End of Overeating: the science of junk-food cravings

Yesterday, I picked up David A Kessler's The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, a book I've been interested in since I wrote about it here last week, and plowed through it on a short flight. It's a quick read, partly because of the short chapters, and partly because it runs a little to repetition, but for all that, it's a fascinating read.

Kessler delves into the psychology and neuroscience of our junk-food cravings, seeking an explanation to the conundrum of the person whose "will-power" is strong on many fronts, but who finds it hard to resist unhealthy foods (I class myself among those people). He concludes that we're extremely susceptible to reward-conditioning when the reward consists of foods that combine fat, sugar and salt, and that the food industry has evolved to deliver extremely efficient, super-sized portions of fat-sugar-salt bombs in a variety of satisfying textures and presentations.

I think that most of us already knew this, but it's fascinating nevertheless, as Kessler talks with food scientists at various industrial food concerns and discovers the techniques by which these highly palatable food-substances are derived, refined and delivered. For example, Chili's "Southwestern Eggrolls" deep-fry their tortillas, "driving down its water content from 40 percent to five percent and replaces the rest with fat." And "at the Grande Luxe Cafe in Las Vegas, double-baked mashed potatoes are wrapped in fried spring rolls and served with cheese and bacon. Listed as an appetizer, they come eight to a serving. That's a simple carbohydrate loaded with fat, then surrounded by layers of salt on fat on salt on fat."

It's not just salt, fat and sugar -- it's also a highly engineered eating experience ("eatertainment") (ugh): "When you eat a Snickers bar, the chocolate, the caramel, the nougat, and the peanuts all disappear at the same time. You're not getting all this buildup of stuff in your mouth." Processed food is a kind of "adult baby food," with the fiber and gristle removed for easier chewing and swallowing. This food is "light, white and easy to swallow," losing its "innate ability to satisfy."

All this stuff barrels along well in the manner of a great pop-sci book, the kind of thing that gives you a new lens for seeing some important aspect of your life through, until he gets to the conclusion, a set of recommendations for breaking the conditioned responses we develop to crappy food. Having set up an exciting new framework for understanding our relationship to food, all Kessler offers by way of resisting junk food is a kind of Weight Watchers: be mindful about what you eat, avoid temptation, don't give in a little lest you give in a lot, and so on. This is approximately the same eating advice I've heard for decades, and while it works, it's hard, and harder still to sustain. Anyone who's devoted more than a few hours to the question of controlling weight and eating has encountered and tried this advice -- and chances are, they've failed at it.

Still, this seems to set the stage for some good brain-hacks -- understanding bad eating as a set of conditioned habits gives us a framework for applying other techniques from the realm of habit-breaking to modifying eating.

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


  1. Here’s my brain hack: Instead of watching what you eat, watch what you buy. If you try to grocery shop after you’ve just eaten, it’ll be easy to avoid buying fructose-infused greasebombs. It’s all that much harder to resist temptation of you have a pantry full of chips ahoy and a freezer full of jimmie dean sausage biscuits.
    If you’re eating out, look at the price next to those deep fried chile rellenos and tell yourself “my body doesn’t need this- it’s a waste of $12”.

  2. “Still, this seems to set the stage for some good brain-hacks — understanding bad eating as a set of conditioned habits gives us a framework for applying other techniques from the realm of habit-breaking to modifying eating.”

    Isn’t his whole point that there is more to our eating than simple habits? I know people who have lost large amounts of weight and kept it off, and the common thread among them is a complete lifestyle change away from the foods you talk about. It has been and continues to be difficult for them. There must be a way that neuroscience can help us out of this addiction that food scientists have helped engineer us into.

  3. I’d still like to read this, despite the fact that I find it disappointing that a book with a title like “The end to Overeating” would offer such old school eating advice for those who wish to shed pounds. The whole “don’t give in a little lest you give in a lot“ concept is simply bad advice and in my own personal experience has led to epic fail.

    Being mindful of what we eat is probably the best way to go, but the whole point of the books seems to be that it’s hard to be mindful when you don’t really know what is actually in the stuff you’re eating, especially in a restaurant.

  4. 10 – I over-eat because I am unhappy…

    20 – I am unhappy because I over-eat!

    30 – I under-exert myself because I am unhappy…

    40 – I am unhappy because I under-exert myself!

    50 Goto 10

    Science will say >Reprogram yourselves.
    Either bio-engineering or psychological re-education
    will do fine.

