Overwhelming research is showing food is causing addictive behaviors equivalent to cocaine and morphine in people as well as lab rats. This addiction is not simple overeating, lack of will power or gluttony, it is a combination of ingredients and chemicals that cause a compuilsive dependence and obsession. This combination of ingredients is specifically hyper-palatable, manufactured at great expense by microbiologists paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to formulate this desire. 

Pamela Peeke, MD and author of The Hunger Fix says her patients, “Would sound like little druggies! They would say ‘I need a hit,’ or ‘How ’bout that fix,’ and ‘Withdrawl is hell.’ I was thinking what are they talking about, morphine? Are they talking about crack cocaine? No, they were talking about cupcakes and pasta and pizza!” 

As medical doctors she said, “All of the experts and I would kind of see each other at meetings, kind of laugh a little bit and say I wonder whether or not there’s something there?”

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of The National Institute of Drug Abuse says there is a duality between drugs and food with the pathways they make into the rewards center of the brain. Dr. Volkow says, “We need to drop the stigma and recognize that people with addictions have a brain disease—they don’t just lack willpower.”

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Addiction is much more than ‘Just saying no’.” Drugabuse.gov says Volkow shows, “Drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting, among others, the functions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure in addiction.” Her findings are altering the status of ADHD, obesity and the connection of neurobiology related to food.  

The New York Times describes Dr. Volkow’s findings as, “Addictive substances send dopamine levels surging in the small central zone of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is thought to be the main reward center.” She says the addiction responds the same whether it’s food or narcotics.

Dr. Peeke says, “We have a relationship between certain foods and actual addiction.” She goes on to say, “This whole field is literally exploding with research coming in from all over the world.”



The research is showing similarities. “What we’re finding is yes, there is a very strong association between certain foods and addiction. Sugar is the leader. The hyper-palatables is the sugar, salty fatty combos. In our animal experiments we have found sugar is more addictive than cocaine, morphine and heroine,” Dr. Peeke says.

A famous study was done using rats and Oreo Cookies. CBS News titled the story: Oreos may be as addictive as cocaine, morphine. Forbes Magazine titled their story: Why Oreos Are As Addictive As Cocaine To Your Brain.

In the study two neuroscientists researched rats going through a maze to Oreo Cookies and Rice Cakes. Oddly the rats raced to the Oreos every time, and responded exactly like humans – they ripped the cookie apart and attacked the “cream filling” first.

Oreo creme filling is made from gelatin, vegetable shortening (Crisco) a transfat, vanilla and powdered sugar. There is no actual cream in the creme filling.

The rats were also placed in the same maze with cocaine, morphine or saline as the test. It was reported, “The researchers saw that Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.”

Jamie Honohan, one of the test scientists, explained, “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.”

Dr. Peeke said, “Turns out in the full on addictive state whether it was food, drugs or alcohol we saw exactly the same organic changes across the board. When we saw the PET scans we fell off our chairs. Oh my gosh, it’s exactly the same!” She went on to say, “All of these are changeable with detox and recovery.”



When food scientists calculate the bliss point, the point where fat, sugar and salt reach the highest palatable state, the stimulation to the human palate is excessive stimulation in overdrive. Dr. Peeke says, “The human brain can not handle this kind of stimulation. It’s over the top stimulation. The brain reads this as a threat to survival. The only way the brain thinks it can help you is to have you perceive less and less of that pleasure. So it starts decreasing, getting rid of a lot of dopamine which is the pleasure neurotransmitter. If you don’t have those receptors you don’t receive pleasure. The bad news is now when I have that one cupcake suddenly it’s not good enough anymore, I need 20 of them.”

Not everyone has an equal playing ground when it comes to food addiction. Dr. Peeke says, “If you have an addictive gene, meaning Mother and Dad were smokers, had problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, anything like that there is a very high risk for food addiction. It seems to be a transfer addiction.”

Epigenetics show your addictive behavior potential.  Dr. Peeke believes in substituting certain foods for the addictive food while detoxing. 

Ironically, nutrient dense foods do not have the same addictive behavior results, only processed foods cause this addictive behavior. This includes healthy saturated fats like real butter, coconut oil, tallow and lard. The healthiest fat is the fat from the animal, the fat on the steak, pork belly or pork chop. The fat used in the Oreo creme filling is vegetable oil, not a good healthy saturated fat. Ironically when Oreos first came out in 1912 the filling recipe used lard instead of vegetable oil.

*Nourishing Plot is written by a mom whose son has been delivered from the effects of autism (asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder, manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food. This is not a newsarticle published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging affect of today’s “food”.

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