PBS Newshour – How to Lose Weight (really!)

Dr. Kessler (former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration) Delves Into the Mysteries of Food Cravings and Overeating

Health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser
to author Dr. David Kessler about overeating and what is behind people’s cravings, the subject of his new book, “The End of Overeating”

On Tuesday evening’s Newshour, Dr. Kessler made some very interesting observations regarding the food industry’s neurological manipulations of people who eat their products.

The food industry has been able to figure out the bliss point, the optimal combinations of fat and salt, fat and sugar, fat, sugar and salt that you think tastes good, but when you look at the science, we now know that those ingredients stimulate, they activate the brain’s circuitry.

To find out what the ONE simple thing people can do to lose weight, hop in a barrel and follow me over the fa-a-a-a-alls…

So what’s the big secret? Stop eating CRAP!

Dr. Kessler: I didn’t know. I didn’t know. I knew it was not as simple as diet and exercise. To me, this was the great mystery. I view myself as somebody well disciplined, well educated. Why was it so hard to resist?

The reason why it is so hard for people to resist the garbage that much of the food industry produces, promotes, and sells is that the “food” itself is specifically designed to alter people’s brain circuitry to create a self-reinforcing loop that is irresistible to those who consume such products.

When we eat minimally processed foods – fruits, grains, fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, etc. – the regular, unaltered, circuitry of the brain tells us when we’ve had enough and we stop eating. When industry-produced processed food is consumed on a regular basis, we fall into this trap:

The business plan of the industry has been to take fat, sugar and salt, make it multi-sensory, make it irresistible, put it on every corner, and that behavior has resulted in millions of Americans having a very hard time controlling their eating.


The food is, in essence, it’s constructed.

And it is not constructed with your health or well-being in mind.

Over the course of time, the daily, weekly, yearly consumption of CRAP rewires the brain and changes an individual’s relationship with food. People who have been so conditioned are literally unable to resist “just one more donut” or deny themselves the “super-sized” option. They have totally lost control over their eating decisions. Dr. Kessler, once again:

There is a syndrome that has emerged, not a disease, but several characteristics that we have studied. We’ve taken people who have these characteristics: loss of control in the face of highly palatable foods, lack of satiation, preoccupation with foods. And we’ve scanned them. We’ve done the neuro-imaging.

And what’s fascinating is that their response to the anticipation of food, to the cues, just to the sight or the smell, their brains get activated. Their amygdala regions become activated and become amplified much greater than healthy controls.

And we wonder why America has a problem with weight! Part of the healthcare debate raging here online and across the country needs to confront the health complications brought on by an increasingly obese and overweight population. This growing (no pun intended) segment of our populace will continue to add to the costs of healthcare in America.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: And Dr. Kessler knows he has plenty of company. About one-third of American adults are obese or overweight, a rate that’s double what it was three decades ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

I know that it is entirely too easy for me to SAY “Stop eating CRAP” and that it is entirely too difficult to actually STOP. Once your brain has been reprogrammed, it is no simple matter to unprogram it. But awareness of what the processed food industry has been doing can be a first step in beginning to reverse the adverse effects of neurological manipulation by the processed food and fast food industries.

What can people who are addicted to the fat, salt, sugar, unhealthy food regime do? Dr. Kessler suggests:

Rehab is new learning. It’s the laying down of new neural circuitry on top of the old circuitry, on top of the old learning. So until I can lay down new circuitry, new learning, I’m never going to be able to resist. Diets don’t work. What we need is to change our relationship with food.

PBS Newshour correspondent Betty Ann Bowser concludes with this:

Dr. Kessler hopes his book (“The End of Overeating“) will launch a nationwide movement to make Americans more aware of what they are eating and why they eat so much.

Of course, individual results may vary, but this is a national problem and we as a a nation must stop eating all this CRAP.


  1. It’s been a while since I last posted anything or made any comments.

    I have a Meet-up this evening, but I’ll be back.

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