    Simple, (Nuovo Ordo Seclorum)

  5. This guy is driving me insane. He has a good PR person and is getting tons of exposure, but it’s the worst mix of legit science and bogus social commentary I’ve every seen.

    On the one hand, he presents everything as nefarious — Chili’s *fries* their tortillas, driving water content down! Oh noes!

    On the other hand, this same guy says he drove all over the SF area seeking out his favorite (bad for you) foods. He went to SFO specifically for donuts or something comparable.

    Now what’s more likely: evil scientists, who understood everything he’s just discovered but who have kept it secret all these years so they can concoct unhealthy foods and dupe the American public… or natural selection in the market, where guys like him drive all over the place to spend money on unhealthy foods, increasing sales of those foods and keeping them on menus and driving more healthy foods off menus because people order less of them?

    The science is great and seems sound. The complete blindness to market forces and his own participation in the market is naive, and the “how food chemists are making Americans obese” conspiracy side is just ludicrous.

    Supply and demand, people. Chili’s is giving people what they want, for whatever reason. If they refused to serve unhealthy food, Chevy’s would, and would be more profitable. There’s no ethical implication here, and no evil plot. And if you’re shocked that deep fried tortillas are less healthy than crudite, no amount of warning labels and disclosures are going to help you make smarter choices.

  6. Speaking of hacks, a friend of mine who’s been battling a weight problem for years is trying a new hack for herself — acupuncture. She says her cravings for junk food have all but disappeared after a couple of sessions.

    Anyone know if there’s some science behind that?

  7. Here’s my attempt at conceptualizing what it would mean to brain-hack the problem. So we see a behavior pattern conceived in neuroscience as a performance of neural networks. A process of selection interacts with the memory system under neuroendocrine control to manifest the behavior. A big part of the difficulty superseding behavior patterns is that past behaviors reside in memory as a template to mimetically pattern future behaviors.

    With neural networks, the raw materials are the fundamental building blocks of axon, cell body and dendrites, within the fluid permeated tissue. At a finer level, the neural network consists of biological polymers, ions, metabolites and water eith a highly ordered distribution of charge densities. This substrate demonstrates an emergent physical form of great complexity in the performance of a thought/behavior. Past and current forms of thought pattern future performances. In memory recall, for example, feedback mechanisms enable the complex electrical and chemical state of the neural network to be mirrored through the memory system, through recall and recognition, to produce a new thought, which is an evolved copy with similarity and differences reflecting the new context and cues triggering generation. The performance of thought is a process of evolution in which neural network performances are selected for fitness through neurophysiological regulation by hormones and neuropeptides. The mind culls through its own complex encyclopedia and selects previous thought patterns to emerge as templates based on context cues, and other fitness cues to favor those thoughts and behaviors satisfying these feedback criteria which may change in development, experience or illness.

    So the difficulty is that even after substituting a new healthy pattern which has its own neuroendocrine fitness, the old performances remain in memory, (seemingly) permanently tagged and ready to go by the dopamine system, which seems to have a function of encoding reward prediction error in behavior pattern selection. Dopamine responses transfer to the onset of a conditioned stimulus after repeated pairings with the reward. Further, dopamine neurons are depressed when the expected reward is omitted. So the neuroendocrine system maintains and stores the behaviors as a performance of neural networks that have been shown to have fitness (such as providing the organism with sugar, salt, and fat) basically as a permanent template to generate future performances through the biological processes of mimesis that manifest thought and behavior. The old patterns activating and generating a new behavior through context cues (seeing old friends, Valentine’s Day, the golden arches) is what everyone experiences as a moment of weakness. I think the best strategy for a brain hack may be to find some healthy behavior that gives pleasure and stick with it for at least two weeks, until it becomes a habit, until there is a decent store of the pattern in memory. Avoid context cues for unhealthy behaviors and try to drive them further and further under layers of memory. The difficulty of course, as anyone who has had long battles with smoking will attest, is that the old behavior patterns never go away. Once an addict, always an addict.

  8. No, everything can’t be related to “free market” and “supply and demand”. It’s part of education, culture, regulation and so on. Don’t be the brain-washed “it’s the economy, stupid !” guy, please.

    Fast food chain specifically aim their advertising campaign toward children. Because they want to “educate” their taste , so that these children grow up as crappy food nostalgic adults (=future customers).

