, too, so that the Miley and Bieber sets have a newfound appreciation for the Eric Clapton tune “Cocaine.” Hum it to yourself — “If you wanna hang out you’ve got to take her out, Oreo.”
But alas, history shows that this week’s health scare is next week’s latest surprise ounce of prevention for cancer or heart disease. The chances of the Oreo study resulting in anything other than an eyebrow raise a switch to Chips Ahoy! are slim.
That is, as they say, how the cookie crumbles.
Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.