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Welcome to the continuing diary series "Let's Read a WHEE Book Together!" This week, we're continuing with David Kessler's The End of Overeating, Chapter 11. If you're just discovering this diary series, you will find links to the previous installments at the bottom of this diary.

WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

The End of Overeating, by David Kessler, M.D.
Chapter 11: Emotions Make Food Memorable

Given the sensory power of sugar, fat, and salt, we might expect everyone to be drawn to much the same foods. But we're not, in part because our preferences are strongly influenced by what has happened to us in the past.

[emphasis mine - Ed.]

In Chapter 6, Kessler introduced the idea that desirable foods can make a lab animal prefer one given location over another. In Chapter 11, he looks at this idea from the other side - that is, the ways in which a particular location, and in particular good emotions associated with such a location, can make the foods served there even more desirable.

He begins with the example of Andrew, the journalist from the book's introduction. Whenever Andrew visits New York, he is drawn to visit Carvel, a well-known ice cream chain. Apart from the draw of the sugar- and fat-laden ice cream, a major part of the appeal for Andrew is his memories of visiting the chain after childhood Little League victories.

Later in the chapter, we're introduced to Bill Schultz, an East Coast friend who is searching for the California restaurant where he enjoyed a unique dessert - that Bill remembers in part because

The day he encountered the dessert had been a special one. Nearing the end of an adventurous, cross-country road trip, he was celebrating with an outdoor meal among friends...Marriage was on his horizon.

Kessler also has an example of a location that for him recalls a particularly desirable food - however, he doesn't say what, if anything, made this location associated with good emotions.

It's not just good emotions that can become associated with and make experiences more memorable, of course. Kessler uses the examples of JFK's assassination and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as emotionally-charged events that for many people make the otherwise-mundane events of those days far more memorable.

Kessler concludes the chapter by asserting that food industry advertising is selling pleasurable emotions, rather than nutrition or satisfaction.

If you're just discovering this series, or want to catch up on a previous installment, here are links to the story so far:
Introduction (written by me)
Chapter 1: Something Changed . . . America Gains Weight (me).
Chapter 2: Overriding the Wisdom of the Body (Clio2)
Chapter 3: Sugar, Fat, and Salt Make Us Eat More Sugar, Fat, and Salt (me)
Chapter 4: The Business of Food: Creating Highly Rewarding Stimuli (Clio2)
Chapter 5: Pushing Up Our Settling Points (me)
Chapter 6: Sugar, Fat and Salt Are Reinforcing (Clio2)
Chapter 7: Amping Up the Neurons (me)
Chapter 8: We Are Wired to Focus Attention on the Most Salient Stimuli (Clio2)
Chapter 9: Rewarding Foods Become Hot Stimuli (me)
Chapter 10: Cues Activate Brain Circuits That Guide Behavior (Clio2)

Scheduled WHEE diaries:
   October 4
   Sun AM - louisev - Turtle diary
   Sun PM - cusoon

   October 5
   Mon AM - NC Dem
   Mon PM - ???

   October 6
   Tues AM - Clio2 (Kessler, Ch. 12)
   Tues PM - ???

   October 7
   Weds AM - digitalmuse
   Weds PM - Edward Spurlock

   October 8
   Thurs AM - A DC Wonk
   Thurs PM - ???

   October 9
   Fri AM - ???
   Fri PM - ???

   October 10
   Sat AM - ???
   Sat PM - Edward Spurlock (Kessler, Ch. 13)

Originally posted to Edward Spurlock on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 06:11 PM PDT.

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