Ronald McDonald on Your Back


Under the headline "Burgers Are As Addictive As Heroin," the New York Post reports that "a hamburger and fries can be just as addictive as cigarettes and even hard drugs," attributing the discovery to "a surprising new study."

Now wait a minute. If, as public health officials and anti-smoking activists have been telling us for years, nicotine is "more addictive than heroin," and "a hamburger and fries can be just as addictive as cigarettes," doesn't that mean fast food is harder to resist than heroin? There certainly are a lot more burger eaters than heroin users.

In truth, however, even heroin is not as addictive as heroin–that is, not as addictive as it's reputed to be. Since the typical heroin user does not take the drug on a daily basis, what is the comparison between burgers and "hard drugs" supposed to tell us?

"A high-fat diet alters brain biochemistry with effects similar to those [of] powerful opiates such as morphine," explains the lead author of the "surprising new study." Oh. Eating a hamburger and fries alters brain biochemistry. Obviously, anything that does that is cause for concern.

[Thanks to Don Heath for the link.]


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  1. Studies have also shown prayer to “alter brain biochemistry with effects similar to those [of] powerful opiates such as morphine”.

    It seems Marx was right about something-
    but would “Burgers are the opiate of the masses” have the same ring to it?

  2. Only slightly off subject…

    Did anyone else find it appallingly amusing when Kellogg’s changed the name of “Sugar Smacks” to simply “Smacks”?

    Yes, “sugar” has a lot of negative connotation… but “smack” is a-ok!

  3. Hey Russ D,

    That’s pretty funny. Personally, I’ve been irritated (for no other reason than that it conflicts with my childhood memories) that they changed the voices of ‘Snap, Crackle & Pop’ to sound like grown men rather than impish little elves. Also I think the cognitive dissonance of it is disturbing.

    T Hartin made the point already I was going to make. Maybe this decent into absurdity will be recognized as such, and rather than leading to more regulations and lawsuits, this could be the start of a turning point in national consciousness. Or maybe I’m a hopeless romantic dreamer too. Who knows…

  4. Nah, we’re addicted to rules and regulations.

  5. I once made a bong out of a Big Mac, the special sauce filtered out all the particulates. I stopped after inhaling a sesame seed. The little bastard is still lodged in my right lung.

  6. I suspect that what they really mean is that Fast-Food is exactly as harmful as cigarettes, and exactly as addictive as nicotine, and thus the purveyors of these dangerous, addicitve products should be made to pay the states large settlements to defray all the health care costs associated with obesity, heart disease, etc. If they were really likening it to heroin or morphine, they would want the food to be banned, or available only with a prescription and administered only by a doctor. The states wouldn’t get a cut of the profits from the black market sales of fast food, so they can’t mean that… but then again, the prospect of increased revenue and settlement money from the negative side effects of a decriminalized drug trade hasn’t provided sufficient motivation to legalize/decriminalize illicit drugs, so who knows….

  7. Ever go experience the withdrawl sysmntoms of oxygen. It must be a powerful and addictive drug too if our bodies crave it so much. And look how toxic it is too – it deteriorates metals. Not to mention that consuming too much oxygen is similar to drink too much alchohol.

  8. Burgers are as addictive as heroin? Sweet.

    Well, let’s see if we can’t get ’em legalized. I mean sure, we have these street corner dealers on every block and all, and the law turns a blind eye to people cooking their own at home… But what if we legalized hamburgers, and then taxed the hell out of them?

    Wait a minute, we already do that?


  9. I would love for the people claiming it ‘alters brain biochemistry with effects similar to those [of] powerful opiates such as morphine’ to volunteer to have a really painful operation with only a burger and fries as an anesthetic.

    Until they’re willing to do that, I call bullshit.

