The End of Overeating (2010) by David Kessler is a compelling, in-depth analysis of why we eat the way we do. Dr. David Kessler, former FDA commissioner shares how our brain chemistry has been hijacked by the foods we most love to eat: those that contain stimulating combinations of fat, sugar, and salt.
Drawn from the latest brain science as well as interviews with top physicians and food industry insiders, The End of Overeating exposes the food industry’s aggressive marketing tactics and reveals how we lost control over food, and gives suggestions on how to regain personal control.
Kessler pores through the research and details the physiological and psychological reasons for why we are drawn to overeat, and the way that big corporations use this research to make food products that are guaranteed to tempt us to over-indulge. It all boils down to sugar, fat, and salt, and how companies spend millions of dollars developing recipes and chemicals that will entice us, to over-ride our natural "homeostasis" that would normally keep us at an even weight.
The first part of the book deals with the physiological research, then the psychology behind overeating, and finally, at the end of the book are chapters devoted to dealing with these triggers in order to help one get beyond the temptations and stay at an even weight.
It is certainly true that the obese in our culture are in a Catch 22 situation. Marketing Interests in Society do everything possible to entice us to overeat, and yet we are also stigmatized by Marketing Interests in Society when our bodies become obese as a natural result of overeating.
Of course, … also … that stigmatization of our obesity creates even more marketing opportunities for those same food Marketing Interests as well as a for variety of others, in the form of “diet or non-diet” information and programs; a multitude of “healthy” foods, supplements and drugs; the “health” services of medical professionals, including surgeons, psychologists, nutritionists, trainers; as well as “health related or exercise” facilities and equipment etc
I was not impressed by Kessler’s “solutions” to the problem of obesity. This best-selling book’s primary value to me was its presentation of interesting detailed facts about how Marketing Interests use their best efforts to entice us to eat as much as possible.
Kessler’s presentation represents a popular theory about the current “obesity epidemic”, however, there are also opposing theories. Mike Gibney, author of a recently published book, “Something to Chew on”, (11/2012) says that when Kessler writes that the incidence of obesity soared from the late 1980s, he ignores the indisputable fact that the rise of obesity is more or less tracked by the industrial revolution.
Gibney goes on to say that this omission is of huge importance, because “If Kessler chooses to ignore the early origins of obesity, then he can be comfortable blaming the advent of foods high in salt, sugar and fat. Others can comfortably blame the advent of high fructose corn syrup, fast food, sugar sweetened beverages”
Gibney continues: “It is a simple fact of life that obesity is one of the drawbacks of affluence where food is abundant and where labour saving devices (and slave labour) are accessible. This is not for one iota to play down the health consequences of obesity. It is simply of enormous importance in understanding the causes of obesity.”
No one book provides every answer to any issue. I found Kessler’s book, “The End of Overeating” extremely interesting reading, and recommend it. However, I did feel the title was a bit misleading, since the book provided very little practical insight or new help toward actually ENDING Overeating.
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