Since I haven't read its adult counterpart I can only remark on the book I read. Your Food is Fooling You makes a lot of good points about the food industry and how companies purposefully manipulate ingredients to make their food full of more salt, sugar, and fat because they know that it will make us like it better. Kessler makes comparisons to the brain chemistry of drug addiction when referring to our food choices. Our brain reward center is altered just like what happens with addicts when we select high fat/high sugar foods. The scariest part of this research shows how the brains of very young children stop sending cues to tell them that they are full and should stop eating when they consume these unhealthy diets. Thus our society is getting fatter and unhealthier every year. Oddly, these changes really started in the early 1980s, right around the same time our obsession with low-fat diets started.
All of this information, while fascinating and often very disturbing, was presented in a very simplistic way. I wanted more meat and potatoes (excuse the pun!) in the form of more specific details. Without these details the book seemed tedious and monotonous. It was not until page 142 of 168 that Kessler finally offered some suggestions for how to overcome our food choice problems. Two of these suggestions really intrigue me and I plan to use them myself:
- Make "rules" for yourself around eating that you repeat to yourself frequently. When we get the urge to overeat we have a split second to make a decision. These rules help us make the right choice. Kessler says that "rules are not the same thing as willpower. You aren't arguing against something you want. You're reminding yourself that you really don't want it." These rules can have a very powerful impact on cravings especially if the rule is paired with a reason. For example a rule might be I don't eat candy bars and the reason because I always feel worse after I eat them.
- Use any form of exercise as an alternate reward or diversion. I've noticed that this really works for me. If I want a snack after school but delay snacking until after I've walked the dog or did 40+ minutes of Wii Fit activities, the desire to snack is usually gone altogether. This all goes back to brain chemistry. In the middle of the afternoon I want a lift because my chemicals are down, food will temporarily provide that lift but so does exercise. Exercise has the increased benefit of the chemicals lasting longer and burning-up calories not adding more.
Do I recommend this book? Yes, but with a note that this book was designed for young readers and probably won't seem meaty enough for most adult readers. I hope to pick up Kessler's The End of Overeating which I suspect will be more to my liking.