Good Reading : September 2010
my say I've been dipping in and out of an interesting book. It's called The End of Overeating by David A Kessler, one of the key proponents in the fight against the tobacco industry in the US. In this book he has turned his keen analytical eye on the food industry. I first heard about the book while fiddling around trying to find something interesting to listen to on the radio while I walked. I came across him being interviewed on the BBC. He was so interesting to listen to I just had to get a copy of the book. The seed of the idea behind his research, and ultimately the book, was born while watching Dr Phil appearing on Oprah. A young woman who was obese had volunteered to come out of the audience to talk about her weight. At first, she giggled at how much she ate and when. She ate when happy, when sad, when her husband came home. A flood of tears followed as she talked about how much she hated herself and how powerless she felt.Two thirds of the audience immediately raised their hands to say they had similar feelings and struggles. Kessler empathised as he also felt the same way. So he decided to experiment on himself, trotting out to purchase two gooey chocolate chip cookies and placing them on his table at home. Could he resist them? What he found was that he could not stop thinking about them. No matter what he did the thought of them was fixed in his mind. He did resist eating them, but later that day he sat in a café with a coffee and promptly ordered an orange-chocolate cookie and ate it immediately. Kessler is thorough in his research, and tables some fascinating facts and figures. He talks about the difference between foods that are predominantly sugary from those that also include large amounts of fat and salt, and the how that combination can produce a profound change in the levels of our desire to eat them. He cites examples on tests with rats that were 'obesity resistant'. They would cut back their food if they found themselves overeating ordinary food. But when offered a creamy liquid high in sugar and fat, their behaviour changed.They would gorge themselves. Some rats would cross an electrified floor to get to a food that combined high levels of sugar and fat. In other experiments on humans, participants kept track of and rated the desirability of foods that they ate over a seven-day period. Most people gave more points to foods with higher levels of fat and sugar.They also consumed 44% more of those foods. Although Kessler avoids the word 'addiction', he says that eating foods high in the unholy trinity of sugar, fat and salt will make us eat more foods the same. I think we all realise that this is a health issue -- literally -- of mammoth proportions.There are millions of us battling weight issues. And Kessler opens our eyes to how we are being manipulated, whether consciously or not, to eat these foods. I know I relate to that obsession with sugary, fatty foods if I have them available. And every person I have spoken to so far about it feels the same. It's certainly good food for thought. So you could say I'm reading again. Albeit slowly and haphazardly. But I'm thinking of it a bit like losing weight. The slower I do it the better it will be for me in the long run. Monica McInerney is one of Australia’s bestselling novelists. Her books, including Those Faraday Girls and The Alphabet Sisters, have sold around the world. Monica’s new novel, At Home with the Templetons, is a wonderfully entertaining story about the intertwining lives of the large, bohemian Templeton family and their neighbours: single mother Nina Donaldson, and her son, Tom. Penguin Books and gr are offering you and a friend the chance to be Monica’s guests at one of the special events on her national Australian tour in October. You will each also receive a signed copy of At Home with the Templetons. If you don’t live in or near one of the cities on the national tour Penguin will fly you to your nearest capital city. To enter this competition, tell us the name of Nina Donaldson’s son. Write your answer, name and contact details (including your phone number) on the back of an envelope and send to ‘Meet Monica McInerney’, GPO Box 3835 Sydney NSW 2001 or enter online at www.goodreadingmagazine.com. TERMS & CONDITIONS 1.Information on how to enter forms part of the terms and conditions of entry. 2. Entry is available to Australian residents only. 3. The judge's decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 4. The winners must be available during the month of October, the exact date dependent on the location of the winner and the tour dates (yet to be finalised) of the author. 5. If the winner does not live close to one of the cities the author will be visiting, the publisher will provide return economy airfares to the nearest capital city on the author's tour. If the winner lives in or near a city the author will be visiting, no flights will be supplied and travel to and from the event is the responsibility of the winner. Transfers are not included as part of the prize. 6. Prizes are not transferable and cannot be taken as cash. Any cancellations, change in time or change in the value of the prizes are not the responsibility of the promoter. 7. The judging will take place at 2A Booth St Balmain NSW 2041 at 11am on the 18/09/10. The winner will be notified by phone and their name will appear on www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au from 19 September. 8. The promoter shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever that is suffered or for any personal injury suffered or sustained in connection with the prize. 8. The promoter accepts no responsibility for incorrect phone numbers or any inability to contact the winner. 9. If the winner cannot be contacted or is unavailable to take part then a new winner shall be drawn at 11am on 19/9/10. 10. The promoter is Good Reading Magazine Pty Ltd of 2A Booth St Balmain NSW 2041 ABN 38 003 750 150. Meet Monica McInerney Competition closes 17 September!