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Sep. 30th, 2010

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American AppetiteThe End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


David Kessler is the former commissioner of the FDA (under the first President Bush and Clinton). He has also struggled with keeping his weight under control throughout his life.



This book examines how the food industry, along with cultural changes, have created a condition among the American population he calls "conditioned hypereating." He emphasizes a lot of the science behind his theory, but explains complex theories and studies of biology and behavior in a very accessible way.



In naming this condition, he tries to take away the guilt and blame associated with weight as simply a lack of willpower. Which is good. Times have changed, as has the availability and marketing of food. The book is valuable for acknowledging that and for increasing awareness of how the food industry works, driven by profit margins rather than any concern for public health.



My frustration is that, despite the title, he spends less than a third of the book discussing solutions. And all those solutions involve individuals and willpower. He does hold out hope and suggestions for changing the food industry, but they are unlikely to be implemented any time soon. Most of his advice can be found in a lot of other places.







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