The Hungry Brain By Stephen Guyenet Book Review


I’ve watched and read Dr. Guyenet on Youtube and his blog. I get the impression that he’s an exceptionally brilliant researcher. That being said I find his approach to the subject fairly myopically focused on the CICO model.

In a refreshingly uniformly negative world outlook he seems to acknowledge a strong genetic role in obesity; but seems to have reached the conclusion that we are all basically hopeless slaves to our outdated brains that deal poorly with positive stimulus. He offers some suggestions to outsmart the instincts in the back of the book but doesn’t seem overly enthusiastic about them working. I like that he doesn’t seem to overly judge the obese.

Most of the book is dedicated to presenting every which shred of evidence that it’s the tastiness and convenience of modern food that’s doing us in. If you need some convincing that primitive cuisines not only were lacking in tasty food preparations, but most of the time had to settle with food that was a bit disgusting then this is the book for you.

He does get sidetracked at times with some great insight into hormones related to obesity, especially leptin.

Overall, a bit of a dense read, but I think one of the top twenty or so books I’ve read on the subject of obesity. I think everyone who wants to be truly well informed on the subject should read it. I would just enter into the reading with the idea that’s this is the best effort to summarize a truly remarkable knowledge and inquiry into a subject that even the author can’t find a solution that makes him reasonably optimistic.

The book’s incredibly valuable I think for understanding that tastiness and ease of access to modern foodstuff’s an important part of the problem and to what extent our environment differs from historical norms.  

Indeed Dr. Guyenet has apparently changed research focus and to be honest from what I’ve read about him I would think has the personal view that the obesity problem, including the metabolic slowdown, lacks a real solution.