It's no secret that the US is facing the epidemic of gluttony. One of the first things noticed by foreigners arriving in America the number of excessively obese men and women.
After seven years of research on what the Americans said is the reason of eating too much, former director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) David Kessler , came to the conclusion that it is not lack of the will and that Americans are not to be blamed for eating too much. He presented his findings in a book entitled The End Of Overeating.
David Kessler started from the question: Why are Americans more obese today than ever before? Why people cannot resist certain types of food? Why are they continuing to eat even though they have already filled up?
We no longer eat only during the meal. Food is available to us 24 hours a day. "It is socially accepted that you can eat and walk down the street, to eat at business meetings. In fact, we turned the food into fun" says Kessler.
While preparing material for the book Kessler spoke with the most prominent scientists, doctors and food industry experts. He says the factory processed foods and chain restaurants use ingredients that stimulate appetite. Fat, sugar and salt can be found at every step, he says, and these substances alter brain chemistry and encourage what he called "conditional gluttony."
"It is not just about fat, sugar and salt, but the anticipation, the hints of satisfaction that activates the brain and stimulate desire. Since we are continually bombarded with calls to eat, our brain is continuously active with the strong desire for food" says Kessler.
Kessler notes that there are similarities between the food and tobacco industry. Both manipulate the behavior of consumers to sell their products regardless of the health consequences. Instead of feeling that satisfies hunger, the food industry creates products to encourage people to eat more than necessary" says Kessler. More than you would otherwise want.
"No doubt, they understand what it takes to make people to come back for more. Food is saturated with huge amounts of fat, sugar and salt," says Kessler.
These ingredients stimulate the brain to secreted dopamine, the substance that is associated with pleasant feeling. Soon, they very thought of food causes a desire for her. The continuous stimulation prevents any attempt to lose weight.
Diets cease to act as soon as the brain adapts to it. If you withheld food 30 or 60 days, you would endure it and lost weight. But if you would return to the everyday environment, with old habits ingrained in your brain, you would quickly regain previous weight.
In his book The End Of Overeating Kessler is proposing the strategy for ending of dependency on the food that begins with understanding why people have an irresistible need for certain types of food.
"The first thing to do is mitigate the stimulation. You have to protect your brain from the incentives." And the best way to do that, Kessler says, is to change the way of looking at food.
You have to develop certain rules. Some people become vegetarians. For them it is easier, because of their view on animal fats and proteins. Others people may not want processed food, but only those from healthy sources. Some people are horrified by big portion. It is important to develop a policy and say that I will not eat. This reduces the activation of the brain" says Kessler.
While David Kessler was the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they introduced the rule of mandatory labeling of content of food sold in supermarkets. He would like to extend the law now on the menus in restaurants. Information, education and change of perceptions, he says, are the key to take control over our appetite and the end of gluttony epidemic in America.
People, is it the final moment to start thinking about our weight?