Why We Eat (Too Much) Book Summary - Why We Eat (Too Much) Book explained in key points
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Why We Eat (Too Much) summary

Andrew Jenkinson

The New Science of Appetite

4.1 (191 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

"Why We Eat (Too Much)" by Andrew Jenkinson is a thought-provoking book exploring the root causes of overeating and obesity. The author presents evidence-based insights into the complex relationship between biology, psychology, and the food industry, and offers practical tips for healthier eating habits.

Table of Contents

    Why We Eat (Too Much)
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    A chance meeting solved single-celled organisms’ energy problems.

    Our story starts around four billion years ago, when our planet was little more than a dark and stormy tropical sea under an oxygenless sky. 

    Simple, carbon-based chains of chemicals drifted aimlessly in this primordial soup. Then, by chance, they found a formula to replicate themselves.

    At first, these replicants simply integrated free-floating chemicals into their structures. Later, they split those structures into two chains – a primitive form of DNA – and began creating new carbon copies. 

    Over time, replicants became increasingly complex until, at last, Earth’s first life-form appeared on the evolutionary stage: the single-cell bacterium. 

    The key message here is: A chance meeting solved single-celled organisms’ energy problems. 

    Inside the protective wall of its cell is the bacterium’s DNA code – the formula that allows it to reproduce. Evolutionarily speaking, it has a single task: to grow and survive long enough to create a new generation of bacteria. To do that, though, it needs energy. 

    Early bacteria were highly efficient at converting food into a form of energy that could be used by the various components of their cells. Because they couldn’t process oxygen, however, there was a hard limit to how much energy they could generate. 

    That ultimately held back the advancement of more complex life-forms. Then, around three billion years ago, a new kind of bacterium that could process oxygen emerged. Existing bacteria were efficient; this bacterium, by contrast, was a powerhouse. It vacuumed up vast amounts of food and created energy on an industrial scale. 

    Older bacteria couldn’t compete. Luckily for them, they didn’t have to. Instead, they swallowed – but didn’t digest – these newcomers, who now lived inside them. Both parties benefitted. The first kind of bacterium offered the second kind protection from predators while profiting from its ability to generate lots of energy. In short, one cell moved into the other, and both thrived – an arrangement known as endosymbiosis.

    Fast forward to the present, and the ancestors of these energetic upstarts are still there, inside the cells of every plant, fish, fungus, and animal. All these organisms take their energy from these tiny power stations, which are called mitochondria. Without them, life on Earth as we know it wouldn’t be possible – on their own, our cells simply can’t produce enough energy to keep us alive. 

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    What is Why We Eat (Too Much) about?

    Why We Eat (Too Much) (2021) illuminates the new science of metabolism. An exploration of how our bodies process the calories we eat into the fuel that keeps our cells running, it demolishes old myths about the value of dieting. When we really understand appetite, it argues, we can finally begin eating healthfully rather than attempting to starve our bodies into submission. 

    Why We Eat (Too Much) Review

    Why We Eat (Too Much) by Andrew Jenkinson (2021) is an eye-opening exploration of our relationship with food and the reasons behind overeating. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Offering insightful analysis on the science and psychology of eating, it helps readers understand the complex factors that contribute to overeating.
    • Through compelling case studies and real-life examples, the book provides a deep understanding of the societal and cultural influences that shape our eating habits.
    • With its practical tips and strategies for developing a healthier relationship with food, it empowers readers to make positive changes in their lives.

    Who should read Why We Eat (Too Much)?

    • Frustrated dieters 
    • Science lovers 
    • Sugar addicts

    About the Author

    Andrew Jenkinson is a consultant surgeon with a special interest in advanced laparoscopic or “keyhole” surgery. He is based in London, where he practices his trade as a gastrointestinal surgeon at University College Hospital in Bloomsbury. 

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    Why We Eat (Too Much) FAQs 

    What is the main message of Why We Eat (Too Much)?

    The main message of Why We Eat (Too Much) is understanding the science behind our overeating habits.

    How long does it take to read Why We Eat (Too Much)?

    The reading time for Why We Eat (Too Much) varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Why We Eat (Too Much) a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Why We Eat (Too Much) offers valuable insights into the reasons behind our overeating tendencies. It's definitely worth a read for anyone looking to understand their relationship with food.

    Who is the author of Why We Eat (Too Much)?

    The author of Why We Eat (Too Much) is Andrew Jenkinson.

    What to read after Why We Eat (Too Much)?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Why We Eat (Too Much), here are some recommendations we suggest:
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