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The Food Industry's Greed and Congress's Complicity Are Undermining Your Health and That of Your Family
on July 7, 2009
"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." -- 1 Timothy 6:10
Anyone who reads this book should be outraged at the food industry and the people in Congress who protect them!
In 1906 Upton Sinclair wrote the The Jungle which exposed the bad practices in the meatpacking industry. As a result, consumers woke up and demanded reform. I hope that Dr. David Kessler's book, The End of Overeating, will have the same effect.
As I read this book, I was also reminded of how tobacco executives used to spike their products to make them more addictive while testifying in public that no one could ever be addicted to tobacco.
I did a lot of consulting for food manufacturers and restaurant companies as a young consultant. That experience made me complacent about thinking that I knew about industry practices. What Dr. Kessler shares here shocked me in terms of how much has been learned about how to make food addictive, especially by using the kinds of foods that will make a person obese and subject to many serious diseases.
I think the most important part of this book comes on pages 247 and 248 where Dr. Kessler proposes these important reforms:
1. Restaurants list the calorie counts of every item on their menus.
2. All food products should list on their labels in a prominent way the percentage of added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and fats that are in the item.
3. A well-funded public education program should describe the unhealthy consequences of eating food loaded with extra sugar, fat, and salt.
4. Food marketing should be monitored and exposed where makers of products are attempting to create addictions.
The book begins by explaining based on scientific studies how we crave added fat, sugar, and salt. Dr. Kessler then explains how the food industry seeks to orchestrate those ingredients to make products irresistible. He goes on to show with other studies how combining those ingredients in the right way creates an unhealthy addiction to consuming ever-increasing quantities of those foods. From there, he explains how other addictions are overcome and what the lessons are for overeating. Next, he describes six potential ways to change your behaviors so that you can withdraw from addictive and compulsive eating (whether you are overweight or not). Finally, he talks about the public policy issues.
Go tell someone about this book the next time you find yourself being attracted to an unhealthy food. Your outrage will help distract you from harmful eating.