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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
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The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

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Most of us know what it feels like to fall under the spell of food—when one slice of pizza turns into half a pie, or a handful of chips leads to an empty bag. But it’s harder to understand why we can't seem to stop eating—even when we know better. When we want so badly to say "no," why do we continue to reach for food?
 
Dr. David Kessler, the dynamic former FDA commissioner who reinvented the food label and tackled the tobacco industry, now reveals how the food industry has hijacked the brains of millions of Americans. The result? America’s number-one public health issue. Dr. Kessler cracks the code of overeating by explaining how our bodies and minds are changed when we consume foods that contain sugar, fat, and salt. Food manufacturers create products by manipulating these ingredients to stimulate our appetites, setting in motion a cycle of desire and consumption that ends with a nation of overeaters. The End of Overeating explains for the first time why it is exceptionally difficult to resist certain foods and why it’s so easy to overindulge.
 
Dr. Kessler met with top scientists, physicians, and food industry insiders. The End of Overeating uncovers the shocking facts about how we lost control over our eating habits—and how we can get it back. Dr. Kessler presents groundbreaking research, along with what is sure to be a controversial view inside the industry that continues to feed a nation of overeaters—from popular brand manufacturers to advertisers, chain restaurants, and fast food franchises.
 
For the millions of people struggling with weight as well as for those of us who simply don't understand why we can't seem to stop eating our favorite foods, Dr. Kessler’s cutting-edge investigation offers new insights and helpful tools to help us find a solution.
 
There has never been a more thorough, compelling, or in-depth analysis of why we eat the way we do.

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Product Details:
Author: David Kessler
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Rodale Books
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
Language: English
ISBN: 1605297852
Product Length: 9.3 inches
Product Width: 6.4 inches
Product Height: 1.0 inches
Product Weight: 1.3 pounds
Package Length: 9.1 inches
Package Width: 6.0 inches
Package Height: 1.2 inches
Package Weight: 1.3 pounds
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Average Customer Review:4.0 ( 523 customer reviews )
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1012 of 1062 found the following review helpful:

5Superb Book On How and Why People Overeat As Well As How to Stop Overeating  Mar 09, 2009
By scesq "scesq"
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.

581 of 619 found the following review helpful:

5The End of Overeating - a Book Report  May 17, 2009
By Carol Merlo
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.

456 of 501 found the following review helpful:

5A clincal account of the science behind overeating  Feb 26, 2009
By Natasha Stryker
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.

19 of 19 found the following review helpful:

5life changing book  Nov 25, 2011
By Lunajuly
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

346 of 428 found the following review helpful:

3The Reason We Overeat  Mar 13, 2009
By booksy
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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