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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.
While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times best seller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery - our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.
Dopamine is the "reward" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the "contentment" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don't need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin - because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated - with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last 40 years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.
With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.
©2017 Robert H. Lustig (P)2017 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts." (David Perlmutter, MD, author, number one New York Times best seller Grain Brain and Brain Maker)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Martin Haviar on 10-06-17


In both, depth of information and breadth of bigger picture.
Wish this was taught in schools and to parents too, maybe a documentary?

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew in Ohio on 10-07-17

6 stars

I'd like to give this book 6 stars. Not because of the writing or performance (which were both well done) but because of the quality and quantity of information presented.

I am one of the chronically unhappy people mentioned by the author. With the information presented, I have already taken steps (big and small) to make my life and health better. In only a couple weeks of drastically cutting sugar and internet usage (two of the several problematic issues mentioned), I have better moods overall. I sleep more, and my waistline has gotten smaller. Am I happier... not yet, BUT I am LOT LESS unhappy. So still a great step in the right direction.

The book can be a bit heady at some points, but just stick with it through the couple of confusing chapters and it'll help make the rest of the information make much more sense. Don't stop because of those chapters.

This book has been incredibly useful for me who has been chronically overstimulated by technology, food, caffeine, and other things. And the author isn't all like .... you watch too much TV, BAD!!! And he's also not like ..... oh it's OK ... you have had such a hard life, you deserve a reward. Nope... neither too hard nor too soft. He calls out the problem and has a good solution.

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19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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