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Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings
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Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  260 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Why is eating chocolate so pleasurable? Can the function of just one small group of chemicals really determine whether you are happy or sad? Does marijuana help to improve your memory in old age? Is it really best to drink coffee if you want to wake up and be alert? Why is a drug like PCP potentially lethal? Why does drinking alcohol make you drowsy? Do cigarettes help rel ...more
Hardcover, 179 pages
Published July 30th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published July 1st 2010)
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হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
সহজ ভঙগি ও ভাষায় মসতিষকের ওপর কিছু রাসায়নিকের পরভাব নিয়ে লেখা বই। খাবার আর মাদকের মধযে সীমারেখাটা যে কতো পলকা, সেটা খুব সপষটভাবে বোঝা যায়। বইতে বযবহৃত আখযানগুলোও দারুণ। দুধের শিশু যে নেশাগরসত হয়েই বার বার দুধ খেতে চায়, আগে জানতাম না। ...more
Natalie
This book was not quite what I expected it to be. There wasn't actually much going on in the book concerning FOOD and how it controls your thoughts and feelings. I thought the neuroscience aspect of the book would have been a bit more in depth, but no. However, there was a section concerning psychedelic mushrooms, urine drinking and vikings that proved mildly interesting, not something I intend to try personally, but entertaining all the same.
Peg
Actually I was hoping for more on how actual food effects my thoughts and feelings. Most of the chemicals he talked about were drugs of some sort, both legal and illegal. The stuff on coffee and chocolate were especially confirming! The author is a neuologist and the book is very interesting. He infuses his information with humor, some of it very subtle, so that makes it fun. IT's a pretty quick read.
Deb
*Unexpected but worthwhile*

While reading this book, I felt like I was a student who signed up for a class called "Your Brain on Food" but instead was somehow switched into one called "Your Brain on Drugs." Not that this was a undesirable switch...just an unexpected one.

And, it's no coincidence that I felt like I was in class while reading this book--the author is, after all, a college professor. The book's presentation, style, and content are rather lecture-like, but, nonetheless effectively ac
...more
Hjsmith79
There's very little attention paid to actual food and its effect on the brain. Instead, the title would best be changed to "Neurotransmitters Make Us Kooky". That aside, it's a great guide to how neuropeptides control our thinking, movement, mood, awareness and sometimes out personality.
Did you know that the Magi's gifts to Mary, frankincense and myrrh, were not only exotic, fancy-sounding substances one only mentions at Christmas, but both are fairly potent analgesics? Or that our brains manufa
...more
Matt Holmes
As a weightlifter, drug enthusiast, and psych nerd, this book was everything I could've asked for. I got through it in Barnes and Noble in an hour. It's nice to get some concise, scientifically supported answers to those old myth questions about coffee's benefit/harm ratio, or some stripped down non-propagandist perspectives on marijuana's neurological usefulness (or lack thereof). The insulin/leptin cycle bit was especially interesting, since I played around with intermittent fasting for a few ...more
Heather
Sep 28, 2010 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anni
Shelves: nonfiction
The title and the cover are completely misleading. Pretty much the only thing about foods (with the exception of coffee and chocolate) the author said was that the amounts of certain chemicals are not enough to produce significant effects, if any.

