You knew it all along, didn’t you — that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine?

To lab rats, at least.

And I suspect there’s a little rat in all of us.

The Oreos don’t even have to be the deep fried variety currently on sale at the North Carolina State Fair (no, I didn’t eat any): straight from the package will do.

A professor at Connecticut College and some of his students have demonstrated that rats respond to high fat/high sugar foods — with Oreos as the test product — in the same way they respond to injections of cocaine or morphine. In fact, when they measured the expression of cFos, a protein produced in the pleasure center of the brain, they found that eating sweet cookies stimulated even more neurons than the hard drugs.

Oreos have never been my problem: I always worry about have dark crumbs from the cookies getting stuck between my teeth. But ice cream is another matter, especially on those risky days when I throw caution to the wind and eat straight from the carton.

I’ll just have a couple of spoonfuls to take the edge off, I say, not really worth messing up a bowl. Before I know it, a sizeable slab of Rocky Road has gone missing, and I really need to even up the rough spots so what’s left will be smooth. Then the outside starts melting a little, and running the spoon around the side to pick up some of that soft-serve consistency amazement gets a little too tempting. Where do you stop?

Seriously: once you start eating ice cream from the carton, you’re done for, and pretty soon you start feeling like a rat, especially if there are others in the house who might have been counting on ice cream as a bedtime snack and you’ve “evened it up” right down to the flat bottom of the carton.

I’m wondering if I should report the local grocery store when it offers a two-for-one sale on Breyer’s, Blue Bell, or Ben & Jerry’s. Is the store management so different from a street-corner pusher?

I guess Daniel and his buddies were on to something when they passed on the king’s rich foods and requested vegetables only: that Babylonian blow could be dangerous stuff.

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