Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Kessler’s “The End of Overeating” reviewed by Judy Tart

The End of Overeating, by David Kessler is a fascinating but horrifying story of modern food and why we can't stop eating it. Built into our brains is a quest for rare but needed food elements--fat, sugar, and salt. Modern industrial food production has learned how to pile these into ever-more enticing offerings.

Obesity began to rise dramatically in the US about 20 years ago, when these "hyper-palatable" foods started becoming more available. Legions of labs and scientists are devoted to hooking us on these foods, as if they were drugs. People can't stop themselves from eating them, as is demonstrated in a number of ways.

I know that there are certain foods I rarely buy because if they get into the house, I will eat them. Cheezits are one such. We don't eat out very often. But, though I have plenty of time for cooking, I am also weary of it. So I find myself buying more partly assembled meals (such as Costco's Chinese chicken salad - just add lettuce).

Now that I've read this book, though, I am going to be more vigilant. When I use my slow cooker, I get at least three meals from it, usually four. We eat one and the rest go into the freezer to be pulled out when I don't feel like cooking. This is a meal I've prepared from scratch.

We do eat lots of fresh veggies, which I always have on hand and add to everything--and a fair amount of fruit--I especially like those little seedless tangerines, and my husband likes grapes.

"The End of Overeating" is short and engagingly written. It's well worth reading and taking to heart.

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