1. Is an Oreo Cookie Addictive?

    The real reason you love Oreos

    Some unhealthy snacks taste so good they're almost addictive.

    And in some cases, you can take the "almost" out of the equation -- because new research shows that some junk foods really might be addictive, especially an Oreo cookie.

    You know the Oreo cookie. They've been around for 100 years now, and for 100 years people have pulled them apart, eaten the creamy white filling and then crunched away on the chocolate cookies... before quickly reaching for another.

    When that happens, it's not just because you're hungry for more cookies. It's because the Oreo  cookie itself is igniting the pleasure centers of your brain in much the same way as addictive drugs like cocaine, according to the new study on rats.

    In one experiment, rats were trained to get rice cakes from one side of a maze and Oreo cookies from the other. Then, they were set loose and allowed to pick which side they would go to for food.

    Do I need to tell you which one they picked?

    In a second experiment, another set of rats was injected with saline at one end of the maze and addictive drugs such as cocaine and morphine at the other. Once again, they were set loose and allowed to choose.

    They picked the addictive drugs, of course. In fact, the rats on cocaine and the rats on Oreos behaved in remarkably similar ways.

    "I haven't touched an Oreo since doing this experiment," researcher Joseph Schroeder was quoted as saying.

    I don't blame him... but it's not just for the Oreo cookie. We know from other studies that junk foods in general and sugary foods in particular can activate the pleasure centers of the brain in the same way as addictive drugs.

    Yes, "junk-food junkie" isn't just a figure of speech. It's a real addiction.

    The best way to kick your own snack habit is to go cold turkey. Don't buy the junk, don't keep it in your home and you won't be tempted by it.

    Instead, try healthier snacks including fresh fruits and even chocolate. Chocolate can actually help protect your heart and brain when eaten in moderation. Just be sure you stick to real chocolate -- ideally the dark variety -- and not chocolate-flavored cookies with a creamy white filling.

  2. Common drugs lead to deadly addiction

    Common drugs turn deadly

    Many mainstream doctors don't address the root causes of pain, especially chronic pain and especially among seniors.

    Some don't even try.

    Instead of finding the cause of the pain and fixing it, they pass out common drugs and  painkillers -- including addictive and deadly narcotic painkillers.

    Do these common drugs work? Sure -- for a little while, anyway. But they also come with a high risk of dangerous side effects.

    But what's even worse than those side effects is that you quickly build tolerance to common drugs. You have to keep taking higher doses to get the same level of relief -- and in too many cases that leads to people taking far too much.

    As a result, the vast majority of the 22,134 overdose deaths from prescription drugs in 2010 involved painkillers: Specifically, opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

    Thirty percent of those deaths involved another common drugs class -- anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium (many people are given both, which is why the numbers add up to more than 100 percent).

    By comparison, illegal street drugs killed 16,195 people that same year. In other words, legal prescription drugs given by doctors killed almost 6,000 MORE people than drugs like crack and crystal meth sold by dealers in back alleys.

    Yet the illegal drug problem gets plenty of attention... while the legal one gets almost none.

    It's time to end that. It's time to make sure everyone understands the risks of these prescription drugs before the death toll climbs even higher.

    Better yet, it's time to make sure people realize there are much safer and even more effective options for pain relief.

    So whether you're battling pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, a bad back, or anything else, don't settle for painkillers -- and certainly don't settle for a doctor who seems to think those common drugs are only way you can get relief.

    You need a holistic doctor who can find the source of your pain and correct it naturally instead.

    That can take a little time. So while you work to get to the bottom of your pain, there are safe measure you can take for relief -- including cold laser, acupuncture, and natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, MSM, and bromelain.

    And for a complete science-based solution to pain relief no matter what the source, make an appointment to see me at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

  3. How seniors get hooked on painkillers

    One minute, you're a healthy and active senior who wouldn't dream of popping an Advil, much less a powerful prescription painkiller. The next, you're a certified addict who can't get through the day without an opioid drug.
  4. Docs told to drug unruly toddlers

    Parents, watch your tots: There's a new creep in the neighborhood, and it's not the local perv. It's the family doctor. The American Academy of Pediatrics is out with new marching orders, urging its 60,000 members to "screen" kids for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder starting at the age of four.
  5. Might as well face it: You're addicted to junk

    There may be a lot more truth to the phrase "junk-food junkie" than anyone ever imagined.
  6. Don't drown your sorrows

    A new study confirms what most of us already know – but plenty of people somehow still can't avoid: Heavy drinking to cope with the blues can lead to alcoholism and depression.

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