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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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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.
Kessler surveys the world of modern industrial food production and distribution as reflected in both restaurants and grocery stores. To his chagrin, he finds that the system foists on the American public foods overloaded with fats, sugars, and salt. Each of these elements, consumed in excess, has been linked to serious long-term health problems. Kessler examines iconic foods such as Cinnabon and Big Macs, all of which have skilled marketing machines promoting consumption. Such nutritionally unbalanced foods propel people who already tend to eat more than mere physical need might otherwise warrant into uncontrolled behavior patterns of irrational eating. These persistent psychological and sensory stimuli lead to what Kessler terms “conditioned hypereating,” which he believes is a disease rather than a failure of willpower. There is hope, however. Kessler identifies the cues that lead to overeating and offers some simple, practical tools to help control one’s impulses. --Mark Knoblauch
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This book answered "what the heck" for me and also provided me a way out. Showing how the food industry has *deliberately* increased unhealthy and addicting sugar, fats, and salt in processed and restaurant foods, disguising them, mislabeling or underlabeling, Kessler demonstrates how the food industry (some of the big six food companies are owned by big tobacco companies, and if you're not sure about exactly how devious and nefarious big tobacco is, read Kessler's book "A Question of Intent") continually works to intentionally increase our addiction and desire for unhealthy foods. The way out for me is pretty simple: I don't like being manipulated. So for me, in many ways, problem solved. Kessler provides a food rehab plan about how to break your cycle of addiction and free yourself from what has been deliberately done to you; to reclaim your ability to make positive choices; and to recognize processed and restaurant foods for what they are: fat on sugar on salt on fat, or some variation of same.
My take-away from this book is consumers need to be MORE aware what goes into foods we eat at restaurants in addition to what we eat out of the box (more so then foods we prepare at home). Most of us already know that but the re-enforcement Kessler gives in his book is an excellent reminder. That broccoli or spinach quiche at your favorite restaurant may appear good for you (after all, it is made of vegetables that's heart-healthy) but, as Kessler points out, good probability that fillers and added ingredients in that quiche cancel out any benefits you may THINK you will get. Even if you were to order steamed chicken at a Chinese restaurant, there may be an accompanying sauce that minimizes the chicken's health benefit. Kessler tells you to be mind-aware of not only what you eat but how it was prepared (added salt, sugar, fats, etc).