AJ LeBlanc's Reviews > The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler
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's review
Nov 04, 09

it was ok
bookshelves: food, non-fiction
Read in November, 2009

I am really disappointed with this book.

It starts off promising: foods that have a lot of sugar, fat, and salt make us want to keep eating, especially foods with even more sugar, fat, and salt. To add to this fun, some people are wired to overeat while others are able to stop. If you're wired to overeat, it doesn't matter if you're overweight or not - some people have figured out how to compensate and stay at a healthy weight while others are not able to do so and become obese.

And then Kessler repeats this information for the first two-thirds of the book. It was so bad that sometimes I would start a new chapter and think I had already read it because the information was so similar.

It's good that he shows the science behind overeating and explain that it's both biological and emotional, but I thought the point of the book was going to be how to plan your meals better and retrain yourself to avoid the sugar-fat-salt traps.

Once he finally gets to "the end of overeating" it's vague and confusing. It almost boils down to him saying "Some people overeat, especially sugar, fat, and salt. There's tons of science explaining why it is incredibly difficult for you to stop overeating. So... stop overeating."

At some points he does give concrete examples, such as coming up with a set of rules that you don't deviate from, but then he doesn't take the next step and show you an example list. Most of the time he doesn't explain at all. I ended up reading, rereading, then rereading again to try and apply things to myself but couldn't figure out what he was saying. It was extra frustrating because in earlier sections he used anecdotal examples to show the thought processes and behaviors of over-eaters, but doesn't return to this to show how to change the cycle.

Again, it was like he was saying that to break the cycle, you need to break the cycle.

If someone is struggling with overeating and this is their first resource, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be. I was expecting to at least find food lists of healthy choices vs. sugar/fat/salt choices, but Kessler seems to assume that you already know where the traps are, and yet he spends a good portion of the book explaining that a lot of people don't realize what they're eating. I was half expecting to find a sample food plan illustrating his findings, but there wasn't even a list of suggested foods.

I think this book could have been summed up as a magazine article.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Deb (new)

Deb I heard him interviewed onNPR and felt the same way. Lots of repitition and no answers to legitimate questions. It's unfortunate that it has gotten so much attention for little substance. Thanks for the review. I'll spend my time with a different book instead of picking this one up.

Jenn I've read the first third of this book so far and feel the same way.

I recently finished another healthy-eating book called Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, and it also suggests breaking the cycle--by stopping the dieting. It's clear, interesting stuff and actually offers a lot of answers and good advice.

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