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The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well – Mark Schatzker

Thoughts: The End of Craving is incisive and convincingly argued. My main takeaway: in most areas of life, listening to your body and doing what feels good means doing what’s good for you. In order to allow your body to provide this accurate feedback, try to avoid situations that have been engineered to make a thing appear to be different than what it is, or engineered to make it especially pleasurable/rewarding (in the context of the book, this means food with artificial additives).

Summary: In The End of Craving, Mark Schatzker argues that food additives—including artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours, substances that modify the texture of food, and vitamins—are preventing humans’ from being able to accurately evaluate a food’s nutritional content based on its taste. For much of humans’ evolutionary past, a food’s flavour used to be a reliable indicator of its nutritional content, so if a person ate what tasted good to them in the amount they wanted, they would get all the nutrients they needed and remain in good health. But today’s foods are increasingly being engineered to deceive the tongue, making a food taste like it contains more sugar than it actually does, or making a mixture of plant-derived ingredients seem to be meat. Faced with such an uncertain and deceptive food environment, humans have responded by seeking to consume more food than necessary.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering.)

Schatzker, Mark. 2021. The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well. Avid Reader.

Introduction: The Mystery

Part I: One Disease, Two Cures

1. The New Road to Better Nutrition

2. The Old Italian Way

Part II: You are a Metabolic Genius (and You Love It)

3. You’re Hot. Then You’re Not

4. The Quest for Pleasure

5. Too Much of a Good Thing

Part III: Nutritive Mismatch

6. How Sweet It Is

7. Not Losing Isn’t Everything, It’s the Only Thing

8. Creamfibre 7000

Part IV: The Help That Hurts

9. Why Does Food Taste Good, Anyways?

10. You Are Eating Pig Feed

Part V: The Brain-Changing Power of Good Food

11. The End of Craving

12. Can This Be Fixed?

13. A Visit to the Old Road

Posted: Sep 10, 2023. Last updated: Sep 10, 2023.