What's it about? Kessler is the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is a self-proclaimed overeater. In the book, subtited Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, he answers the question of why he overeats — and why the United States has an obesity problem.
Who knew? Many foods, especially those served in chain restaurants, are engineered to make you come back for more, the same as cigarettes are designed to keep you puffing. Like nicotine, foods high in salt, sugar and fat are addictive — and many food producers and restaurants exploit this knowledge to get you hooked.
Worth the read? Though the book is dry and too long, it does provide a window into the science of why people overeat, especially in America, and a guideline on how to change. Kessler holds that while some people may be genetically prone to overeating, it's the American culture of eating and food that pushes many people over the edge, and the only way to get out of those habits is to retrain the brain to see those oversized portions of salt, sugar and fat as bad instead of mouthwatering.
Jen A. Miller, Times correspondent