How can you lose weight by creating new food neural pathways to your brain and changing your habits?

Dr.Kessler blames the "Bliss point." for people not being able to lose weight.

Dr. Kessler's book "The End of Overeating. Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite" is on the shelves of book-stores now published by Rodale.

The BBC interviewed Dr. Kessler yesterday. He described the junk food neural pathway and stated that you can't replace the old pathways that control your eating habits. You have to build a new response mechanism for your brain's pleasure centre and the capacity to do so is now known.

Dr. Kessler also mentioned that he would still strangle a Mars Bar if put under sufficient pressure!

The interview exposed a witty interesting man with a great understanding of how the mind can be reached, if we approach the eating problem with the right understanding of how taste works and is manipulated.

He has lost weight steadily himself using the theory and importantly, he sounded happy and well adjusted in the interview he gave on BBC radio promoting the theory.

In the interview he explained that he had suffered from obesity even though he had access to FDA information on drugs and diet solutions, spending years looking for a solution to why he would binge eat his way back to weight problems.

delicious Duck.

Fatty and salt filled when cooked this way. If this were a wild duck it would have none of the fat you can see, and the taste would sadly be dry, lean and gamy. It is the fat and salt that give it that great taste.
Fatty and salt filled when cooked this way. If this were a wild duck it would have none of the fat you can see, and the taste would sadly be dry, lean and gamy. It is the fat and salt that give it that great taste.

Fatty food with heaps of sugar and salt.

Lot's of blissful tastes here, but can you change the desire for these foods? Dr.Kessler says you can.
Lot's of blissful tastes here, but can you change the desire for these foods? Dr.Kessler says you can.

He described how he discovered (scientifically) that he could change his neural pathways so that craving for the "bliss point" could be reduced and the desire for good food that helps with weight loss tastes increased.

The good doctor shows that the reason some people have so much trouble with weight loss is that their neural pathways have been hijacked!

The average person it seems is hooked on too much sugar salt and fat at a neural level because the food has been "engineered" to appeal so much that it is irresistable.

The neural pathways that connect to the "pleasure centre" of our brains becomes hard wired to these tastes apparently.

Dr. Kessler is scathing of the fast food, restaurants and processed food manufacturers targeting what he calls a "bliss point" of taste. They do this by using a combination of fat sugar and salt that makes the food taste spectacular to the consumer with no regard to the damage it does to the body.

deep fried Potato wedges.

Again delicious because of massive salt and fat content.
Again delicious because of massive salt and fat content.

Rich desserts.

Fat sugar and salt by the bucket load!
Fat sugar and salt by the bucket load!

Science to the rescue.

Food scientists have been able to figure out exactly the combination of sugar fat and salt that triggers this response from our brains.

Dr. Kessler has spent 7 years working on why he could not resist eating food which he knew was fattening and bad for his health.

It was his own weight, which fluctuated wildly, that provided a strong incentive to make his discovery.

Dr. Kessler's book is a New York Times best selling title but it is no diet book, it's a no nonsense approach to the causes of over eating fat salt and sugar saturated foods .

He offers explanations as to how you can use new knowledge of how your brain works to overcome obesity using a shift in perception, rather than plain willpower.

I like this approach, it makes more sense than endless diets. It removes the guilt by offering a plausible explanation for over eating that will be a huge relief to many.

I also believe his way of approaching the re education of our programmed responses to bad food is useful.

How many calories would this have???
How many calories would this have???
Doesn't real food look good?
Doesn't real food look good?
An all time favourite the humble potato
An all time favourite the humble potato

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Comments 32 comments

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Interesting! I know it's all supposed to be in the head, but in my case it always ends up in (and around) the stomach! :)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

I listened to that BBC interview a few days ago. Creating new neural pathways is another term for will power. I agree with what he is saying, but at the end of the day the only way of fighting sugar cravings and fighting off the urges to eat processed food is bloody will power. And apparently sugar addiction is THE worse to fight. I gave up smoking, now I'll quit processed sugar. Wish me luck Ernest.


lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Cool stuff earnest! Thanks for bringing this to light! Stumbled it for ya.


Gomet profile image

Gomet 6 years ago

Seems very interesting.

I knew it! They have hijacked my brain. Now i will never be able to loose weight.:)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for pointing out this interesting book.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Feline, I think it must start at the head then slide down! Funny! Thank you.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Wow Jewels! Giving up smoking is a big one. Congratulations, and good luck with the sugar!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you for the stumble Ixxy. I think Dr. Kessler has a good theory.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

I'd love to know more about this. It certainly sounds logical to me. I went on the Carbohydrate Addicts diet once, which involves giving up carbs all day, with the promise of being allowed to eat anything you like for one hour in the evening.

Not eating sweet things most of the time definitely rewired my sweet tooth - I can take or leave chocolate and cakes now, though I still can't resist jelly snakes.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Gomet, In the article I heard on the radio, he is offering a way to re-wire your neural response to bad food in his book.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Marisa, I really think you are on to something with your re-wiring. Dr. Kessler admits to still being tempted by some chocolate bars when under stress, but he has ripped off a lot of weight himself. :)


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you for your comment Hello, hello. You are right, it is an interesting book.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

This sounds a promising approach but is it just a fancy way of saying eating unhealthily is a habit.

