Which means no amount of helpful diet tips can help you lose weight in much the same vein that no amount of hiding cigarettes or buying a lighter version of their favourite brand can stop smokers lighting up.
What can make a difference is understanding your reasons for overeating in the first place. And while attributing your overeating issues to the addictive nature of (certain) food will not help resolve the problem, understanding how powerful its grasp on our physiology can be a liberating first step.
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Which is why, if youre looking to regain control of what you eat and lose a few pounds in the process you should read new diet book, The End Of Overeating by David Kessler, published earlier this month.
As former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Kessler crusaded against the tobacco companies and their conspiracy to keep smokers hooked. Now, in a sequence of short, readable chapters, Kessler gets right to the heart of the matter with food.
In essence, he says, the problem is that many modern foods have become far too palatable. Rich in fat and sugar, they over-stimulate the brain's reward pathways, conditioning us to seek more and more.
Manufacturers of processed foods and major restaurant chains all exploit this neurological vulnerability by loading up food with fat and sugar to create craveability. So instead of being made to nourish and satisfy, so much of the food available today is made to stimulate.
And it gets worse. When we eat these hyperstimulating foods and experience the neural rewards they offer, the foods become even more stimulating the next time around. Eventually, the cues that accompany the foods - location, time of day, emotional state - become triggers that drive food-seeking behaviour.