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Ending Overeating

April 9, 2010

Filed under: observations — admin @ 9:07 pm

I finally finished one of those books sitting next to my bed. “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler, MD.

Dr. Kessler,was the former head of the FDA before returning to the Bay Area for a short stint as head of the Medical Center at U.C. San Francisco. The fact that he’s currently the center of a long running legal battle over his firing, has nothing to do with the book, but it’s an interesting local note.

In his book, Dr. Kessler lays out his case that overeating has become an epidemic in the US, aided by food manufacturers who have figured out how to get Americans to buy more of their product.

Dr. Kessler maintains that by focusing on the addition of sugar, fat and salt, food producers have found a sure-fire way to tap the psychological impulses that create overeating. American consumers don’t have a chance unless they figure out a way to avoid prepared food at the grocery store and fast food everywhere else.

He lays out the physical, psychological and emotional basis for overeating as a disease and like others, notably Michael Pollan, he suggests that eating less processed food is the answer to beating the health issues which have already surfaced in this country and are starting to show up around the world.

The book is well written with logical arguments and consistent conclusions. Dr. Kessler, in his position at the FDA clearly had access to sources that might not talk to you and I so he’s able to lay out the industry’s side of the story, in disturbing detail.

My only criticism is that he puts most of the responsibility for solving the problem on individual Americans, asking them to develop strategies for avoiding the traps spread by the food industry.

Maybe Dr. Kessler knows first hand that the politicians are unwilling to face the issue, but it seems to me the fight against overeating has to start in Washington. Despite that, Dr. Kessler’s 250 pages add another voice pleading to fix the American food supply and it’s worth reading.

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