Fat Fighter

The Washington Post profiles David Kessler, the Harvard-trained doctor, lawyer, medical school dean, and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration whose passion for sensible eating drives him to root around in dumpsters to figure out what kind of crap Chili’s puts into its food.

The profile of the author of The End of Overeating is fabulous stuff, containing science, subterfuge, and sensational nutritional disclosures. A highlight from the Chili’s dive:

“The ingredient list for Southwestern Eggrolls mentioned salt eight different times; sugars showed up five times. The ‘egg rolls,’ which are deep-fried in fat, contain chicken that has been chopped up like meatloaf to give it a ‘melt in the mouth’ quality that also makes it faster to eat. By the time a diner has finished this appetizer, she has consumed 910 calories, 57 grams of fat and 1,960 milligrams of sodium.”

Kessler says that eating “highly palatable” foods, i.e. those dripping with sugar, fat, and salt, rewires the brain so that the craving for said foods becomes uncomfortable if the eater is reminded of a trigger food. In other words: Fast food ads work. And you shouldn’t watch the beginning of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory on an empty stomach.

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