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Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings---And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally Hardcover – June 25, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Why is it so hard to resist the temptation of chocolate? Because chocolate triggers the release of natural opiates in the brain. It's a drug "strong enough to keep us coming back for more," according to nutritional researcher Neal Barnard, M.D., president and founder of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. Cheese also releases mild opiates during digestion--no wonder we crave it. In Breaking the Food Seduction, Barnard helps you understand and overcome your food cravings. He explains which foods "hook" us the most and why, and what to do to break free when you want to decrease the calories and fat that accompany these seductive foods. Cheese, for example, is about 70 percent saturated fat and has more cholesterol, ounce for ounce, than a steak.

Barnard offers seven steps to breaking your food cravings, devoting a chapter to each one, with anecdotes and plenty of clear, sound, practical tips. Then he presents guidelines for healthy eating using "the New Four Food Groups"--vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains--with a three-week menu plan and 113 healthful, vegan recipes. Highly recommended for people who want to understand their food cravings and finally get rid of them. --Joan Price


"Dr. Neal Barnard is one of the most responsible and authoritative voices in American medicine today."
- Andrew Weil, M.D.

"Dr. Neal Barnard is a brilliant visionary, one of the leading pioneers in educating the public about the healing power of diet and nutrition."
- Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Eat More, Weigh Less

"Here at last is the book that shows why certain foods can be so addictive and exactly what to do about it."
- John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., Director of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Cooper Clinic

"...must reading for anyone who eats - and wants to enjoy good health."
- Has A. Diehl, Dr.HSc., Director of the Coronary Health Improvement Project and Chairman of the Board of The Lifestyle Medicine Institure

"This book squarely addresses some of the most critical nutritional problems we face - not only what we should be eating, but also how we can free ourselves from the habits that have kept too many of us from enjoying better health."
- Henry Heimlich, M.D., The Heimlich Institute at Deaconess Hospital
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (June 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312314930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312314934
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

229 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Amalfi Coast Girl on April 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
The goal of Dr. Barnard is to steer everyone toward a vegan diet. If that is not your intention, best not to pick up this book. The changes are far-reaching, and radically different than the SAD (Standard American Diet).

I tried being a lacto-ovo vegetarian off and on throughout my life. The thought of giving up cheese was just too much to imagine. Additionally, having a husband whose first words about a meal were "where's the meat" made vegetarian life difficult. But if you experience a health crisis (cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure) it is amazing how quickly you can moderate your behavior.

My husband and I have been vegan for approximately 5 weeks now. We have never felt better in our lives. If you are holding on to meat, cheese and milk but don't feel good, this book will improve your health. Dr. Barnard also explains why it is so difficult to give up sugar, chocolate, cheese and meat. Apparently these items contain various addicting compounds. If someone had tried to tell me this 6 months ago I would have thought they were crazy. Now that I have adopted a vegan lifestyle I can say that my health has improved so much is such a short period of time that it is almost miraculous. Also, it is important to note that after 2 weeks my cravings for sugar, chocolate, cheese and meat are all but gone.

In the last 5 weeks my husband and I have seen dramatic improvements in our health. We have both each lost 12 pounds without being hungry or exercising more. My husband has decreased his total cholesterol from 177 to 113 (this happened in 24 days). He has been taken off this high blood pressure medication. I have not had a sinus headache in 5 weeks. Prior to becoming a vegan I had chronic sinusitis.
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172 of 176 people found the following review helpful By 2bluesky2 on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
What is the food seduction and why do you want to break it?

In the first part of this book, the author says that some foods have addictive qualities because they contain very small amounts of opiate like substances. Some people seem to be more susceptible to these substances and, in effect, become addicted to them. The foods the author identifies as having these substances are: sugar, chocolate, cheese, and meat. Unfortunately, these foods are commonly associated with causing obesity and all of the health problems related to obesity. So it is important to break the seductive quality these foods may have for you.

How do you do that? The author is skeptical of relying upon simple will power. The addictive like quality these foods have will eventually overcome your will power. Straining to deprive yourself of them leads to feelings of deprivation, guilt, hopelessness, and other negative emotions as you eventually succumb to your addictions again.

In the second part of the book, the author proposes a seven-step program to help you develop a food-craving-free body.

Step one. Start with a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal or other cereals/grains and fruits are an excellent choice. This recommendation sounds trite, but ignoring it can easily lead to cravings later in the day. The author tells stories of dieters who failed, yet were proud that they had successfully skipped meals during the day. Successful dieters identify healthy foods to eat, and then they make sure to eat enough of them during the day. If you don't consume enough calories from healthy foods to satisfy yourself, your cravings for fattening foods will surely overcome you. Hunger triggers cravings. Don't provoke it.
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119 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Jill Minor on September 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am hypoglycemic and historically prone to lots of yeast infections and bladder infections. After a mere three weeks of following the advice in this book, my sugar cravings are GONE. I can now walk through the candy aisle at the supermarket and genuinely have no desire for the candy. I can see the pint of Cherry Garcia beckoning through the grocery freezer door, and feel nothing. I could take it or leave it, and even if I took it home, I couldn't eat the whole thing at gunpoint. Honestly.

Now I know the biological reasons behind my cravings--why does my body demand chocolate before my period, for example? Barnard explains precisely how these foods can "hook" us. Armed with these new insights, for three weeks solid I ate very little fat, salt, and sugar, and tons of whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, legumes, and water. I won't lie to you--the candy would have been much cheaper; fresh whole food costs a fortune. To avoid going broke in the produce aisle, I cut back drastically on meat and tried soy cheese and more bean-based meals. Who says you have to put a hunk of animal flesh in the oven every single night anyway? And it isn't just the sweets that I suddenly find distasteful--potato chips taste too salty and greasy to me now. It's as if somebody rewired my taste buds.

Read this book, and also the amazing book "Fit From Within," to forever alter your relationship with food. Even if you're skinny--and I'm 5'10" and 134 pounds, hardly overweight--if you ever feel that food controls you, rather than the other way around, you need to read this book. Don't let Barnard's hardcore vegan stance scare you off--if you reduce meat and dairy and quadruple fruits and veggies, and keep your trusty water bottle by your side, the magic will still work.
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