Literary Analysis Essay on the End of Overeating

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1154 Words
Date:  2023-01-28


"The end of overeating: Taking control of the insatiable American appetite" by David Kessler is a book that talks about food addiction and how it is linked to increased obesity in the US. Dr. David Kessler M.D is an ex-commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. His book provides a comprehensive and well-thought-out behavioral theory of food addiction elucidated using a neurochemical approach. The book exposes how the food industry has been working hard to construct food that makes people have an insatiable craving. Dr. Kessler employs a comprehensive method of conditioned hyper-eating, which is what the food industry desires to stimulate in people. The food behavior in restaurants and other eateries is learned and causes people to eat beyond what they need for their health.

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Dr. Kessler helps to expose the food industry for its various practices that are morally wrong by revealing the issue of food layering as well as the exact type of chemicals that the manufactured foods have and how they affect the brain. He explains the biological reasons why the multisensory and multi-stimulus nutrition inventions created massive links to the conditioned hyper-eating and obesity. The author has used various research and studies in the past decades to prove his point (Kessler, 2009). The author also used research from decades ago to explain the issue of overeating and obesity.

The author employs well-connected stories as well as extensive research that are a compelling and well-investigated theory of how food behavior is created. According to Dr. Kessler is that intake of food is a detailed case of universal stimulus reward model. The food contains stimuli due to its taste, texture as well as temperature which activate certain neurons. These neurons once they get the stimuli they are highly activated and people become accustomed to doing more to obtain that advanced level of the enjoyable neuro-chemical reaction (Kessler, 2009). This pleasure system is what causes addiction since the more the body gets used to the taste pleasure it tends to make the brain to want more of that food. Research indicates that humans will tend to go for food that offers taste and pleasure than eat what is natural. According to Dr. Kessler is that rats would tend to prefer food that contains higher amounts of sucrose of even more than ten percent of sucrose, which would not be found in any natural food. The unnatural foods that contain a lot of salt, sugar, and fat create a pleasurable taste to humans, making them desire to want more of than taste pleasure more and more.

Further, dopamine is a chemical compound in our brains that drives people to seek for scavenging conduct in pursuit of the pleasures and tastes. Further, positive emotions associated with the foods also cause people to seek out for these foods (Kessler, 2009). This causes addiction because the foods that people know they should not eat because they are unhealthy they end up eating them.

This book provides an intellectual comprehension of eating behavior. Food ends up controlling people since it commands attention, occupy the working memory, and modify how people feel and become focused on food.

The book provides scientific explanations of human behavior towards food and offers advice at the end of the book on how the reader can stop the conditioned hyper-eating. He suggests a program that is trademarked and is called food rehab that has the potential of ending food addiction problem. According to Dr. Kessler is that the problem can be controlled by suppressing the thoughts that cause a person to want to eat the conditioned foods. This involves the suppression of deep-rooted behavior that is emotionally thought-provoking, and this helps help in addressing the problem of hyper-eating. According to him, humans ought to replace the high fat, refined carbohydrate, and high salt and sugar foods with foods that contained high fiber, fewer calories and neutrally loaded with healthy eating (Kessler, 2009).

The book concludes by calling people to take action. It states that people can learn to abandon addictive conduct by understanding the 12 step programs and approving self-restraint from trapped food that is offered in restaurants and grocery stores. Dr. Kessler also calls for restaurants to change the food that they offer to people and therefore provide food that is nutritious and stop marketing unhealthy food products.

The book is a food narrative that provides information on addiction from a behaviorist perspective. People who desire to learn more about scientific research studies on both humans and animals using a neuro-chemical behaviorist addiction model of over-eating should read the book by Dr. Kessler.

I enjoyed reading the book. It is well organized and provides informative information. The book is beneficial to people who desire to learn about how to regulate their eating habits. The book is not like other diet books that offer straightforward solutions for obesity problems. Instead the book provides a good and carefully laid out biological working of the brain. It also provides information regarding how overeating can be encouraged by food elements and result in obesity and metabolic illnesses. Dr. Kessler compares the conditioned food that causes hyper-eating to addictive drugs such as opioids, and that is why these foods affect our brains and cause people to go for them over and over. The food industry has taken advantage of our brain and therefore included the ingredients that they know tricks the brain and causes addiction, and that is why most companies are making millions of money in this industry.

Modernity is a concept that has also changed people's lifestyles such that most people do not know where food comes from and prefer to eat from restaurants and already prepared meals from retail stores rather than cooking. Dr. Kessler suggests that for the problem of obesity and food addiction to end, there is a need to change our lifestyles to refuse these foods and to engage in physical activity (Kessler, 2009).

It is a book that unveils the tricks that are used in the food industry and that salt, sugar, and fat causes people to get hooked to certain foods and causes them to crave for more. The manipulated food is a plan by manufacturers to sell more to people.


The book provides an exciting narrative of the state of today's processed food supply. However, the book is short, and I think that the chapters ought to have been long. It is also repetitive. However, it is a readable book that employs an exciting language and also makes sense to people who may not know much about science. It is a book that teaches about how restaurants prepare, serve, and market their food. I agree with what the author says that restaurants have to have information about what they are eating so that they can make an educated decision about their food.


Kessler, D. A. (2009). The end of overeating: Taking control of the insatiable American appetite. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale.

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