“The End of Overeating” Review: Why Do We Eat Even When Not Hungry

Robin M.'s picture

The book was published in 2009, and has already found its way onto many a dieter’s shelves. David Kessler, a medical doctor and author, uses science to ease our consciences a little bit. He explains in great detail, that we Americans have been conditioned to overeat by a selfish industry, that it is not a character flaw of overweight people. He examines giant restaurant chains, massive food distributors, and the advertising industry. It seems everyone has played a part in getting America to where we are – an obese nation.

How Can "The End of Overeating" Help?

Dr. Kessler discovered that what drives us to eat the junk that we eat is the high sugar, salt and fat content—mainly the sugar.

This book is not a dieting book per se, but more of a nonfiction narrative, an investigation into what it is we eat and why we might be eating it. However, at the end of the book, Kessler does offer several motivational, directional chapters that can help his readers know where to go from here. He discusses “Planned Eating,” and “Letting Go of the Past.”

Kessler explains how “Eating is Personal,” and devotes a chapter to “Avoiding Traps.”
You may consider getting this book at a library and skipping to the end just to read these chapters. They’re far less dense than the first few.

Does it Work?

Kessler uses his own testimony to support his claim that his strategies can work. Many, many of his readers have agreed. Also, many reviewers claim that this book and its strategies helped them lose weight.

Susan, like the majority of the reviewers, extols how enlightening and inspirational the book is:

“This book is fascinating and freeing! Dr. Kessler explains that our neurons have become encoded to respond to the need for sugar, fat and salt for survival, and drive us to reward ourselves with the pleasure of eating even if we are satiated. We crave food because of our past "stories" that were associated with it. I see that when I am honest about my hunger I can make healthy choices rather than be conditioned by my past.”

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

How much weight we lose depends a lot on how much we have to lose. When we first turn away from processed foods, the weight can fall off quite quickly. Once the initial rush has passed though, expect to lose at least a pound a week, if you are truly avoiding the foods this book warns you of (fast food, processed food, nutritionally void foods).

Side Effects

Some people claim they have difficulty driving past McDonalds, but this is only temporary.

Pros and Cons

  • Knowledge is power, and this book provides you with lots of background knowledge on how our bodies and brains work, and on why we eat the way we do.
  • This book addresses emotional eating.
  • This book investigates chain restaurants and names.
  • It tells us lots of industry trade secrets that will scare us right into the lettuce aisle.
  • A section in Part III focuses on our children, and their obesity epidemic, so this is a good book for parents to read.
  • Part V of the book provides us with some strategies we can employ to fight back against a culture that seems to want us to be unhealthy.


  • Some readers have complained that this book is dense and difficult to read.
  • Not all parts of the book will apply to all readers. It might be best to skim the headlines and read what interests you.

Problems and Complaints

If you are an avid reader in this area, this book might not offer anything new. Some readers of Kessler’s book found his information to be more of the same old same old. Edward Durney, a savvy Amazon reviewer puts it this way:

“The End of Overeating does not provide any big secrets on how to win that struggle. Just why it is a struggle. That story it tells very well.”

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