You can buy just about any type of cookie your heart desires these days. Yet–and yet!–there you are again. Standing in line or picking up the phone to buy the delectable goodness from the Girl Scouts. Oh, you swore you wouldn’t. But they’re just so…nom nom nom inducing. Or if you skipped the line, it’ll come to you. Think you’ll be able to turn down your co-worker Paul from oh so sweetly advocating on behalf of his daughter? No, you won’t, and you’ll have 12 different flavors, or reasons, why.
What Girl Scout Cookies Actually Do to Your Brain
Like any other confection, Girl Scout cookies contain copious amounts of sugar and fat (6-16 and 4.5-9 grams per serving, respectively, depending on your cookie choice). Eating sugar triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, a chemical related to feelings of happiness and contentment. At the same time, even though the fat isn’t as good as protein or fiber in terms of creating feelings of satiety, it does slow down digestion somewhat, so you might be less tempted to binge on ‘Second Breakfast’ later on. That combination doesn’t make the cookies an ideal health food choice by any means, but it makes them mighty attractive to people who constantly on the go or going or whose schedule barely allows for half a sandwich at lunch (or if you just love the cookies and want one, or three).
But Where They Really Get You is the Heart
Even after you get past the physical appeal of Girl Scout cookies, the sweets shine because of the psychological aspects attached to them. Why buy Joe Schmoe’s Peanut Butter Goodie Crunch at the store if you can get Girl Scout cookies and give back to your community? Why scarf Minty Chocolate Joys when, with Thin Mints, you also support a group that teaches girls independence and empowering skills? And besides. Girl Scout cookies are mysterious. Precious. You could get a Whatisthis Sandwich with Chocolate Drizzle any time. But Girl Scout cookies are here only for a limited time. You’d be silly to pass that up, right? Just take a look at Google’s inevitable search spike every year — we seriously can’t get enough of them!
Girl Scout cookies are successful in part because they are literally a physical joy. But they’re set apart because you emotionally feel connected to possibility and urgency. And that’s genius (albeit perhaps unintentional) marketing, because that’s exactly what Girl Scouts are trying to internalize. Now, where did I put that S’mores box?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.