It turns out that Alligators are hopelessly enamored with marshmallows. There are even tours through Louisiana and Florida where people can purportedly feed alligators by hand. Coming from a guy with only nine fingers, that is probably one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve heard of in months.
This actually makes a lot of sense if you know a little something about sugar:
“[W]hen rats were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between water sweetened with saccharin-an intense calorie-free sweetener-and intravenous cocaine-a highly addictive and harmful substance-the large majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin. The preference for saccharin was not attributable to its unnatural ability to induce sweetness without calories because the same preference was also observed with sucrose, a natural sugar. Finally, the preference for saccharin was not surmountable by increasing doses of cocaine and was observed despite either cocaine intoxication, sensitization or intake escalation-the latter being a hallmark of drug addiction.”, wrote the researchers.
“Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals.” they concluded. Still, some researchers point out that these conclusions could not be applied directly to humans. Humans are generally aware that something they’re ingesting could get them “hooked” and that the effects could harm them. Rats, on the other hand, lack this awareness and are driven only by the sensations produced by a chemical.
Another issue: sugar, with all its potential cavity-inducing and obesity havoc, is still a nutrient, whereas cocaine’s benefits for the body are non existent. Still, refined sugars (like, sucrose, fructose) did not enter in the human diet until very recently in our history. The overconsumption of diets rich in refined sugars, combined with other factors, is the main cause that determines the current obesity epidemic. Overconsumption of refined sugar rich foods or beverages is initially determined by the pleasure of feeling that sweet taste, and which acts like a drug addiction.
I found an interesting and strangely touching article in the NYtimes on an alligator trapper in the everglades. Lots of fun fackts.
-In 1977 alligators were endangered, now there are over 15 million of them in Florida alone.