    For example: couple of years ago, I helped some of my friends to move into their new home. At the end, the only opened eatery was a McDonald’s (the new house kitchen was a mess, of course). While we were chewing our burgers, their two 5 and 7 years old kids were complaining, and didn’t finished their Happy Meal. Why ? Because it was their first fast food experience, and for them, the “food” was too fat, salty, and to be honest, disgusting.
    They were used to proper food, nothing fancy, organic, feng shui or what you can imagine. Just real, cooked food.
    Some more details: my friends work, full time. So, they are not spending their life in the kitchen. It was in France, where school tend to serve proper meals (even if not always appetizing).
    Culture and education matter.

  9. I’ve read a few great reviews of this book but they all fail to mention that Overeating is really just a symptom of what could be considered a emotional/psychological/spiritual problem. Like you said:

    “This is approximately the same eating advice I’ve heard for decades, and while it works, it’s hard, and harder still to sustain. Anyone who’s devoted more than a few hours to the question of controlling weight and eating has encountered and tried this advice — and chances are, they’ve failed at it.”

    It’s surprising to me that nobody has mentioned programs such as Overeaters Anonymous or the like that really try and treat the problem at a different level. The world doesn’t need another Diet. The world needs to see what obesity really is, a symptom of something deeper going on in the individual. Unfortunately while there is still money to be made in selling the next diet which will lead to the next failure no dent will ever be made in the real problem.

  10. Obesity is like war: every new story becomes, in short order, a chimera, supporting every reader’s preferred conclusions.

  11. The definition of pre-diabetic has gotten tighter over time. The current tact is to educate those at risk before they really become type 2 diabetics. Classes are available partly funded by government money. Your doctor can refer you to one. At the first class you are given a glucose meter. The strips to use in them are another matter. It is a very sobering experience to see the impact of various simple carb foods and how long your blood glucose remains elevated. The only way out is diet and exercise. There is a blood test known as A1C that shows your average blood glucose level over the past 90 days. It’s very hard to BS the results of that test.

  12. Embed Moriarty’s Michael Pollan quote in a well-researched moral framework of your own and through which you try to see everything you put in your mouth.

    My moral framework is–as much as possible–vegan, local, and open source seed (anti-Monsanto, etc.).

  13. Spence demonstrated that higher order functioning can override eyeblink conditioning in Humans back in the mid 60’s.

    Understanding the Rescorla-Wagner equations for compound cue conditioning (developed in 70’s and still going strong as a scientific theory today) leads to multiple methods of breaking/changing/replacing any conditioned responses that get assoc. strength from a reinforcer like tasty food.

    A simple compounding of the two would produce a host of conditoning sequences that would change eating behavors to whatever patterns one wants.

    Of course, one would have to engage in the training and since humans are not kept in cages, this requires self-displine and so is doomed to failure for most people.

  14. I think it is interesting that Mr. Kessler was on two NPR shows on the same day this week, promoting the book, and just a couple of weeks ago NPR did a story on diet books pointing out that they don’t really ever come up with a way to loose weight other than not eating so much and doing exercise, but, that they almost always make lots of money for the writers.

  15. This guy has an incredible PR machine. Too bad his revelations are the same stuff Center for Science in the Public Interest puts out every month. I think Pollan’s advice is more useful because he focuses on taking positive actions (eat fresh produce), not just avoiding negative ones (don’t eat at Chili’s).
    As for the sacred forces of supply and demand, especially the hoary old ‘right to make a profit’ and ‘buyer beware’ arguments, I’ll believe them when I can legally run cons and sell drugs. Till then those arguments are simply ways to justify letting the rich and powerful stomp on the weak by putting all responsibility onto those under the boot.

  16. If this were on Fark, it would have the “OBVIOUS” tag. What is so new about this book except that the guy did some dumpster diving so he could sell a book?

  17. M. Pollan’s advice (quoted by Moriarty) is my guiding principle of eating. I’m not 100% successful; once in awhile I want a damn Dorito. I just try to eat the real food FIRST, before giving in to the junk craving. If I still want Doritos after eating salad and a whole grain, then I go ahead. But I’ll probably eat fewer of them than if I had followed the initial craving.

    I’m also consistently reaffirming my decision to drink fewer of my calories. I am a dedicated Cokehead from childhood, so this has been a lifestyle adjustment. It helps to have the makings of exciting low-cal drinks on hand–a perrenial fave is the lemon/ginger/mint/seltzer spritzer. (And it works just as well with a splash of vodka!)

