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1,020 of 1,071 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book On How and Why People Overeat As Well As How to Stop Overeating
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...
Published on March 9, 2009 by scesq

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347 of 429 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Reason We Overeat
This book is about overeating and the reason that people do it. Dr. 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...
Published on March 13, 2009 by booksy


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1,020 of 1,071 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book On How and Why People Overeat As Well As How to Stop Overeating, March 9, 2009
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scesq "scesq" (New Milford, New Jersey USA) - See all my reviews
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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 salt 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 theoretical ways 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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589 of 627 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of Overeating - a Book Report, May 17, 2009
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As a middle aged woman who eats pretty well, gets regular exercise, and takes great supplements, it gets pretty discouraging to deal with the frustration and potential negative health consequences of the extra 20 pounds I am carrying around, not to mention the fact that I look in the mirror and see my grandmother's body!

Consequently, I am always on a search for the magic fat loss bullet. So it was a synchronistic moment when I happened to listen to an interview with Dr. David Kessler on PBS recently. This is the former FDA commissioner who reinvented the food label and tackled the tobacco industry. His new book, The End of Overeating, was a must read for me. I wasn't disappointed.

The book is a fascinating read, full of documentation and testimonials on the growing obesity problem and our apparent inability to control our food intake as a culture. Let me walk you through the salient points in this book:

We are biologically wired to respond to sugar, fat, and salt. As processed food became an industry designed to create a profitable product, our waistlines grew. In 1960 women between the ages of twenty and twenty nine weighed an average of 128 pounds. In 2000, that number grew to 157. In the forty to forty-nine age group, it grew from an average of 142 to a whopping 169 pounds! Yes, ladies, the average perimenopausal woman in America weighs 169 pounds, so don't feel alone.

Most of us blame ourselves for our weight gain. We attribute it to a lack of self discipline and control. Well, it turns out that certain foods actually override our conscious will and drive us to continue to consume them. This is a biological phenomenon he equates with alcohol addiction. We are collectively addicted to sugar, fat, and salt.

He discusses some interesting research on rats being fed sugar combined with fat and shows how these animals will walk across an electrified plate to get to Fruit Loops; a food with a layered combination of salt, fat, and sugar. Rats will go to great lengths to eat this food and will become obese as a result.

His chapter on neural networks was particularly interesting to me. If you have read my book The 8 Keys to Wellness you know I am a big advocate of creating new habits by repeating a desired behavior 21 days in a row in order to form new neural pathways that will reinforce the new behavior. What this book showed me was that even if we create those new pathways, the old ones are still there. For example, people who quit smoking will continue to want a cigarette years later when they are in a situation that triggers that old neural pathway. I was a little discouraged reading this, but it also helped me give myself some slack because of the many times I have failed to stay on an eating and exercise plan, an affirmation strategy, or any other self development scheme I have tried. It also explains the 'rubber band effect'. This is what happens when you try to create a new behavior and rebound back to your old way of doing things. It's all about brain chemistry!

Fat, sugar, and salt-especially when combined, interact with the opioid circuits in the brain, which causes us to consume more of the substance that triggered the reaction. Think about potato chips. You don't think of them as having sugar, but the simple sugars in the potato covered with fat and topped with salt are a deadly chemical combination that triggers an insatiable desire to consume all of the potato chips. The same thing happens with tortilla chips or bread. You can't even tell when you are satiated, because the combination of the fat, sugar, and salt overrides the ability for the body to create satiety signals to get you to stop eating.

Further, the food industry is dedicated to getting you to become dependent on these addictive foods. They add chemicals which further enhance the brain's pleasure circuits and cause you to want to eat more-and gain weight in the process.

Dr. Kessler provides a great overview of the steps we can take to avoid taking the first bite of these deadly foods. He admits that this is a very difficult process but it can and needs to be done if we are to prevent the adverse effects that fat has on our health.

Here are his recommendations:

1. Become aware of what you are compulsively saying to yourself about a food cue.
He says we have to be conscious of our 'premonitory urges' which you can notice and then say 'thank you' to your brain for telling you. Then you can choose something else.

