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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the…
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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

by David Kessler

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Why do so many of us have a tendency, or even a compulsion, to eat more than is good for us, and to eat things we know perfectly well aren't healthy? David Kessler answers this question in two parts. First, he discusses what happens in our brains when food gets associated with wonderful floods of reward chemicals washing over our neurons, and why that can have so much power over us. Then he talks about the food industry, and the ways in which it deliberately engineers food for "craveability." Which, yes, is an actual term they actually use.

Kessler lays out the facts and the scientific arguments and their implications in a clear and readable way, although he sometimes repeats things more than he really has to. And I could have done without the many detailed descriptions of how various restaurants cook up their various yummy dishes with remarkably similar salt-and-fat-infusing techniques, if only because they made me really, really hungry. Which undoubtedly helps to prove his point, but is nevertheless somewhat unkind. I also think he leaves out or downplays some of the more complex social factors that help determine how we relate to food. But his points all seem pretty good, as far as they go.

Then, in the last few sections, he addresses the question of what can be done about overeating, offering up some suggestions for those seeking to lose weight, including some that have worked for him. They're all very sane and sensible suggestions, offered up in a tone that is encouraging without downplaying the difficulty. And yet, I cannot help but come away with the depressing feeling that for those of us conditioned towards unhealthy eating, real change and lasting weight loss require such Herculean effort and the sacrifice of so many sources of joy and satisfaction that even the first step of convincing ourselves it's truly worth it may be insurmountably hard.

Also, I want some pizza now. And a chocolate chip cookie. Sigh. ( )
1 vote bragan | Apr 14, 2015 |
Very informational book about how the food industry puts additives in our food products to make them super palatable, therefore enticing us to eat more and contributing to the obesity of our country. A must read. ( )
  Mary6508 | Oct 28, 2013 |
This NY Times bestseller has been featured on several television and radio shows, partly because it is written by Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Kessler spends a huge portion of the book discussing how food manufacturers and restaurants add fat, sugar and salt to make it more palatable and how our body reacts to these ingredients. He even dedicates whole chapters to chains like Cinnabon and goes over many of the tastier items on the Chili's menu. He discusses the biology of food addiction and he gives some suggestions (avoid contact with unhealthy foods), but after finishing the book, I didn't feel like I knew how to turn my penchant for sweets into a craving for celery. I did find myself craving a Cinnabon though. I admire Dr. Kessler for all that he has done in trying to get full disclosure in food labels and restaurant selections. His goal of ending childhood obesity is wonderful. But, his book is not going to end chubby thighs, at least for me. Hopefully his work will lead to healthier choices and a better overall awareness of the causes of obesity. So, if you are interested in how our food industry is contributing to obesity in our society or want to know how many teaspoons of sugar are in a Strawberry and Cream Frappuccino (18!!), then you will find this book interesting and informative. But, if you are looking for a diet book, then this is not it.
( )
1 vote jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
This book helped me to think about eating in a different way. I especially enjoyed learning more about how chain restaurants prepare, serve and market their food. ( )
1 vote dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
But fat, salt and sugar taste so good, Doctor... ( )
  KidSisyphus | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
It's a quick read, partly because of the short chapters, and partly because it runs a little to repetition, but for all that, it's a fascinating read.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (May 7, 2009)
 
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Most of us know what it feels like to fall under the spell of food--when a handful of chips leads to an empty bag. But it's harder to understand why we can't seem to stop eating, even when we know better. Dr. David Kessler, the dynamic former FDA commissioner who reinvented the food label and tackled the tobacco industry, now cracks the code of overeating by explaining how our bodies and minds are changed when we consume foods that contain sugar, fat, and salt. Food manufacturers create products by manipulating these ingredients to stimulate our appetites, setting in motion a cycle of desire and consumption that ends with a nation of overeaters. This book explains for the first time why it is exceptionally difficult to resist certain foods and why it's so easy to overindulge. Dr. Kessler's cutting-edge investigation offers new insights and helpful tools to help us find a solution.--From publisher description.… (more)

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