  10. The whole heroin/cigarette addiction similarity is garbage. It is largely based on epidemiological studies that compared recidivism rates after one year of heroin and nicotine users who had quit cold turkey. Rates where the same, so therefore it was decided that both drugs were equally addictive. This conclusion, however, doesn’t take into account the differences in cost, availability, legality, socail acceptability, and ability to function between the two drugs. If I could walk into a corner store after work, buy 20 indiviualized, standardized doses of heroin for under $10, go meet my co-workers around the corner at a bar, indulge along with some others while the non-users didn’t blink an eye, then go home and have a normal dinner with the wife and kids, then maybe they could be compared.

    LIVING constantly alters brain chemistry. I fully expect that to be regulated very soon.

  11. Oh great, so if I have a back yard BBQ where I serve burgers and chips, would I be possibly raided, arrested, my property seized and liquidated before trial, and my children sent to foster homes? Next, Joe Biden’s RAVE Act could be applied to those events where burgers and fries were “knowingly” consumed!

    Its time for people to recognize the difference between hamburger use and abuse!

  12. My food habit costs me a few hundred bucks a month and requires several doses every day. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without feeding my food cravings. I’ve never seen anyone kick their food addiction for more than a day or so. The withdrawl symptoms are pretty nasty. If only the government had prevented me from getting addicted to food in the first place.

  13. Does anyone know where to find information about this “research” on high fat diets? I guess the NY Post is above using citations, so this might be a bit difficult. This “research” just smells funny. Smells like a hoax to me. If not, it looks to be very poorly thought-out.

    “He also found that a steady diet of fat alters the development of the brain so much
    that it is almost impossible for a fast-food “junkie” to switch to a healthy diet.”

    I thought they were studying rats… now they make this claim? This sort of claim would require some fabulous evidence, far beyond what could be gleaned from research on rats.

    I chalk this article up to bad science or gullible journalists.


  14. Bleh. Did PETA fund this “surprising new study”? Remember: if vegetarians outlaw meat, then only vegetarians will be eaten. (make mine well done will ya)

  15. Doesn’t this also mean that heroin and cigarettes are as addictive as hamburgers and fries? Imagine how far the drug laws and cigarette suits would have gotten if that had been their punch line.

  16. Maybe Mickey D’s can start selling H and then its a one stop shop for me.

  17. Folks, the truth is that Ronald McD is nothing more than a smack pusher. That low life, the Hambugerlar, has been stealing to support Ronnie’s habit for years and Grimace has been peddling this shit to the kids on the playgrounds. This is a travesty of injustice, Ronnie will have to pay dearly for that damage he has caused to society.

  18. There’s another addictive menace that nobody’s talking about: There’s a substance called dihydrogen monoxide. People develop an addiction to it as soon as they’re born. Immersion in it can cause death, it’s the primary component of acid rain, and the military has developed technologies that take advantage of dihydrogen monoxide. This must be banned immediately!

    Remember, it’s for the children.

    (For those who don’t get the joke, think back to chemistry: What does the prefix di- mean? What does the prefix mono- mean? So what is di-hydrogen mono-oxide?)

  19. I hear McDonald actually uses cartoon characters in their advertising to hook chikldren into buying their products and getting addicted.

    This sh-t shouldn’t be sold near schools or churches!

  20. What we need to adopt is a public health approach to hamburger addiction, emphasizing treatment, prevention, and research. Involuntary treatment for hamburger addiction should of course be necessary, with period testing to ensure compliance. This is about our children, we should not abandon out communities to fatty food.

  21. The stuff Ronald McDonald sells even has a fancy street name.

    The junkies call it “snack”.

    There’s another fellow, Dave Thomas, who used to push this stuff, from a shop with a pleasant sounding name reminiscent of “Mary Jane”, which the hop-heads used to call their high of choice. Dave Thomas’ joint was called “Wendy”, and not only could you get a high fat high from burgers, but you could get two or three of them stacked in one handy carrying case. It wasn’t unusual, in the old days, for people to have to “sleep it off” after taking a double or triple hit of the stuff. Of course, as always happens in such cases, Dave Thomas kept on eating and eating at Wendys, until he died. So sad, such a waste. He might have lived two, three days longer had he abjured the burgers and stuck to salads.

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