web site hit counter The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains

Availability: Ready to download

"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."--David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker The New York Times-bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease. While researching the tox "Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."--David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker The New York Times-bestselling 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 bestseller 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 forty 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.


Compare

"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."--David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker The New York Times-bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease. While researching the tox "Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."--David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker The New York Times-bestselling 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 bestseller 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 forty 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.

30 review for The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    In response to a reader question, I want to clarify by expanding on my original lead sentence "this excellent review from Amazon by an MD gives a clear picture of what this book is about" I am not that MD and I did not write this review. Had the reviewer used his real name, it would be included here, as well. I could not top this brilliant review, so wanted to share it for the benefit of GR members. "I had the opportunity to review Dr. Lustig’s book and interview him before it was published. He In response to a reader question, I want to clarify by expanding on my original lead sentence "this excellent review from Amazon by an MD gives a clear picture of what this book is about" I am not that MD and I did not write this review. Had the reviewer used his real name, it would be included here, as well. I could not top this brilliant review, so wanted to share it for the benefit of GR members. "I had the opportunity to review Dr. Lustig’s book and interview him before it was published. He is perhaps best known for his brilliant research into sugar and obesity. His previous book, “Fat Chance:” [which i read] was a New York Times Best Seller. Lustig is an emeritus professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies. His motivation for “writing the book began 30 years ago, while still a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Rockefeller University." There, he learned about the interaction between dopamine and serotonin in the brain. At the time, only basic correlational data existed, but there appeared to be a very specific interaction going on between these two neurochemicals. The book discusses how many try to bolster their happiness through certain food choices [also drugs, alcohol and technology], but this actually does not work, and Lustig provides compelling arguments that the foods [and other items] you crave drive up dopamine and drive down serotonin. Rather, it’s experiences that make you happy. People can make you happy. You can make yourself happy. In his book, Lustig outlines a number of different strategies to become happier. Ultimately, the goal is [to increase] your serotonin,” he says. There are four ways to boost your serotonin, and they’re all free. They’re also things your grandmother likely told you to do. First and foremost is making human connections. Social media generate dopamine, associated with pleasure, and hence can drive addiction. The main problem is that when dopamine goes up, serotonin goes down. So, online communication is actually a major causative factor of unhappiness. Lustig also elaborates on how companies — both food manufacturers and electronics companies — capitalize on the biology of dopamine versus serotonin to get us addicted to their products. It’s important to realize that the dopamine (or reward-generating) pathway is the same no matter what your source of pleasure is. It can be a substance, such as nicotine, alcohol, heroin or junk food; or it can be behavior, such as internet surfing, shopping or pornography. The problem, in a nutshell, is that dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and in excess is neurotoxic. When dopamine is released, and the neuron on the other side accepts the signal, it can damage that neuron. Over time, excitatory neurotransmitters can cause cell death. To protect itself from damage, the postsynaptic neuron employs a self-protective mechanism — it downregulates its receptors. By having fewer receptors, the dopamine cannot do as much damage. So, each time you get a “hit” or rush of dopamine, the number of receptors decrease. As a result, you need increasingly larger doses or “hits” to get the same rush. Eventually, you end up with tolerance, a state where even a large dose produces no effect. Once the neurons start to actually die off, you’re a full-blown addict. Serotonin, on the other hand, is not an excitatory neurotransmitter. When it acts on the serotonin-1a receptor (the “contentment” receptor), no damage occurs. Hence, happiness does not lead to addictive behavior. Keep in mind that dopamine downregulates serotonin, so it’s basically impossible to achieve happiness (related to serotonin) through pleasure-seeking behavior (related to dopamine). One of the cheapest pleasures that stimulates dopamine is sugar. Many reach for sweet junk food when they feel down, thinking it’ll help them feel better, but neurochemical science reveals this simply cannot happen. Add the stress hormone cortisol to the mix, which downregulates the serotonin-1a receptor, and you have a recipe for both addiction and depression. That’s what we’re seeing throughout all of civilized society, not just in America, but around the world. There are three other ways, besides connecting, that boost serotonin and happiness. The remaining three of the four C’s are: 1. Contribute: Meaning the act of contributing to something greater than yourself; making a contribution to society. “You can get happiness and contentment from your job, but there are certain criteria that have to be met,” Lustig says. “Most people, unfortunately, have a boss who is not contributing to their happiness. The workplace is not usually the best place to achieve meaningful contentment.” 2. Cope: Lack of sleep, insufficient exercise and multitasking are all causes of unhappiness. Sleep is extremely important for healthy serotonin production. Here, avoiding exposure to electronic screens is important, as blue light inhibits melatonin production, thereby making sleep more elusive. Electronics will also disrupt your sleep and deteriorate your health by exposing you to unnecessary microwaves, discussed in this recent article on depression. 3. Cook: If you cook, you’re likely going to increase your tryptophan, reduce your refined sugar intake, and increase your omega-3 fats (anti-inflammatory) and fiber. Overall, this will result in improved gut health, which has tremendous impact on your mood and mental health. How do you boost systemic tryptophan? One of the keys is to eat real food, and to make sure you include high-tryptophan foods, the highest of which is egg whites. You also need omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is a component of every cell in your body. More than 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in brain tissue is DHA. The problem, of course, is that when we took the fat out of the food, we took ALL the fat out of the food. It’s been a real chore to get the medical cognoscenti to turn around on this. I do want to do a shout out to the American Heart Association, because they have now debunked their long-standing cholesterol-fat hypothesis. They now recognize that saturated fat was not the demon they made it out to be, and that there are seven classes of fats, and that you actually have to consume omega-3s. You have to consume monounsaturated fats. In fact, you do have to consume some saturated fat because it’s a major component of membranes. Processed fructose, mostly in the form of corn syrup, has become a major contributor to the $3 trillion health care budget in the United States, and there’s clear data linking sugar consumption to de novo lipogenesis — a disease process associated with fat accumulation in the liver, causing insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome and associated diseases. That includes Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. In the past, people had a much better understanding of happiness and pleasure. Lustig’s book describes how these terms have been purposely conflated and confused by businesses and governments because it helped sales. To turn the trends of addiction around, you have to understand the difference between the two. So, what’s the difference between pleasure and happiness? There are seven differences: Pleasure is visceral; happiness is ethereal. Pleasure is short-term; happiness is long-term. Pleasure is usually achieved alone; happiness is usually achieved in social groupings. Pleasure is taking; happiness is giving. Pleasure can be achieved with substances; happiness cannot be achieved with substances. The extremes of pleasure all lead to addiction, whereas there is no such thing as being addicted to happiness. Finally, pleasure is dopamine and happiness is serotonin."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Gillingham