    As I write this post I am struck by the number of times I had to delete a turn of phrase that parroted the moral metaphors of the diet industry–“succumbing to cravings”. “sin-free eating”. “Sin free”?! WTF is that? I take it as a demonstration of how thoroughly I’ve internalized the great American narrative of fat=morally weak, even though I know better. Food for thought, that. So to speak.

  18. Does he mention anything about our biology in the book? It strikes me as no accident that we love the things that would be necessary and scarce for us in the wild. Now that in America food is basically unlimited, we’re gromming up all the things that our bodies tell us we should eat at every opportunity. In the wild, of course, ‘every opportunity’ might be ‘once a week/month/year,’ but now it can be ‘every time I’m hungry.’

    I agree that conditioning/advertising/psychology makes a big difference, but I suspect that those things are built to exploit more much basic mechanisms like those I described above.

  19. of course it’s hard! it’s a really bad habit that’s essentially a kind of addiction. any book that tells you it’s easy to change a bad but rewarding behavior is lying to you.

  20. I haven’t read the book yet. I definitely will. However, from what I’ve heard of it, I disagree with the premise and conclusions. I am not sure how well the science backs up his assertion that we experience reward-reinforcement when we eat foods high in salt, fat, and sugar, but let me present a counterargument. Instead, I believe that the food industry has conditioned our taste buds to prefer these foods. Consider what happens if you stop eating processed foods completely–you will actually lose your taste for deep fried fat with carbs with fat with salt with sugar. Seriously. The appetizers you described sound disgusting to me. I would never eat nor order them. That doesn’t mean I never overeat, but over the years I have trained my taste buds to appreciate foods with higher nutrient content and I find that the “treats” offered by the prevailing culture don’t taste good to me and tend to make me feel sick. Most processed savory foods on the American market taste unpleasantly sweet to me and my family. Manufacturers load foods with high fructose corn syrup because government subsidies have created a surplus of corn and this is a way to “get rid” of it in a manner profitable to the industrial food establishment. (Read “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan.)

    Another point–it used to be a food mantra that “fat is flavor” and dieters desperately tried to replace fats in their foods with spice mixes, so they wouldn’t lose out on “flavor.” The truth is that fat squashes and subdues flavors. Our bodies are made of water, and the molecules that stimulate flavor receptors in our tongues and noses are water soluble. When the fat content of a food is too high, we actually experience less flavor. Skilled chefs know this, but many poorly educated restaurant chefs still believe this, so they load up their menus with extremely fatty foods, thinking it will be more delicious to diners. A moderate quantity of fat combined with flavorful meats, vegetables, and fruits is actually much more flavorful.

    As a remedy for overeating, try journaling everything you eat. I’ve been doing this for months, and it really works. You don’t have to subscribe to any diet plan or philosophy, or avoid any particular foods, just write down every calorie with the informed knowledge of your bodily needs. Also track any nutrients you are concerned about. You will find yourself naturally making corrections while still enjoying all of your favorite foods. There have been some studies on journaling that have shown it to be very effective.

  21. I used to like Doritos. Went off ’em for many months and then tried a bag. They taste like burned salty corn now.

    I think the odd thing about eating is how much it gets fetishized in the manner that sex does rather than left to one’s own urges in the way that, say, taking a walk does.
    “I’m feeling a bit bored, I think I’ll take a walk…okay, I’m tired of walking, time to sit back down” versus “Oh my god…I need a walk…but it’s sinful to walk too much. Oh, what will I do…I’ll sit here…I’ll sit here…oh, no, I ran three miles. I must feel regret now. I’ll try not to walk tomorrow…”

    Eat when you’re hungry. Enjoy it leisurely. Stop when you’re not hungry any more.

  22. If your lifestyle will allow for it, you can try making all your own food for a while, instead of buying pre-packaged convenience foods or eating out. It can seem daunting at first to balance this with a full time work schedule, but it’s certainly workable. Take a few minutes in the morning to pack a lunch; cook big things and freeze them in serving-sized units; etc.

    This works because you are unlikely to pour lots of added salt and HFCS and saturated fat into what you make yourself. You’ll use olive oil where a restaurant might use lard. Also, time pressures will encourage simpler, healthier food choices. It’s much faster to make a meal with lots of fresh produce than it is to bake a pie.

    I’ve done this, and now most restaurant food tastes almost unbearably salty to me.

    1. I’ve done this, and now most restaurant food tastes almost unbearably salty to me.

      Word. I eat three home-cooked meals per day. I’m completely spoiled for most restaurant food and you couldn’t pay me to eat fast food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are fucking delicious.