2. Engage in a competitive behavior to cause habit reversal.
We need to plan ahead if we want to compete with our brain's old habits. For example, instead of driving by that fast food chain you usually drop by, change your driving route so you avoid it. Start to notice your habitual behaviors that lead to over eating.

3. Formulate thoughts that compete with, and serve to quiet, the old ones.
Our thoughts have power over our behavior. We need to disconnect pleasure thoughts with the behaviors we no longer want to reinforce. NLP has some terrific techniques for this. Minimally, we can transform, 'That ice cream looks really great; I'll have just a few bites' to I know I can't have one bite because it will lead to twenty bites.' (I love this because that is how I learned to quit smoking. I knew I couldn't have just one cigarette-or even a puff, because if I did I would be smoking a pack within a couple of days.

4. Get support
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that social networks can promote obesity. If you have friends and family that are obese you are more likely to be obese. So, it's important to develop ongoing relationships with people who demonstrate the behaviors you want to create, yourself. In other words, get some skinny friends and do what they do.

5. Create rules to guide your eating behaviors.
Rules aren't the same thing as will power. He says willpower leads to a conflict between the force of the behavior you want to create and your determination to resist the old patterns. If you have rules to follow, you don't need to have will power. So, we need to create specific, simple rules that we follow. A good example is "I don't eat French fries," and "I don't eat dessert."

6. Change your emotional connection to certain foods.
The thought of certain foods triggers emotions that were developed as a result of the brain chemicals that were stimulated when you ate that food at some time in the past when you wanted to 'medicate' yourself. The way to overcome the pleasurable anticipation of, "I can't wait to go to the movie and eat popcorn" is to connect negative emotions to the fat, sugar, and salt layered foods we crave. Tony Robbins has a great example of thinking about Milk Duds. Milk Duds are one of my favorite indulgences, especially when you combine them with buttery popcorn. He says to look at Milk Duds and think of eating cockroaches. They look kind of like cockroaches, so it can be relatively easy to do.

Remember, the goal is to change our neural circuitry to overcome the desire to eat these foods because once we start, the biochemisty involved in stopping is virtually insurmountable.

There is a lot more in this book that will help you understand how these insidious foods are keeping you fat and will inspire you to do something about it. You can it online or at any bookstore.
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456 of 501 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clincal account of the science behind overeating, February 26, 2009
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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.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life changing book, November 25, 2011
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This review is from: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Paperback)
This book changed my life. I exercise and work very hard to lose weight but continually struggled to control my eating. All of the books I have read have told me I am eating out of emotional reasons or because I am stressed out or repressing something, which did not ring true with me. (not to say that isn't true for other people) This book explains exactly why I crave the foods I crave and how to stop it. Extremely educational and informative
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141 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything that has made the food industry successful is the problem that has resulted in obesity and its related health issues., June 27, 2009
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Having battled weight all my adult life, these are some of the important points I took away from David Kessler's book:

The food industry is the manipulator of consumers' minds and desires. As a result, restaurant food is loaded with fat, salt, and sugar. In a cyclical process, eating highly palatable foods with just the right amounts of sugar, fat and salt activates the opioid circuits in the brain and increases consumption of highly palatable food. Engaging opioid mechanisms interferes with "taste-specific satiety." You don't grow tired of the taste of a food, you just keep eating it.

Humans prefer an exaggerated stimulus. Hyperpalatable foods with very energy-dense sugar and fat are the culinary equivalent of entertainment spectacles like Disneyland or Las Vegas. The amount of sugar in food today goes beyond the level we could have experienced naturally, and that means we desire it more. If we were eating these types of foods once in awhile (like we visit Disneyland once in awhile) it wouldn't be such a problem. The difficulty is that we do it so often.

People have been conditioned to eat more of certain types of foods during certain times of day. Culturally, we are now expected to eat during times of the day when we normally would not have eaten. During my years teaching at one school site, we had recess aides. As a result, each morning at 9:30, we teachers would dismiss our students for recess and then gather in the lunchroom. There was the expectation that there would be a snack in that lunchroom every day: chips and guacamole, a cake (teachers were encouraged to bring a cake to share on their birthdays) or something else. We would sit and dish about our kids and munch away on the snacks at the table. I gained 15 pounds that first year of teaching, and thereafter continued a pattern that resulted in more weight gain over the next 8 years that I worked at that school. When I transferred to a new school, there were no morning recess aides. So, there was no routine to have food in the lounge as had been the case at the old school. The result: skinnier teachers with more appropriate morning eating habits. After awhile, I gave up that "morning snack" entirely. But it had become a conditioned habit.

