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

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

by David A. Kessler


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Drawn from the latest brain science as well as interviews with top physicians and food industry insiders, The End of Overeating uncovers the food industry's aggressive marketing tactics and reveals shocking facts about how we lost control over food-and what we can do to get it back. For the millions of people struggling to lose weight as well as those of us who simply can't seem to eat our favorite foods in moderation, Dr. Kessler's cutting-edge investigation offers valuable insights and practical answers for America's largest-ever public health crisis. There has never been a more thorough, compelling, or in-depth analysis of why we eat the way we do.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605294575
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 09/14/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 142,580
Product dimensions: 8.72(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

DAVID A. KESSLER, MD, served as commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He is a pediatrician and has been the dean of the medical schools at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco. A graduate of Amherst College, the University of Chicago Law School, and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kessler is the father of two and lives with his wife in California.

Read an Excerpt

PART ONE Sugar, Fat, Salt

Excerpted from "The End of Overeating"
by .
Copyright © 2010 David A. Kessler.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction: You Are the Target xv

Part 1 Sugar, Fat, Salt

1 Something Changed … America Gained Weight 3

2 Overriding the Wisdom of the Body 7

3 Sugar, Fat, and Salt Make Us Eat More Sugar, Fat, and Salt 12

4 The Business of Food: Creating Highly Rewarding Stimuli 18

5 Pushing Up Our Settling Points 22

6 Sugar, Fat, and Salt Are Reinforcing 29

7 Amping Up the Neurons 35

8 We Are Wired to Focus Attention on the Most Salient Stimuli 41

9 Rewarding Foods Become Hot Stimuli 46

10 Cues Activate Brain Circuits That Guide Behavior 50

11 Emotions Make Food Memorable 55

12 Rewarding Foods Rewire the Brain 58

13 Eating Behavior Becomes a Habit 61

Part 2 The Food Industry

14 A Visit to Chili's 67

15 Cinnabon: A Lesson in Irresistibility 74

16 That's Entertainment 78

17 The Era of the Monster Thickburger 83

18 No Satisfaction 94

19 Giving Them What They Like 97

20 What Consumers Don't Know 101

21 The Ladder of Irresistibility 104

22 The World's Cuisine Becomes Americanized 111

23 Nothing Is Real 115

24 Optimize It! 120

25 The Science of Selling 125

26 Purple Cows 132

Part 3 Conditioned Hypereating Emerges

27 Overeating Becomes More Dangerous 137

28 What Weight-Loss Drugs Can Teach Us 142

29 Why We Don't Just Say No 145

30 How We Become Trapped 154

31 Conditioned Hypereating Emerges 157

32 Tracing the Roots of Conditioned Hypereating 163

33 Nature or Nurture? 166

34 Warning Signs in Children 169

35 The Culture of Overeating 173

Part 4 The Theory of Treatment

36 Invitations to the Brain 181

37 Reversing the Habit 184

38 Rules of Disengagement 190

39 Emotional Learning 196

Part 5 Food Rehab

40 The Treatment Framework 205

41 Planned Eating 209

42 Letting Go of the Past 217

43 Eating Is Personal 226

44 Avoiding Traps: On Obsession and Relapse 231

45 Making the Critical Perceptual Shift 234

Part 6 The End of Overeating

46 "Our Success Is the Problem" 239

47 Industry Cracks the Code 242

48 Fighting Back 245

A Final Word 250

Q&A with Dr. Kessler 253

Endnotes 257

List Of Author Interviews 311

Acknowledgments 319

Index 323

About The Author 330

Customer Reviews

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End of Overeating 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 179 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like others, I believe this book is well-written and an easy read. However, for me the value lies in the awareness of how I've been led into overeating. That awareness now allows (helps) me break the addiction to sugar, fats and salt. Some of the edible substances (it's difficult to call them food anymore, since they provide "pleasure" rather than proper nourishment) I've been addicted to: chocolate bars, ice cream, potato and corn chips. It seems so much easier to keep the mindset that I just do not need such things anymore.
VitaminDdaily More than 1 year ago
After working in an obesity treatment center for over a decade, I came to understand that the paradigm the medical community utilized to help people lose weight was greatly flawed. Any other treatment protocol with a 95% failure rate would have been halted immediately. For many that came through the clinic, food and beverage had become an addiction and overeating beyond their power to control. This book benefits everyone that has struggled with weight, whether 10 pounds or 200 pounds. The book is well researched and easy to read. And it will give you answers and understanding that has not been discussed in the scientific community or the weight loss industry before. Thank you for researching and writing this great book.