That said, I did learn a few things about how different drugs effect the brain. For instance, I never knew why so many medications prohibit you from drinking alcohol (it multiplies the effects and can be fatal). I also learned why teenagers are so wreck
...more
Melanie
This may be one of the most misleading book titles I've ever encountered. In the entire book, there are maybe a handful of sentences actually discussing food. Presumably "Your Brain on Drugs" was already claimed by those PSAs, but that would be the far more accurate title for the book. The vast majority of it discusses the effects of various drugs on the brain, particularly with regards to neurotransmitters. Additionally, the author doesn't seem entirely sure of who his audience is. The books is ...more
Ariadna73
I absolutely LOVED this book. I was for a very long time looking for some source that could explain to me in plain English what the h*ck happens in the brain when chemicals hit it, and this one did exactly that. Moreover, it went from food to hard drugs in a few pages, and I loved it. I will definitely read it a second time, and I have all its suggested readings in my queue now, because it is such a great and elegant explanation. I will very happily read other books and papers written by this sa ...more
Katie Kemple
I heard Gary Wenk discuss this book on a podcast and was instantly drawn in. The book itself, unfortunately, was not as interesting as his interview. This may have to do with his definition of food, which expands to include anything one consumes. Mainly, in the case of this book, those substances are illegal drugs. Don't buy this book if you're looking for insight into how everyday food affects the brain, memory, or longevity. His audience seems to be his college students, who experiment - and a ...more
Jonathan
Lots of good information, though more technical than I expected... Had I not been stuck on a 5 hour flight, I probably wouldn't have finished it, but the info in it was great, and I'm glad that I did finish.
Vladimir Chupakhin
Title is misleading, there is very very little about actual influence of nutrients on brain functions. Thou I should admit that the description of main brain neurotransmitters are very good.
Patrick Barker
Decent book, there were definitely some interesting parts, but I felt that nothing incredibly interesting was imparted to me. It was more just an affirmation of the status quo.
Sofia
An accessible read that explains how the human brain works and how a wide variety of chemicals (not just food) affect various parts of brain function.
Natasha
This is an excellent primer on neurobiology, but it actually has very little to do with food. It describes the role of various neurotransmitters, and explains the effects of increasing or blocking these neurotransmitters with legal and non-legal pharmaceuticals. The only mention of anything food-like was alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and ginkgo. So, while interesting, I am not sure why the author titled it "Your Brain on FOOD" He should have just gone with the subtitle- "How Chemicals Influence Y ...more
hannah
May 06, 2012 hannah added it
Shelves: science
The title of this book is an extreme misnomer, but its subtitle is right on track. While not the most exciting way to approach the subject, and while Wenk is far from the most engaging science (or any) writer I've ever read, this is still a rather accessible book about how the neurotransmitters in your brain work with or against or in spite of various chemicals, from nutrients to drugs, that you consume. It's also the first time I've really understood action potentials, after feeling like they w ...more
Steph
Mostly about how chemicals in our brain react to the chemicals we consume. By "chemicals" I mean "drugs". Interesting, nonetheless.
Any Length
The book is great in that it explains how the brain works with the various neurotransmitters and with the substances we put into our bodies. However, it discusses "food" as such only in the end chapter and only as an aside, thus the title is somewhat misleading. However, I think the book has great use to give to anyone who is smoking, taking drugs, eating magic mushrooms, or thinks that brain training or excessive dietary supplements are of any great use. I would recommend this book and found it ...more
Helen
The blurb that lures you into reading the book promises that it will tell you about how FOOD interacts with your body and brain to affect your feelings and thoughts. It does not.
It does give a good basic grounding in what different neurotransmitters do, and how the science folks now believe they affect your moods and even your thought processes. However, it doesn't actually talk about food. Unless, of course, we've redefined the word to include the various drugs that are currently prescribed to
...more
Meghan
The title was misleading. This book was concerned primarily with the brain on drugs and consumable plants not really "on food" in terms of nutrition or diet which was what I was expecting. Interesting though.
Sarah
Dec 04, 2011 Sarah added it
Very succinct basic overview...absolutely gives no hope about being able to beef up a slowly ebbing ability to remember anything. Eat less and exercise is the take away. Snake oil is still snake oil. Does give a nice overview of drug mechanisms and neurotransmitter systems if you need that. Its strength is that it doesn't try to do too much-pretty focused and has a decent suggested reading list that is pertinent to that focus.
Lori
Not at all what I was expecting. Total bait and switch, the title sounded so good! I'll admit I didn't finish it. It just didn't seem worth the time. It's not written for a public audience, and talks very little about food. Mostly it focuses about drugs and specific chemicals. It's fairly technical and not the kind of thing you could just read through because it looks interesting.
Carrie
Wow, I really don't know why they put "Food" in the title. This book is about how chemicals affect the brain...there isn't anything in here about food at all except for a few pages about glucose. Mostly it discusses how various drugs (e.g., cocaine, marijuana, etc.) affect the brain. It was interesting and well-written, but it is not what I had anticipated at ALL.
Matas
I think people get disappointed by the book only because they read the first part of the name "Your brain on food" and forget the "how chemicals control your thoughts and feelings". The book is mainly about the second part. It's not a light read, but its pretty informative and rewarding. You can find out many useful advances in the field.
Sondra
I actually took a drugs and behavior class taught by Dr. Wenk, and this is a good outline for the things we learned. I thought it was interesting and it didn't really feel like a textbook as I was reading. The title is a little misleading maybe, but the topics it does cover are far more interesting than just food in my opinion.
Nicole Cenkova
Wonderful reading! It is light, it is written in an understandable way even for people not familiar with brain stuff, chemistry stuff and so on stuff.

10 great chapters about different things that we use daily (not heroine and marijuana, but..). The food we eat and the air we breathe.

I highly recommend it!
Ben
Way interesting, tho not quite what I expected. Lots of big words lol. Learned a lot about the brain.
Travis Hutchins


This book is more about how the brain functions with certain intake chemicals. Title is misleading, but it is a wealth of information if you want to look at a chemical basis level. It would be boring to those who have no interest in brain function, science, anatomy, or psychology. Otherwise it is okay.
Pallida Mors
It is probably a good book. I was enjoying it until he pissed me off with his estrogen produces shopping urges quip, the book was reserved by another at the library, so I just returned it. Maybe another time.
Lindsay
It took til the last ten pages to get to anything about food. I was overwhelmed with the neuroscience and at the same time felt like I was back in high school health class reading about drugs and their effects. Glad I only paid two bucks for it...
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