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The Hungry Brain

Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat

Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D.

Flatiron Books

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ISBN10: 1250081203
ISBN13: 9781250081209

Trade Paperback

304 Pages



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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.


Praise for The Hungry Brain

"For those interested in the complex science of overeating, it is essential.”—The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


In 1980, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture released a document titled Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Guidelines were intended to reduce the risk...

About the author

Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D.

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.

Adam Roe