NWNJ More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. I found the information to be both interesting and informative. I had thought for years that certain foods were nearly as addictive as drugs or alcohol, and this book explains that they are, and how the food manufacturers do this. I am not an avid reader but I could not put this book down. Anyone who wants to lose weight would benefit greatly from reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously, this book will open your eyes to what is really going on. It's hard to lose weight and be fit and healthy when there is so much confusion. It's not necessarily a diet book, per se, it's more like just an understanding of what's going on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is most helpful to people who struggle with "Compulsive Overeating" as it clears up many myths about why will power may not be as big of an issue with resolving the problem. It clearly explains how and why many people become what to me is a compulsive overeater, the author calls "conditioned hypereaters" and it gives hope for recovery from this condition. How we may in fact be "Powerless" over some foods, but certainly are not helpless, and without hope. As Dr. Kessler so clearly explains not only what has happened to us, but how we can overcome this problem, he states "we still have the ability to make choices about whether we allow this triumvirate to dominate our behavior." With his help and advice I think there is hope in taking a different route.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book, and provides the answers needed to understand the rapant overeating that is going on in our society today. If anyone is wondering why they cannot resist eating salt, fat and sugar, they will find out by reading this book. This book really helped me to eat healthier, and to understand and resist my food cravings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Insightful revelations on how and why we eat the way we do. As a society we have drifted into fast, processed foods that are engineered to make us consume more. Dr. Kessler dissects the food, the industry, and our motivations to eat. While not a diet book, by explaining why we eat the way we do, how food is produced or engineered you quickly gain an understanding of overeating. Since reading this and by incorporating other changes in the food I eat, I have lost 20 pounds in just over 4 months. This book has helped me get off the diet roller-coaster and on to life-style changes that are healthier for me. While not for everyone, if you are serious about learning why we eat the way we do or just learn about how processed and restaurant foods are "engineered" to make us crave them, then this is a worthwhile read.
DJ_Bjorklund More than 1 year ago
Reading this was a revelation for me. It both confirmed some suspicions and helped me learn other information. I love good food, but this book helped me understand that what I've formerly seen as "flavor" (in the highly processed food foisted on us by a very smart food industry, usually made up of salt, fat and sugar) is a deceptive concept. Descriptions of its effect on us, incredible cravings for those food products, also hit home as fact. Many of us are overweight as a result, but like anything we want to change its up to us to first recognize the drivers, and use that to drive our own commitment to ourselves and change our eating habits. This book may do that for you as it has for me.
gynogrl More than 1 year ago
Dr. Kessler explains comprehensively what I knew to be true about my compulsive eating. It is an addiction. This problem has to be dealt with as instensively as an addiction to cocaine or alcohol. A lightbulb finally went off after reading this book. My approach to eating is beginning to change. I am on my way to having a healthier relationship with food.
jrsedivy More than 1 year ago
Three things make this book better than the average dieting/nutrition book - the author's diligent research, the author's credibility, and the author's presentation of the information. I will not delve into the details here - you are more than capable of figuring that out - just be rest assured that the research is top-notch, the author has the background in the field to support this book, and finally the humor (at least in the audiobook) makes for a fun experience. The only downside is that book seems a bit long and repetitious at times, but despite this is worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a great book to read for anyone who is struggling with overeating. The book does a great job of explaining why we overeat on both the physiological and the psychological levels. The book also gives strategies which help with controlling your appetite. After reading the book, By understanding why I overate, I was able to control y craving much more effectively. As the book states, overeating is a life long struggle. With the knowledge about overeating, many people can help themselves control their indulgences. The only flaw in this book is that some of the explanations are not very detailed. This was probably done from an editorial point of view of making the book easier to read. However, there were some studies which are discussed which are hard to believe without more information.
FitnessAuthor More than 1 year ago