Positive associations become ingrained in us to motivate our behavior. We associate certain foods with pleasurable times in our lives. The reverse is most certainly true as well: We can associate foods with an unpleasurable experience as well. My sister will not eat scalloped potatoes and ham to this day because she vomited that particular dinner up one evening at the beginning of a bout with stomach flu.

Foods high in sugar, fat and salt are altering the biological circuitry of our brains. People cannot control their responses to highly palatable foods because their brains have been changed by the foods they eat. When it comes to food, we are following an eating script that has been written into the circuits of our brains.

For example, "Chili's Southwestern Egg rolls" is a "starter course" the size of a burrito. It is a tortilla, chicken, cheese, etc. all highly processed to add more fat, sugar and salt. It has a very high calorie density, and the processing means you can chew it very fast. Refined food simply melts in the mouth. Calling it an "egg roll" and a "starter course" implies that it is just something you order to eat until your dinner has been cooked. Those "egg rolls" have 810 calories, 51 grams of fat, 1250 mg of salt, and 59 carbs. But because it is so highly processed, you will eat the whole thing and your brain will not register fullness. Refined food simply melts in the mouth as though it has been pre-chewed. Processing creates a sort of "adult baby food." Foods with less "chew" don't leave us with a sense of being well fed. Food stripped of fiber (to make it easier to chew) doesn't satisfy the way a more fiber-rich version would do.

So, instead we eat to be belly filled.

The more the food industry behaves like the entertainment industry, the more profitable it is. Eating out has become more routine, so to compete, restaurants have to offer more "eatertainment."

The food industry's goal is the make enticing food easily and constantly available, and keeps it novel so people will keep coming back for more. You could call it the "taco chip challenge" - the challenge of controlled eating in the face of constant food availability.

The food industry is also constantly looking for ways to maximize profits by using poorer quality ingredients and fillers. Today's muffins are bigger, but most of the real ingredients are gone. They have been replaced by shortening or oil, powdered egg substitutes and processed sweeteners.

You have been systematically conditioned to overeat by the food industry. The industry has engineered food layered with salt, fat and sugar along with cues to maintain the constant urge to reward yourself with that food until it becomes habit.

Children naturally compensate to adjust the number of calories they consume during a day. If a child eats a calorie dense food, they will compensate naturally by eating less of other foods. This is the body's innate system of homeostasis. Over time, that is changing, and now studies are showing that children compensate less as they eat more and more processed (pre-chewed) foods.

Food companies fool us into thinking there is not as much sugar in a food by using techniques designed to manipulate our thinking. If a food contains more sugar than any other ingredient, federal regulations dictate that sugar be listed first on the label. To avoid having to do that, the industry will put in 3, 4, or 5 different sources of sugar so sugar doesn't have to be listed first. They will put in sugar, brown sugar, fructose, HFCS, honey or molasses in some combination to move the ingredients further down the list.

Social mores that used to keep us from eating in public have been lowered over time. We can walk and eat, be at work and eat, and that behavior isn't considered rude. Today, meetings and social occasions are constructed around food. There has been a breakdown in meal structure. The distinction between meals and snacks has been blurred. Snacking generally occurs without a compensating caloric reduction at mealtimes. People don't eat a smaller breakfast, lunch, or dinner just because they snack throughout the day.

Recent discussion about why the French can remain thin in spite of the rich foods they consume has enlightened us to why that happens. They eat smaller portions in only 2 or 3 meals per day. They simply don't snack. They don't eat in certain environments like classrooms or meetings, and they don't engage in "vagabond feeding" like Americans do.

As older patterns have broken down over time, eating for reward has overtaken eating for hunger. The satiety mechanism that takes place between meals cannot take place if you eat constantly. You lose the notion of what satiety feels like. Learning to overeat is an incremental process that grows with repeated exposure. To control our brains, we must learn to be mistrustful. We need to recognize that evolutionary behaviors that were helpful in the past have gotten out of control.

