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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Hardcover)


by David Kessler MD (Author)

From Publishers Weekly

Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw, says Kessler, former FDA commissioner under presidents Bush and Clinton). Here Kessler (A Question of Intent) describes how, since the 1980s, the food industry, in collusion with the advertising industry, and lifestyle changes have short-circuited the body's self-regulating mechanisms, leaving many at the mercy of reward-driven eating. Through the evidence of research, personal stories (including candid accounts of his own struggles) and examinations of specific foods produced by giant food corporations and restaurant chains, Kessler explains how the desire to eat—as distinct from eating itself—is stimulated in the brain by an almost infinite variety of diabolical combinations of salt, fat and sugar. Although not everyone succumbs, more people of all ages are being set up for a lifetime of food obsession due to the ever-present availability of foods laden with salt, fat and sugar. A gentle though urgent plea for reform, Kessler's book provides a simple food rehab program to fight back against the industry's relentless quest for profits while an entire country of people gain weight and get sick. According to Kessler, persistence is all that is needed to make the perceptual shifts and find new sources of rewards to regain control. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Dr. David Kessler has written a fascinating account of the science of human appetite, as well as its exploitation by the food industry. The End of Overeating is an invaluable contribution to the national conversation about the catastrophe that is the modern American diet." --Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food

"David A. Kessler, who led the battle against the tobacco industry, now joins the fight against obesity. His message is important: The problem is not only the behavior of profit-driven food companies, but also the daily choices that each one of us makes." —Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

"David Kessler’s fascinating book is essential for anyone interested in learning more about how corporate greed and human psychology have created a national health crisis." —Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse

"Disturbing, thought-provoking, and important." —Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential

"A compelling book about overeating and the obesity pandemic. Dr. Kessler thoroughly examines the nature of our relationship with food and why it is critical to understand and modify our behavior to reverse this global threat to health and well-being." —David Satcher, former Surgeon General and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"A fascinating, unique book by a brilliant public health leader." —Donna Shalala, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A clincal account of the science behind overeating, February 26, 2009
By Natasha Stryker (California)


I appreciated this book. I appreciated a health-related book discussing dieting that WAS NOT trying to sell you something. The research that went into this book is impressive and the results are fascinating. Turns out that along with our waistlines, processed food manipulation has been on the rise since the 1980's.

Food producers of all types have been seeking ways to make us want their product more, and it is working. The pleasure-seeking part of your brain is hard to turn off once saturated with key combinations of ingredients, namely fat, sugar and salt. We are hard-wired to seek foods with these ingredients combined, and the public has been trained to respond. The result? Severe obesity and obesity-related health problems in the numbers we have never seen before.

This book does a wonderful job educating the reader in what they are doing subconsciously. It gives power to those who walk around inhaling food and thinking, "why the hell am I doing this?!" Once armed with the knowledge, it is amazing how you walk through the grocery store and see the companies practicing what the book preaches.

You begin to read labels in a new way and ask yourself questions like, "why would this product have so much sugar salt AND fat in it, it's just plain spaghetti sauce?!" If you are a chronic dieter, you stop looking at just fat grams and calories and start READING the whole label. The book is completely right about so many products; fat, salt and sugar are there in combinations to solely get you hooked to eat more of the product.

This book is informative and well written; the style is very easy to read and understand without feeling talked down to. If you ever wondered why we are in the state we are in as a nation of consumers, you will enjoy the education you will get from this book.

Superb Book On How and Why People Overeat As Well As How to Stop Overeating, March 9, 2009
By scesq "scesq" (New Milford, New Jersey USA)


This is a well-written, easily understandable, interesting book on the very serious subject of overeating. The book is broken into six parts with relatively small chapters ranging in size from approximately three pages to eleven pages in length with many in the four to seven page range. The first part, for example, has 13 chapters so there is much information but it is presented in a way which flows well together.

When I got this book I was interested in the subject matter but I was worried that the book would be boring or so technical that I would lose interest. I read this book in two days and it has changed my approach to eating.

Part One of the book, Sugar, Fat, Salt, talks about why people eat and overeat. It looks at the physical as well as psychological aspects of overeating.

Part Two of the book (my favorite), The Food Industry, gives specific examples of how restaurants and the food industry contribute to the problem by creating food that people want to eat but is not healthy. For instance I never new that bread had so much slay because it takes away the bitter taste of the flour and brings up the flavor. The author also addresses how nutrition information on packaging is manipulated by the food industry. For instance if a food contains more sugar than any other ingredient it must go first on the list but if you use a number of sources of sugar like brown sugar, corn syrup and fructose each is listed individually and goes lower on the list.

Part Three, Conditioned Hypereating Emerges, talks about how we get trapped into an overeating pattern. It references numerous studies and explores whether overeating is nature, nurture or both.

Part Four, The Theory of Treatment, talks about the theoretical way people can break the overeating habit.

Part Five, Food Rehab, offers practical ways individuals can stop overeating. The advice is great.

Part Six, The End Of Overeating, talks about the challenges ahead to end overeating. While it will not be easy, each individual has the power to end his or her overeating despite roadblocks created by the food industry or our own physical or mental makeup.

This is a great book that has started me thinking differently about food. It is well written and the best on the subject I have ever read.

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