The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well

Mark Schatzker. Simon and Schuster, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9247-0
Decades of fad diets have missed the fact that “additive by additive, food has become a strange imitation of itself,” according to this zippy and fascinating survey. Science journalist Schatzker (The Dorito Effect) argues that by attempting to alter foods for weight loss, food companies have instead created “the perfect conditions” for obesity. Schatzker begins with a comparison of how the governments in Italy and the U.S. reacted to the revelation that a disease, pellagra (which struck the Southern U.S. specifically), was caused by a vitamin deficiency. This discovery led to a 1941 federal government decree that flour be enriched with B vitamins, and thus began the downfall of the American diet. The 1950s saw a boom in modified starches and artificial fat replacers, and since then, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and fats, and additional vitamin and mineral enrichments have “disrupted the brain’s ability to sense nutrients” and led to high rates of obesity. Meanwhile, Schatzker notes, the Italians set out a program of baking bread in communal ovens and encouraged the poor to raise rabbits for meat (the yeast in their unfiltered wine contained niacin, too, which didn’t hurt), and as a result, in northern Italy, where pellagra was endemic, there is an 8% obesity rate, compared to 47% in Mississippi. Schatzker supports his case with copious research from the fields of food science, psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics. (The quirky anecdotes, such as those about Goethe’s travels in Italy, are a nice bonus.) This is a real eye-opener. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3401-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3403-1
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