Intervention begins with the knowledge that we have a moment of choice - BUT ONLY A MOMENT - to recognize what is about to happen and do something else instead.

There are 4 steps to habit reversal.

Step 1 - Awareness: We need to be aware of sensory signals, stressful situations and forceful memories and their ability to make us respond to food. The question becomes, how much are you responding sensory stimuli instead of real hunger? Once you are cued, and have that initial urge, that is when you have a moment of control. Once you pay attention you have the capacity to extinguish the behavior.

Step 2 - Competing behavior: Learn and develop alternative responses that are incompatible with the undesired behavior. You need to know how you will respond when presented with the undesirable behavior. You must intervene early to have the best success.

Step 3 - Formulate thoughts that compete with and quiet old thoughts. Change the way you talk to yourself about food. Thinking about outcomes changes how you feel about the situation.

Step 4 - Seek support, but if your support system does not reinforce your goals, you're better off going it alone.

Use "if-then rules." If I encounter this cue, then I regulate my response to it this way.

Rules are not the same as willpower. Willpower pits the force of reinforcing stimuli against your determination to resist. A rule makes explicit the negative consequences of giving in to your impulses, and the positive consequences of not giving in. Rules are guided by higher brain functions. Categorical rules are easiest to follow:

* I don't eat French fries.
* I will not have dessert.

When the brain knows that a reward will not be forthcoming, it shifts its attention elsewhere.

If we learn to view the pursuit of sugar, salt and fat in a negative light, and to view with equal emotional significance behavior that encourages us to turn away from it, we can change a habit.

Counterconditioning is making a perceptual shift, and key to the essential principals of "Food Rehab."

* Engage in planned eating.
* Replace chaos with structure.
* Make simple yet specific rules about what and when to eat.
* Be predictable with food.

A just-right meal satisfies you for about 4 hours. A just-right snack satisfies you for about 2 hours. Eat half of what you normally eat, and then pay attention to how you feel 30 minutes later and then again 90 minutes later. Adjust accordingly until you find a serving size that is enough. Beyond that you are only eating for reward, not satiety. When people are served a "meal," their perception is that they are more satisfied than if they are served the exact same food called an "appetizer."

Any diet that keeps you hungry is guaranteed to fail. The most satiating micro-nutrients are meat and fiber. The least satiating is simple sugar. So you should eat whole wheat and brown rice instead of their white counterparts, meat instead of meat fillers, and an apple instead of applesauce. High fiber foods empty more slowly from the stomach, so you will feel satisfied for a longer period of time. Conversely, even though fat moves out of the stomach slowly, the body processes the feeling of fullness from fat more slowly, so it takes longer to feel full.

Eat foods that occur in nature - high fiber, complex carbs, protein, and small amounts of fat.

Be aware of your emotions and describe them so you can look more objectively at your mechanisms for coping with food. Ask yourself, "Will eating help me truly deal with this feeling?"

Have a list of alternate responses ready for dealing with your desire to eat when you really aren't hungry. Call a friend, go for a walk, do stress reduction exercises, or anything that can distract your attention.

Refuse everything you can't control! Even if it means that you have to throw it in the trash, do it so you won't have to fight temptation. One Christmas, my sister in law made tons of cookies, fudge, and peanut brittle for gifts. She gave each of us bags of this stuff, and just looking at it, I knew if I had it around my house, my family and I would eat it all. So, as soon as she left, I emptied it all into the trashcan. I felt so much better knowing that I wouldn't have to keep making the decision about whether or not to eat it every time I walked into the kitchen. It was so liberating.

Have an alternate plan. Take a different route to work, avoid the lunchroom when there are treats, and be aware of cues encouraging you to eat more.

Limit your exposure. In social situations, the temptations are ever-present. Remove yourself from the stimuli.

Redirect your attention. Ask yourself, "What will I do instead?" Read? Write? Exercise? Garden? Sew?

If I chose an activity to do every time I thought about eating something when I wasn't hungry, I would get so much accomplished. If I went into my sewing room and worked on a project every time I thought I needed a little snack (when in actuality I am probably just bored) I would have sewn hundreds of projects by now. Sewing is an activity that you simply cannot do while you eat. Watching TV is, so don't choose activities that are compatible with eating, because you will still find it hard to resist the cues to eat.

