Tara Parker-Pope of the NY Times reports on former FDA chief David Kessler’s new book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.
Dr. Kessler isnt convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behavior, taste preferences and desire. In fact, he offers descriptions of how restaurants and food makers manipulate ingredients to reach the aptly named bliss point. Foods that contain too little or too much sugar, fat or salt are either bland or overwhelming. But food scientists work hard to reach the precise point at which we derive the greatest pleasure from fat, sugar and salt.
And that’s a bad thing, why?
Anyway, the book apparently names names – restaurants and food producers that exploit human biology to make their food delicious, if fattening. I can’t tell from the article or the Amazon page whether the book mentions evolution as a reason why people have such desires, or as a reason why people may vary. I’ll report back if I find out.
UPDATE (2009/06/22): You know, reading through the customer reviews at Amazon, they’re sort of ticking me off. Ooohh, those evil corporations. Making food taste good so that we want more of it! Those FIENDS! Why can’t they make bad food so that we’ll want less?