  23. I have ADD which is a dopamine deficient.

    When I’m on my Med I do not over eat or get as hunger.

    During last year when I got of my med due to a job change till I had medical coverage I gained weight.

    Short answer take extra dopamine.


    Make your self like healthy foods. It takes the human pallet around 6 times to enjoy a food or at least not make you gage.

    I hated pickles my whole life and hacked my self to like pickles but forcing my self to eat a baby dill every 15 minutes a few years ago. After 2 hours I liked the taste. I also hated yogurt and It worked with that also.

    Short answer create new dopamine triggers by hacking your pallet.

  24. Those British sure did get a bad rap for the Opium Wars. All they wanted was to sell the Chinise junkie the stuff they wanted to buy, and those backwards locals were having none of it. If they really wanted to get their nation back, a little self restraint goes a long way.

    These days, by all means, educate the consumer, whine and scream and stamp your feet about the problem, but for God’s sake, don’t think of interfering with the free market!

  25. “double-baked mashed potatoes are wrapped in fried spring rolls and served with cheese and bacon. Listed as an appetizer, they come eight to a serving. That’s a simple carbohydrate loaded with fat, then surrounded by layers of salt on fat on salt on fat”

    weight is the least of the problems for anyone who orders that … mental health issues are clearly more pressing.

  26. As a German, the American style of eating always puzzles me a bit.
    Do people really not cook their meals? It takes about 20 minutes to cook something simple like pasta or fish, 5 to ten minutes to prepare a salad (even when you do the dressing yourself). That isn’t much time and you can always control what you eat. I’ve been to the USA and while I’d probably fall for all the same traps (I’m a compulsive stress eater), I never really liked american chocolates and marvel at the size of everything – the bags of cookies! The size of the bags of chips! Enormous! And fried appetizers!
    But the chocolate tastes all wrong, somehow, especially Hersheys is awful.
    Food is a lot about cultural conditioning, and to my surprise I actually lose weight when in the US because my usual treats are not available.
    That said, and knowing that Germans are statistically the fattest people in Europe, the only way I ever manage to lose weight is quite simple:
    1. Watch what you buy (what you don’t buy, you can’t eat)
    2. Burn more than you eat (so easy to say, so hard to do!)
    3. Cook – it’s not a “lifestyle choice”(cooking can be relaxing and you will always know exactly what you it)
    4. If you really crave something, get a small portion of it, a small chocolate bar will be just as satisfying as the jumbo version (and if you’ve managed to live a few weeks without it, it’ll taste a lot sweeter than you remember)

  27. The science of willpower has progressed a long way beyond reward conditioning. If the best this guy can recommend is “be mindful, avoid temptation, etc.,” then it is worthless.

    The reason people with otherwise strong willpower still give into food temptations is that they are addicted to refined carbohydrates–sugar, in all its forms. This is true of most people eating a modern, grain-based diet. For actually useful insight into what makes us overeat, read Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories instead.

    Taubes makes a very compelling case that “willpower” is driven by what we eat, not the other way around. Here’s how it works: Refined carbohydrates (the base of the totally absurd “Food Pyramid” that contributed to the obesity epidemic) cause our bodies to overproduce insulin and, ultimately, become insulin resistant. As this happens, fat gets stored without being effectively utilized: You get fatter and fatter, with less and less ability to burn it as fuel, and less and less energy and “willpower” as a result. (Dietary fat and salt have nothing to do with it–it’s the sugars and starches. All calories are not created equal.)

    I can attest from personal experience (and the science bears this out) that to stop overeating, you need to hack your hormones, not your brain: Eat lots of protein (and fat) and avoid or even eliminate the refined carbs and starches (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereal, sugar–white foods, basically) that spike your insulin and cause your insulin to crash later. It’s that crash that creates cravings, and willpower is totally powerless when that happens.

  28. The basis of all civilizations have been carbohydrates, usually cereal grains. Except for the ruling classes, there weren’t a whole lot of fat-assed Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, etc. Of course there’s the argument it’s been all downhill since then…

  29. The basis of all civilizations have been carbohydrates, usually cereal grains. Except for the ruling classes, there weren’t a whole lot of fat-assed Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, etc. Of course there’s the argument it’s been all downhill since then…

    You’re right — grains are the staple of settled agricultural civilizations, and there’s a good argument to be made that human health has deteriorated in the 6 to 10 millennia since that transition. (Of course, the trend way intensified after industrial farming and inventions like high-fructose corn syrup.) Hunter-gatherers and nomadic pastoralists, who eat mainly proteins and fat and some vegetables, have excellent health before they adopt a grain-based diet. Grains were an adaptation to high population density, but the cost is that it’s not what our bodies evolved to eat (and a few thousand years isn’t long enough to change that).

