Book Review - The End of Overeating

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The End of Overeating is a very different book about nutrition; Instead of focusing on the body, it focuses on the mind. The premise of the book is that some types of foods not only satisfy hunger, but act as psychological rewards. This reward mechanism is similar to that seen with addictive drugs, impacting the opiate centers of the brain. The book uses the term 'conditioned hypereating' to describe the behavior of eating beyond hunger, with a loss of control over actions.

A lot of the book focuses on the food industry, and how it has intentionally created food that are addictive (craveablity in their parlance). Foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt all tend to have this addictive quality. The book discusses how people, both fat and thin have problems controlling their food intake. Some of this resonated with me; most people would consider me thin (body fat < 10%), but I struggle with my weight and what I eat.

The book does give some advice for dealing with 'conditioned hypereating' though both changes in diet and use of behavioral modification. This advice is practical, and reasonably detailed. I have found the book useful and it has changed my understanding of why I tend to overeat and what drives me. Thinking of some foods like addictive drugs is an interesting mindset. It explains why there are some foods that I cannot eat in moderation. For instance, on New Year's Eve a friend came over with some fudge, which I love. I thought I'd have just one piece. I then honestly intended to have just one more piece, again and again. This type of lack of control seems typical of 'conditioned hypereating'. Of course, dealing with food as an addiction is in some ways harder than other addictions, as abstinence is not an option.

My biggest criticism of the book is that it could have been a lot shorter without losing the essential message. It is not overly long, but it would benefit from being more concise. I think that the value of the message of the book overcomes the verbosity, and the book is very easy to skip read.

1 Conclusion

If you are overweight, or if you have a problem with controlling your food intake, I would highly recommend reading this book.

2 See Also