    Key takeaways: Pleasure is linked to dopamine; serotonin is linked to happiness. Pleasure feels like a high. Happiness feels like contentment. Too much dopamine-stimulating activity will depress serotonin, thereby making you more unhappy. How to be happy: 1. Be altruistic. Be involved in benefitting others' lives. Have close, healthy relationships. 2. Get exercise. Sleep. Avoid sugar, in all of its forms. 3. Take fish oil. 4. Stay off screens and reduce your consumerism. Key takeaways: Pleasure is linked to dopamine; serotonin is linked to happiness. Pleasure feels like a high. Happiness feels like contentment. Too much dopamine-stimulating activity will depress serotonin, thereby making you more unhappy. How to be happy: 1. Be altruistic. Be involved in benefitting others' lives. Have close, healthy relationships. 2. Get exercise. Sleep. Avoid sugar, in all of its forms. 3. Take fish oil. 4. Stay off screens and reduce your consumerism.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    3 ½ stars You will be forgiven if you misunderstand the title. Had a friend not explained the content to me beforehand I would never have picked this up. The book is really a medical look at the difference between desire vs happiness, between dopamine vs serotonin. The bulk of the book spends its time showing the difference between these two hormones and how it can influence our behaviour. I found it absolutely fascinating. Most people picture addiction as a junkie that shoots up with a dirty needl 3 ½ stars You will be forgiven if you misunderstand the title. Had a friend not explained the content to me beforehand I would never have picked this up. The book is really a medical look at the difference between desire vs happiness, between dopamine vs serotonin. The bulk of the book spends its time showing the difference between these two hormones and how it can influence our behaviour. I found it absolutely fascinating. Most people picture addiction as a junkie that shoots up with a dirty needle. But addiction takes on many forms. Gambling, shopping, sex and even social media addiction is something that can sneak up on an unsuspecting victim. It also touched on the medical community reassessing previously banned substances such as LSD, now exploring the benefits of this drug to end stage cancer patients. Had this book stayed on the path of medical research/breakthroughs I would have given it 5 stars with no hesitation. But the latter part of the book dipped into politics, conspiracy theories and corporate America. I agree with the fact that the biggest boogieman SUGAR is something that corporate America has a role in perpetuating but some of the claims he makes are a little hard to swallow. The ending was reminiscent of self-help books and while the author has good advice I enjoyed the first half of the book more. I am undecided between 3 and 4 stars but I still think this is a book worth reading, whether it’s for knowledge on how our hormones can rule our behaviour, or to understand the influence of the food industry on individuals, it’s a well written (mostly) science based narrative.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    The Hacking of the American Mind has important information about how we are getting unhappier and sicker thanks to several factors that are addicting us to bad things and encouraging to value things that don’t make us happy. It also has advice that can help us change and control those addictions and do things more likely to make us happy. It reads like a self-help book and has some of the breathlessness of that genre, but the book is full of real science and valuable information. Robert Lustig is The Hacking of the American Mind has important information about how we are getting unhappier and sicker thanks to several factors that are addicting us to bad things and encouraging to value things that don’t make us happy. It also has advice that can help us change and control those addictions and do things more likely to make us happy. It reads like a self-help book and has some of the breathlessness of that genre, but the book is full of real science and valuable information. Robert Lustig is a physician alarmed by the rise of metabolic diseases and the increasing obesity among his pediatric patients. He wrote Fat Chance, another book focusing on sugar and obesity. He has the expertise and has done the research and explains the biochemical process clearly with simple metaphors. His main thesis is that we have conflated pleasure with happiness, but they are very different. Pleasure is transitory and is associated with dopamine while happiness is long-lasting and associated with serotonin. When we seek happiness by pursuing pleasure, we are seeking dopamine which leads to addiction, stress, anxiety, and illness. There are many bad actors. Sugar manufacturers who buy off scientists, an allegation supported by 5 of 6 sugar-paid studies clearing sugar of any implication in obesity while independent studies find the opposite in 10 of 12 studies. Pharmaceuticals claimed oral opioids were non-addictive and pressured legislators to require doctors question patients about pain in order to sell more pain meds, addicting millions in the process and creating a crisis that is swamping our society. Lustig sometimes goes too far, though, classifying as conspiratorial what is merely legal lobbying and organizing. There are people who are simply wrong, but their organizing and advocating their wrongness is not a conspiracy, it’s organizing and lobbying for wrong things. When the sugar industry lies, that’s a conspiracy. When it lobbies, that’s democracy. Yes, we need campaign finance reform and the power of corporations is overweening and dangerous. Citizens United is a destructive decision based on other bad decisions. However, it’s a mistake to assume that the people advocating wrong policy are knowing bad actors. They can be sincerely wrong. Lustig gets into his own bad faith when he writes about social security, ObamaCare, and malpractice insurance. He’s a doctor and that obviously influences his perception. He talks about malpractice as though $69 million dollar malpractice awards are common. The average award is $500,000. Only a small percentage who suffer from a medical mistake ever sue and most suits fail, only 20% succeed and even when they get huge awards, judges almost always reduce the award to something more “reasonable.’ I tried to find the $69 million dollar award and found that in the entire state of Washington over the course of a year, the awards totaled $69 million. And of course, the awards are always appealed and almost always reduced by the judges to significantly smaller amounts. Take the infamous $3 million dollar McDonald’s coffee lawsuit. She only sued for $200k, but the jury awarded an additional big punitive award which immediately reduced to $480k and even that was appealed, so she settled for something less, perhaps the average $500K. The point is, Lustig said malpractice suits were being awarded $69 million “a pop” – so egregiously false that I lost trust in his authority and honesty. This book has much useful information and his advice for freeing ourselves from addiction is useful and good. When Lustig writes outside his field, he’s unreliable, though. He actually insinuates that government did little to curb smoking because it killed people before they could draw on Social Security. That kind of conspiratorial mindset is too much for me. There is a difference between being wrong and being evil and Lustig seems to think people cannot be honestly wrong. He has the self-help writer’s style of writing, breathless and dramatic. It’s not a style that appeals to me. He sees a way out and, of course, it comes in the self-help industry form of mnemonic: The Four C’s, connect, contribute, cope, and cook. Yes! These are good things. However, as someone who thinks the self-help industry is full of dangerous hucksters and grifters, I would prefer someone writing about how we are misled and manipulated to leave the forms of the self-help genre in the dustbin where they belong. I received a copy of The Hacking of the American Mind from the publisher through a drawing at Shelf Awareness. The Hacking of the American Mind at Penguin Random House Robert Lustig faculty page https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Pleasure is not the same as happiness. Don’t eat sugar. The end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells

