Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The End of Overeating Review

There is definitely a mini- book club forming here at Punch :) Lately the topic up for discussion has been nutrition. Whether it be Mike Pollan and his books the Omivores Dilemma, and In Defense of Food; Fuhrman’s Eat to Live and Eat for Health; or Kessler’s the End of Overeating IT IS OBVIOUS that we need to take a deeper look at what we are eating.

Here is Belmont’s Assistant Fire Chief Angus Davison’s “book report” ;) to you all!

Sugar, Fat & Salt: The Triad of Evil?

Dr. David Kessler M.D. was the head of the FDA under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. During that time, he was an instrumental part of the move that eventually led to the lawsuits that were brought against the tobacco companies. Now, he has written a new book entitled “The End of Overeating- Taking control of the insatiable American appetite.” This book caught my interest because I wanted to understand why I eat some of the things that I do, even though I know I shouldn’t. I have always had an ongoing battle with ice cream. It is my drug of choice. No matter how carefully I watch what I eat, ice cream lures me in every time. I’ve tried all the routes- low fat, “no sugar added”, sorbet, you name it. But it always falls back to cold, creamy, sweet ice cream. It’s an addiction, or is it?

Dr Kessler has broken this book down into a number of sections. I group them into really 3 broad sections. The first is how food affects us physiologically. How food activates dopamine and opioids, the same as drugs, to form our addiction. The references that show how the same treatments for addictive drugs affect food desires are a little scary.

The second section involves how the food industry has taken the affects of salt, sugar and fat and developed it into their production to keep us coming back for more. This part also gives the reader a better understanding of food labels and what to look for. It also shows how the American diet and obesity problem has developed. An interesting point in this area is that small children naturally regulate their caloric intake during the day. If they take in too much early in the day, they compensate for it later in the day. This changes as they get older, where they don’t compensate as much, leading to a greater caloric surplus.

The third general section is about how this problem can be addressed and what the government and each individual can do, as Kessler terms it, Food Rehab. Some of the advice in this part might look familiar, but when you tie it in with the understanding of how food affects us, it becomes clearer.

I highly recommend this book for a clearer understanding of our relationship with food and what the industry is doing to make the battle even harder. Believe me, you will have a totally different view. In fact, you might get a little scared.

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