  30. Right. We evolved as foragers with omnivorous diets, and there’s plenty of evidence that grain-based diets have raised hell with our species’ collective health. I would argue, however, that grains were not an ”adaptation to high population density” but actually the cause of increased populations. Food became not only plentiful but storable. Such calorie surplus leads to people surplus, every time.

    There’s an excellent chapter on the “grain belt” and its consequences in Jarrod Diamond’s Guns, Germs And Steel.

    1. I would argue, however, that grains were not an ”adaptation to high population density” but actually the cause of increased populations.

      Yeah, but by head count or by total mass?

  31. Well I suppose it has to be a chicken-and-egg thing. Social and technological innovations are driven by need, partly. Would there be an incentive for hunter-gatherers to take up farming if their foraging lifestyle was working well for them? (Is there an incentive to develop or drive hybrid cars if gas seems plentiful and cheap?) But yes, on the other hand, innovations also drive further innovations and further social developments.

    While certain advantages of settled, civilized life seem obvious in hindsight, I doubt that the idea of staying put in one place and raising grain crops for surplus would have seemed like an obvious good thing, back in the day. For one thing, it requires backbreaking work on the part of all but the elite — which is probably a big part of the reason they weren’t obese.

  32. We assume there was no “elite” in the early agrarian communities. Hunter-gatherers are/were egalitarian. How long it took for the emergence of a class system depended on the population explosion from all that extra food, but probably a distressingly short period of time — say less than a thousand years?

    Abandoning the hunter-gatherer-(herder?) means of obtaining calories was no doubt driven by climate change, the decline of certain fauna, and the fortuitous emergence of easily exploitable new grains after the retreat of the glaciers. Bingo. A perfect storm of circumstances.

    We are a highly adaptable species, very much the wanderers, and the principles of horticulture-agriculture were probably quickly learned and utilized — along with animal husbandry, since heretofore herded quadrupeds could be fed surplus grains.

    Imagine that! On the brink of extinction 75,000 years earlier, and then … the Garden of Eden.

    And of course The Fall.

  33. I like that phrase “adult baby food”. Makes me think how often companies treat consumers like babies, and the more they succeed, the more their clients act like babies. Of course this increases demand for adult-baby products and since babies can’t do anything for themselves, companies will love to cater for this kind of customer. etc.

  34. There seems to be a connection between overeating and ADD, particularly in adult women. Both have to do with wacked-out response to stimulation or under-stimulation, both are connected with the brain’s dopamine pathways. Adderal, once used as an appetite suppressant, is now being prescribed for ADD/ADHD. People who overeat are coping with understimulation by normal levels of environmental stimuli. People with ADD are also understimulated and find their attention wandering. I believe there is the possibility for reprogramming one’s orientation to these hyper-stimulating foods. It may also be possible to develop medication to help the process, but therapy is probably key. This is all very promising, and really reinforces what many of us in medicine and psychology have been thinking and working with for some time now. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  35. The title of this book is such a winning choice, because it’s what every person who has ever struggled with overeating has wished for – to be told that NOT ONLY IS YOUR PROBLEM (BEING FAT) OVER, THE ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEM IS: IT’S SOMEBODY ELSE’S FAULT!

    Concurrent with that wish is our other, eternal hope: that someone has finally found a way for us to continue to abuse ourselves and not suffer the consequences. The Great American Promise!!

    How disappointing to read, again, that you have to eat better and move more to lose weight and be healthy.

    It’s more comforting to embrace a scientific, corporate-conspiracy, or alien-mind-control explanation for our behavior – than to examine and accept the personal responsibility for what goes in our mouths.

    What good is science, what good is more data on how crappy food is made to be addictive & therefore sell more, unless you are willing to admit that you were the one who drove to the store/restaurant/7-Eleven and opened your wallet before you opened your mouth?

    There is no machine attached to your head making you buy or consume crappy food. The foundation of and explanation for the success of all the 12 Step programs lies in PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

    You can decide to accept that truth as a burden or a gift. There’s no shame in admitting you’ve been abusing yourself — there’s only shame in trying to blame other people, including multi-billion dollar corporations that are really good at marketing crap to the masses, for your continued self-abuse.

Comments are closed.