Learn active resistance. Refuse to be manipulated by marketing and advertising designed to get you to eat more. The food industry just wants to make money. They are doing everything in their power to achieve that goal. They really don't care about your health and well-being. They just want you to want more food, because that's how they make money. So, you have to be the keeper of your health. Understand that they want to control your thinking as much as possible to get you to buy their food. It has nothing to do with eating for hunger. It has everything to do with providing you with entertainment for your mouth and brain.

Use thought stopping. Think of the decision to eat like a television, and change the channel. Do it quickly! If you debate with yourself, you will lose the battle. Don't struggle, just get it out of your working memory. "Yes" has to become "NO" - not maybe. Engage your brain with something else. Stop the cue-urge-reward-habit cycle.

Talk down the urge. Tell yourself, "Eating this will keep me in the cue-urge-reward-habit cycle."

Exercise. Exercise engages the same neural regions as the other mood-enhancing rewards, and produces similar chemical responses in the brain.

Make your own set of rules about food and then follow them. One of my rules, "If I don't love it, why am I eating it?" This reminds me of these cookies my principal periodically brings to staff meetings. They are bone dry, almost to the point of being stale, and they have almost no flavor. But, because they are "cookies," the teachers eat them anyway. It is not hard for me to pass them by because they just aren't even delicious. But I watch as the other people in the room devour those cookies. Why? Because they have been conditioned. These cookies are a "special treat" provided by the boss for the enjoyment of the staff. So everyone dutifully eats those miserable, stale, rock-hard lumps of processed flour and sugar, and they delude themselves into believing it is a treat. How insane is that?

When I stopped eating so many chemicals in food (processed food) I realized that the "food" I was eating didn't taste like food at all. Now I would eat real strawberries, and when I tried something "strawberry-flavored" it tasted synthetic and unsatisfying.

If you allow an object to be more powerful, it will always have power over you. Refuse to be manipulated. People with conditioned hypereating need to become their own food coaches.

We need to move from glorification to demonization of the food industry - especially "big food."
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347 of 429 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Reason We Overeat, March 13, 2009
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This book is about overeating and the reason that people do it. Dr. 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 all of these triggers, and helping yourself to get beyond the temptations and stay at an even weight. Kessler terms the overeating that we experience these days as "conditioned hypereating," a conglomeration of most of the theories that he looks into. I thought the book was well-written and engaging, and Dr. Kessler presents the information in the form of interviews so it doesn't get bogged down in boring data and tables. I definitely saw myself and a lot of my eating habits in the people that he writes about.

Kessler doesn't give a detailed, step-by-step diet plan, but instead gives the reader various psychological strategies that we can use to overcome conditioned hypereating. Most of these ideas were good (and common-sense), though some might be hard to do. He does give a big dose of reality in stating that if we have a problem with overeating, we will always have to be extra careful around foods that use the fat/sugar/salt equation to tempt us.

I did notice one error (he calls mashed potatoes simple carbohydrates, when I *believe* they are considered complex), and one big problem with the book is that there is no index or bibliography (though I read an advance copy so it might be added in to the finished book). This is a good book for anyone who has always wondered why they can't stop eating that bag of potato chips, or why one bite ends up being the entire plate.
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164 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowing WHY is half the battle, April 22, 2009
By 
S. D. Johnson (La Sierra, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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Many of us have difficulty controlling our weight. Usually we have assumed that it was due either to something we couldn't control, such as our metabolism, or a total lack of self-control. This book shows how it is really a middle-ground between the two extremes.

First, the author effectively dismisses the myth of the "metabolism" or "big boned" excuses that many of us use to excuse our over-eating. He shows that it is really a matter of calorie intake that is the root of our weight problems.

Second, he shows how the food industry has engineered food that is overloaded with excessive calories and is designed to promote overeating in their insatiable drive for excessive profits. Through the use of multiple layers of salt, fat and sugar, they create foods designed to trigger the pleasure centers of our brains, releasing opioids that cause us to lose control and overeat.

