Book Review: The End of Overeating by David Kessler

Carrots or Carrot Cake?

In the End of Overeating, David Kessler explores the relationships between people and the food they eat. The beginning starts out rather slow with the author talking about the effects on certain foods on lab rats. What scientists discovered was that when mice were overfed their standard pellets, they tended to gain weight initially but then eventually cut back on eating and lost the weight. This was true of the obesity prone rats as well, they just gained a little more weight and took longer to shave the extra weight off. However, when all rats were fed a liquid high in both sugar and fat, they all ate uncontrollably. They all gained weight and kept it. Yet human beings are not rats. Humans don’t always respond to the same stimuli as rats. Sometimes they do, but quite often direct comparisons are tenuous at best.

One of the earlier examples the author writes about is an account of an obese couple sitting at a Chili’s which can be described as lab of sorts:

“I was sitting at Chili’s Grill & Bar in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for a late-night flight. At a nearby table a couple in their early forties was deep into a meal. The woman was overweight, with about 180 pounds on her five-foot-four-inch frame. The Southwestern Eggrolls were listed as a started course, but the enormous platter in front of her has been heaped with food. The dish was described on the menu as “smoked chicken, black beans, corn, Jalapeno Jack Cheese, Red Peppers, and Spinach wrapped inside a crispy flour tortilla” and it was served with a creamy avocado-ranch dipping sauce. Despite its name, the dish looked more like a burrito than an egg roll, an only-in-America fusion approach.”

The author goes on to describe how the woman attacked the dish with amazing vigor. I borrow such a scene from this book because these scenes are all too common across America.

The author goes on to provide another example of what can trap people. The little old lady who started Cinnabon was interviewed in the book also. She talks about her secret about how, you guessed it, to add sugar, fat and salt on top even more sugar, fat and salt into all of the doughy cinnamon into each of her products.

Sugar, fat and salt makes us eat more sugar, fat and salt which makes us eat even more sugar fat and salt. On and on it goes. Then we gain weight, we get fat, become obese and our lives become much more complicated. Throughout the book, the author brings us back to an interview he had with an executive from the food and beverage industry. He continually describes the million and one ways in which restaurants and pre-packaged foods are nothing more than dishes and bags full of sugar, fat and salt with clever names. For example, pulling a new dish off of Chili’s menu, The Grilled Chicken and Guacamole Sandwich: “Grilled fajita chicken, Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole, peppers & onions on white Texas toast” which can be translated as “The Grilled fat, sugar, salt with even more sugar fat and salt Sandwich”.

The sugar, fat and salt phenomenon is not just limited to American chain restaurants either. It is everywhere. When you buy sugary cereal, corn chips for dipping, corn chips at the grocery store, you can bet your bottom Dollar that those foods are packed to the brim with sugar, fat and salt. Thinking of ordering pizza? Sure, but pizza is just another way to order a crap-ton more sugar, fat and salt. What about a “healthy” choice like Subway? I mean Jared just can’t be wrong. Subway is another way to pack on the sugar, fat and salt. Don’t believe me? Next time you walk into a Subway, start counting the number of fat people there. Pro tip: Any time you walk into a restaurant and see fat people, leave immediately.

In sum: American chain restaurants and pre-packaged foods suck. They will all make you overeat and get fat.

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2 Responses to Book Review: The End of Overeating by David Kessler

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink | The Palaestra Forum

  2. Pingback: Know Your Fats by Mary Enig | The Palaestra Forum

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