Monday, November 2, 2009

The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler

This has been a most interesting weather weekend in Brookhaven. At 7:00 a.m. Friday morning, it was 75 degrees. Friday night, we sat in pouring rain at the stadium while Brookhaven High beat McComb (full disclosure: we came late and stayed long enough to see the band perform, but we did listen on the radio. How about those Panthers!). Saturday started out cool and beautifully clear and in the evening, the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood had a blast. With the added distraction of the World Series, I got no reading done this weekend!

But I did read a thought provoking book last week, The End of Overeating, by David A. Kessler, MD. Kessler looks at the food industry and their efforts to make us buy. He sees our current obesity crisis as an addiction model. He describes how eating fast and chain restaurant food and packaged foods from the grocery create an addiction to fat, sugar and salt. His observations seem frighteningly true.
While Dr. Kessler does provide a very good case for "conditioned hypereating," his solution seems a bit weak. If it is true that overeating isn't a choice but rather a biological drive created by the food industry (and I do think he is right about that), it would seem to take more than just saying no to dig us out of the cycle of addictive eating. And while his solution is a good deal more complicated than saying no, that is its basis.
David A. Kessler was commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration under both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He has served as dean of the medical schools at Yale and University of California, San Francisco. He has a degree from the University of Chicago Law school and graduated from Amhurst and Harvard Medical School.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a link to an interesting BBC report on a study of processed foods and depression (mentioned on Mark Bitman's blog):