One problem is that fried food IS much better tasting than boiled food. I suspect frying locks in flavour and boiling removes it.

Another problem is that sugar is everywhere, even in canned sweet corn (Note to canning companies: SWEET corn)


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Hello earnesthub. This is an addiction issue, and one I've been aware of for some time. The average person eats processed food with no thought of what he or she is putting into the body. You might also read "Anti cancer: a New Way of life," by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, Ph.D, and "Foods to Fight Cancer" by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D. and Denis Giingras, Ph.D. These books transformed my eating habits, and helped me overcome my addiction to processed junk food that causes inflammation, cancer, and a host of other negative disease consequences. I have written a number of hubs about healthy and unhealthy foods. Thanks for a positive informative hub. (: v


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Alex, I hope this approach is helpful and removes some of the useless guilt from those who have tried dieting and failed to lose weight. Habit is a way of looking at neural pathways, but it is a little more involved than just habit I believe. Dr. Kessler put 7 years in to this theory, and offers solutions as well.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Valerie, thanks for the comment! I am not surprised you know where Kessler is coming from. There is always good reading around food, and I must read your hubs on this matter of healthy food. I also experienced cancer, and almost lost my life. I did a hell of a lot of reading about cancer for a while!

The interview with David Kessler on the BBC was excellent, he sounded most credible!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

Wow what will they come up with next? I can lose weight by creating new Neural pathways you say? Well just between you and me I did not know I had old neural pathways!

Very useful Hub earnestshub :-)


Lecie 6 years ago

thanks so much for telling us about this information. i just recently gave up soda in my first attempt to slack off all the bad foods. however i find that when someone offers me one i can't fight the urge to drink it. even after telling my family never to offer me any, they still do once in a while. i'm fighting the desire to drink the soda just fine until it's right in front of me and afterwards i want to punch a wall and think to myself- how could i have lost?

your information here helps me feel a little better about the situation. thanks so much.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

Hi Earnest, I heard that most (if not all!) of the main fast food chains include sugar in virtually everything they manufacture. Sugar is hugely addictive, and salt and fat are not too far behind. I once went on a diet to eliminate Candida overgrowth, and I had to avoid sugar and yeast products. Even whilst eating chips nearly every day, the weight still fell off. Creating new neural pathways around sugar would be a very useful one to crack!


funride profile image

funride 6 years ago from Portugal

Of course this makes sense. The "spectacular taste" that the combination of fat and sugar offers us comes from centuries of evolution... when people didn´t have a fridge or fresh foods around, their bodies would ask them highly caloric foods in order to survive with less quantities. So our brains still "tell" us to choose the foods that give more energy - foods that have fat, sugar or both. The problem is this days we have large quantities of food available (at least where we find people with excessive weight) and people eat the most caloric ones constantly :(

The best way to stop feeling need for sugar and fat is to start eating the right foods (and combinations) at the right time and controling quantities depending on each one necessities. I wrote a hub explaining how to do it right :)

I´ll be looking forward to read this book.


Raven King profile image

Raven King 6 years ago from Cabin Fever

OOOOOOOOOOOh...this is a highly provocative hub!

Creating new neural pathways suggests that you learn new things like a new language or take on a new activity that challenges you. Huh...very interesting and this would suggest that watching boring tv shows lead to a heavy couch potato because of the lack of physical or mental stimulation. Earnesthub, this is a very interesting HUB!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

ag, it's a bit like a new driveway! Maybe we are meant to run up and down the neural pathway to get fit!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Lecie! The attachment to our food seems to be a wiring problem. Creating a new neural pathway unfortunately does not remove the old one. We still need to keep developing the new one.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Amanda, evidently when they mix fat, sugar and salt they hit the taste-bud tight between the eyes!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks funride, you make some good points. I hope the development of new neural pathways to the "pleasure centre" of our brains can change that.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Raven. evidently it is a good way to form new habits. What is interesting is that we can change real responses to food through our nervous system. It is a lot more than just changing habits it seems.


fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

Indeed in many people there is a sort of addiction on junk food. I think in the first time is very important to use our willpower, but if we have a healthy diet is always easier and tastier eat healthy food , until we will forget why we liked so much junk food ... We just must have the strength, courage and optimism and confidence in our abilities. This theory is interesting, I will read more of this! Thanks for sharing!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you fucsia. I am hoping this break through may help those of us who find willpower hard to come by.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

Roses are red

Sugar is white

I will not have

Any tonight


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Keith!

Roses are red

gas has no hue

I'm into humour

I see you are too!

Thanks for the levity mate!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

If those neural pathways are a Stairway to Taste Heaven, think anyone will want to try any other path? They might try actually and then come running back.:D


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Shalini, those existing neural pathways will still be there according to the good doctor, so you may be right.

The hope is that by creating an alternative neural pathway weight loss has a chance. Willpower doesn't seem to cut it.

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