I am a fitness and nutrition professional, and I recommend this book to my clients! This book is a resource, first and foremost. This (nor any book) is the end-all-be-all for dieting or overeating. Dr. Kessler makes some very good points that can be incorporated into a sincere effort to change eating habits. If you are looking for this book (and only this book) to change your life---why not change your way of thinking, and look at this book as a major step on your way to a healthy life. That will release some of the "do or die" pressure on making this book the end-al-be-all for you. I also recommend to ALL of my clients (and family): "Build Your Mind, Your Body Will Follow". It is a quick and very powerful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of it was quite cruel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I got past the initial scientific background in the first couple chapters, I had trouble putting the book down and eventually, went back to the beginning to re-read the reasearch portion at the start of the book. Very relevant and enlightening. I am a healthy eater compared to most yet some of the items I thought to be healthy are not at food establishments such as Chili's. How can you destroy a chicken breast! I will never be the same or think the same after reading this book. Thank you Dr Kessler
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative book with many facts and explanations. I did find that the book was a slow read since there are many medical and scientific terms used that may not be easily understand by someone not familiar with medical or scientific terminology. I did find myself rereading some of the text to better understand what is being stated or explained. The positive of the book is it has given me a personal insight into the patterns of overeating and what the food industry is doing to contribute to the obesity rate of this country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent expose of the food industry and how they manipulate the food we eat. I'm sorry Dr. Kessler is not still the head of the FDA. There would not have been the Fen/Phen and Vioxx deaths. He is a true man of science and cannot be bought.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. David Kessler has been a hero of mine since "60 Minutes" did a story on him back in the 90's when he was head of the "Food & Drug Administration." I enjoyed the information he gathered on the food industry, information that I probably wouldn't be handed on a sunny day. I loaned the book to my neighbor and her daughter and husband are mildly upset with me for changing their diets. "Where's the icecream!" DM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells it like it is....the primary reasons why we are prone to overeat throughout our lives. It is a great help to those of us who have to be careful!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very well read, and written audio book. It confirmed what I already suspected, that foods were scientifically engineered to make us want more. It was very well documented and made me re-think my food choices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was fascinating! As a dietician technician student, I am aware of the so called "tricks" that food companies put in our foods to make them more palatable. This book was well written with interesting facts as well as studies. I hope that consumers who read this book will realize that overly processed foods are truly "junk" and will turn to whole and natural foods instead.
IggyMom More than 1 year ago
This book has very valuable information that is life changing!
Crystal15 More than 1 year ago
This book is very informative. It's a bit redunant and boring, though. Although, there is truth to what the author is writing.
bookloverMD More than 1 year ago
Easy to read, full of information, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
kitkatkt247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was alright. I had hoped that I had picked up a relaxing read- there is a lot of science in this book. Which is interesting, but not what I was looking for. " The End of Overeating" as a title would suggest that this book is more about the concept of stopping yourself from overeating. Instead, the majority of the book is about the big bad evil corporations that have created food that we are psychologically compelled to eat over and over again. Since I don't really buy into it being their fault the majority of the book to me seemed like pushing the blame off onto someone else. But the factual information was interesting and I found myself stopping more often when I was reaching for food that I didn't actually need.
sharlene_w on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Kessler somewhat repitiously brought home the point--the big brand food marketing machine has no interest in our health; they are only interested in making money. I guess we should already know that, but it is easy to fall prey to that insatiable craving for the dreaded fat, salt and sugar combo. After taking a close look at specific craveable items from major restaurant chains, there is no doubt why this nation is suffering from a severe case of morbid obesity. I listened to this audio book while on a road trip and boy did it make me crave good old home cooked fresh food and a big salad with no dressing. We ate a lot of fresh food that we carried with us, but when we did eat out in restaurants it was very apparent that the American diet needs an overhaul. The child's plates that we ordered for my 3-year old granddaughter were more than enough to feed an adult--to say nothing of the adult plates. Thanks Mr. Kessler for attempting to open our eyes. Mine were!