The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat (Paperback)
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
From an obesity and neuroscience researcher with a knack for engaging, humorous storytelling, The Hungry Brain uses cutting-edge science to answer the questions: why do we overeat, and what can we do about it?
No one wants to overeat. And certainly no one wants to overeat for years, become overweight, and end up with a high risk of diabetes or heart disease--yet two thirds of Americans do precisely that. Even though we know better, we often eat too much. Why does our behavior betray our own intentions to be lean and healthy? The problem, argues obesity and neuroscience researcher Stephan J. Guyenet, is not necessarily a lack of willpower or an incorrect understanding of what to eat. Rather, our appetites and food choices are led astray by ancient, instinctive brain circuits that play by the rules of a survival game that no longer exists. And these circuits don’t care about how you look in a bathing suit next summer.
To make the case, The Hungry Brain takes readers on an eye-opening journey through cutting-edge neuroscience that has never before been available to a general audience. The Hungry Brain delivers profound insights into why the brain undermines our weight goals and transforms these insights into practical guidelines for eating well and staying slim. Along the way, it explores how the human brain works, revealing how this mysterious organ makes us who we are.
About the Author
Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D. is an obesity researcher and health writer whose work ties together neuroscience, physiology, evolutionary biology, and nutrition to offer explanations and solutions for our global weight problem. He received a B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the University of Washington. He is the author of the popular health website, Whole Health Source, and is a frequent speaker on topics of obesity, metabolism, and nutrition.
“No more a diet book than ‘Anna Karenina’ is a romance novel, but for those interested in the complex science of overeating, it is essential.”
—The New York Times Book Review
"Many people have influenced my thinking on human nutrition and metabolism, but one person stands out as completely altering my understanding of why we get fat. That person is Stephan Guyenet."
— Robb Wolf, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Paleo Solution
“I have followed Stephan Guyenet’s career as a researcher and blogger for over five years and have been impressed with both his objectivity and ability to distill complex information into easily understood explanations.”
— Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint —Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint
"In a world of increasing information overload, Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s research and writing is like a gem in the rough. He has a remarkable ability to distill the latest scientific research and communicate it in a clear and engaging way, and his level-headed, evidence-based approach sets him apart from the pack."
— Chris Kresser, author of the New York Times bestseller, Your Personal Paleo Code
"A remarkable book that approaches health and weight management not through diet or fitness, per se, but by understanding and combating the urge to overeat. This fun, insightful, and important text will appeal to both science-lovers and fitness fanatics."
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Following in the footsteps of Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, Guyenet looks to the structure of the human brain and how it has evolved over time... A helpful guide offering encouragement to those looking for ways to lead healthier lives."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Blending detailed attention to the neurobiology of appetite and genetics with a sweeping view of human evolutionary biology, Stephan Guyenet provides an exceptionally complete understanding of why, despite the prevailing desire to be lean, so few of us are. The lessons of science, spanning decades, are presented clearly, interpreted fairly, and used as the basis for an eminently sensible set of responses. Illuminating, entertaining, and empowering, The Hungry Brain is highly recommended."
— David L. Katz, M.D., Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center and author of Disease-Proof
"The Hungry Brain explains how a modern diet turns us into leptin-resistant junk food seeking zombies. Everyone with an interest in metabolism will enjoy Stephan Guyenet’s engaging and sometimes witty walk through the fascinating world of neurobiology."
—Catherine Shanahan, M.D., author of Deep Nutrition
“Stephan J. Guyenet does a wonderful job explaining what triggers our food cravings and how we can best manage those impulses. The Hungry Brain is necessary reading for anyone interested in optimizing their health and fitness, and for those who consult people on those topics. I highly recommend this book, and commend Stephan Guyenet for this exceptional work.”
—Doug Brignole, Bodybuilding Champion / Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe; Co-author of
Million Dollar Muscle and author of The Physics of Fitness
“If you want to understand why we get fat and how to stay slender, go no further than Stephan Guyenet's The Hungry Brain. Untangling the vast knot of nutrition science using the clear lens of neuroscience, he explains where hunger comes from and why the Western world has been plagued with an epidemic of obesity in the last 40 years. Forget gluttony, forget behavior problems or weakness...we're facing eons of evolutionary pressure leading to unique pressures to overconsume. Guyenet reveals science-based methods to undo this modern trap of overeating and obesity.”
— Emily Deans, M.D., Harvard Medical School instructor of psychiatry and author of the Evolutionary Psychiatry blog