Finally, he shows how we can harness control over our eating by avoiding certain foods and by devising a planned response to food advertising and the presence of enticing foods, similar to the methodology employed by alcoholics to control their drinking. While we are not to blame for our susceptibility to the stimulus of enticing food and food advertising, we do have a choice as to how to react to the stimulus.

This book has helped me gain some control over my eating habits and has caused me to view television advertisements for restaurants and foods in a new light. Even the ads for Nutrisystem are designed to stimulate overeating! Unlike alcohol and other drugs, we need food to survive, so we have to learn how to deal with these issues and consume the right foods in moderation, avoiding both the wrong foods and overeating. This book is a great help in that quest. Knowing WHY we do something is half the battle and helps us control our reactions to the stimuli.

Ironically, this book made me think twice about my personal opposition to our nation's drug laws, both for legal (alcohol and tobacco) and illegal (marijuana, etc.) drugs. Seeing what a health problem has been created in this country by corporations engineering foods for maximum profits, I can only imagine the problems they would create if allowed to manufacture and sell drugs without any controls.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good job, March 18, 2009
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Dr. Kessler gives you a lot of really good information here in his new book, "The End of Overeating". He does a lot of in-depth research, talking with food manufacturing executives, people on the front lines who are creating foods that make us want to overeat. His approach is direct: he blames food manufacturing and our bodies for overeating, since those two things work in concert with each other to create these super-strong pulls that lure us into overeating.

The book itself contains a whole lot of great information, backed up by interviews and research studies, and I have to say that I learned a lot from this book.

The problem here is the organization of the writing. Kessler broke his book down into about 40 small chapters of between two and ten pages, each chapter covering one major aspect of why we overeat or what we can do about it. Then, the next chapter begins, always recapitulating exactly what the previous chapter stated. Each go through is half a page of recap information. In this, I kind of felt like Kessler took a blog and turned it into a book. Each chapter is a stand-alone post, and assumes that you've all but forgotten large parts of what you just read.

It's a nitpick that I'm sure won't bother most readers, but for me, I thought it was enough to deduct a star. This is a very good book, though, and I would definitely recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed the Way I Think About Hunger, Craving, and Food, June 13, 2011
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I am one of the many people he describes who spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about food, and who often eats more than she should. I have lost weight successfully in the past by limiting my food consumption in a variety of ways. However, the downfall of all those diets was that I was always thinking about food, even if it was how I couldn't eat it.

I am a cognitive person, and I have no idea why I have not sought an intellectual solution before, but I stumbled into one in this. The book beautifully sketches out scientific and psychological research and mechanisms in a way that doesn't dumb it down but is understandable to lay readers. Suddenly, my appetite and hunger no longer felt like this ethereal compulsion, but rather a function of brain chemistry. Understanding how salt, fat, and sugar trigger a response that keeps me coming back for more takes the mystique and a bit of the power out of these drives.

It has only been a few days, so I cannot say yet whether the changes in my eating will last. However, I'd imagine that my change in perspective will remain a lasting tool in my arsenal. I didn't even need to get to the proposed solutions before my new views made it easy to make entirely cognitive decisions about what to eat.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC, IMPORTANT & FASCINATING BOOK, July 5, 2009
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BJS (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Okay, the back story: when I graduated from high school, I weighed over 200 pounds.

I chose that moment to lose the weight, as I began my adult life. It was costing me too much--in self esteem, ability to be active, a good social life, and limitations I would always face because of the way people perceived me.

I lost 65 pounds, and I kept it off my whole life. What I did was completely change my orientation to food. (And I became a life-long exerciser.)

A friend of mine who has repeatedly dieted and regained the weight bought this book; and I decided to take a look at it, because it looked interesting.

I am trying to find words to describe how important this book could be for anyone who seriously wants to stop overeating. Let's try this: THE ANSWERS ARE HERE. Everything Dr. Kessler writes about is something I did to successfully control my weight for my entire life, not just a few months or a year.

But he gives the reader something I never had: an EXPLANATION of how this works biologically and psychologically, how certain foods trigger the pleasure center of the brain, etc., etc. And how food manufacturers in this country have found a way to use this to make profits.

Enough said. If this is your issue, this is your book. It will set you free.
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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler (Paperback - September 14, 2010)
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