The End of Overeating
Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
by David Kessler
In The End of Overeating, former FDA commissioner David Kessler takes a scientific approach to America’s obesity problem; using biology, neurology, and psychology to explore the reasons why we overeat and what we can do to end our obsession with food.
Why Do We Overeat?
According to Kessler, the food industry is exploiting us by “amping up the neurons” in order to stimulate our brains. By adding sugar, fat, and salt to foods, it makes them more neurologically attractive which, in turn, create cravings. In short, modern foods have become too palatable – causing our brain’s reward center to become over-stimulated and instilling in us a desire for more. And it doesn’t end there. With every hyper-stimulating food we consume, the cravings increase. Eventually, we begin to partake in food-seeking behavior – which is the major cause of obesity. Where food was once made to satisfy hunger, nowadays it is made to stimulate cravings. Even ethnic foods have been altered to exploit the American craving for more; with sugar, salt, and fat being added to what are traditionally known as healthy foods.
What Can We Do About It?
So how can we stop this trend of over stimulation and food seeking? In the Food Rehab portion of the book, Kessler once again relies on science to provide common sense solutions to help us break the conditioned responses we have to certain foods. Key elements include creating structure around eating, choosing healthy foods that are also satisfying, and including exercise. He also provides advice on how to deal with relapses.
All in all, The End of Overeating doesn’t really tell us anything we haven’t already heard; however, much of it is certainly worth repeating. For those within the weight loss profession or readers who lean towards the scientific, the book provides an enjoyable delve into the underlying biology and psychological aspects of overeating. For the rest of us, it is an interesting read – providing a bit of insight into how a nation so obsessed with weight has become so fat.