    Excellent information but its rough going with this one. I found myself reading a paragraph over and over to get the meaning. (its probably me)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    I first came across Dr. Robert Lustig when he gave a video presentation called 'The White Poison" at UCSF a few years back. It was at times a little over the top of my head since I'm not in the medical profession, but it was enough to make me realize just how BAD sugar is. Naturally, 'white poison' is the term he used to describe sugar. I have always had a love-hate relationship with sugar, but finally, after much discipline, and trying to form new habits day in and day out, I have been able to I first came across Dr. Robert Lustig when he gave a video presentation called 'The White Poison" at UCSF a few years back. It was at times a little over the top of my head since I'm not in the medical profession, but it was enough to make me realize just how BAD sugar is. Naturally, 'white poison' is the term he used to describe sugar. I have always had a love-hate relationship with sugar, but finally, after much discipline, and trying to form new habits day in and day out, I have been able to drastically cut down my consumption of sugar in the last few years. But I still bothered to read the book because it goes into the biology of our brains and how our brains get hooked by things that are not so good for us and lead to behavioral changes, some more dangerous than others. The science of brain chemistry has come a long way and has allowed doctors like Dr. Lustig to really examine how dopamine and serotonin levels, whether too much or too little of them, affect our whole lives, and how their levels are affected by addictive substances. Sugar is one of them. Yes, yes, we've heard the argument (sugar is bad for you) time and time again, but this argument cannot be pounded home enough. And, no, the book is not just about sugar. It is also about technology (social media, smartphone, who is not hijacked by these things nowadays?), drugs (prescription ones and those obtained illegally, e.g. opioids), alcohol, tobacco, and alternative forms of anxiety-relief (think Marijuana which has been legalized in several states), and the subliminal messages that we are already subject to on a daily basis that make us believe we need to buy this or that, feed ourselves this and that, or take a drug to feel or look better, younger, and happier, or whatever goal we are in pursuit of. Having lived in parts of Europe and Asia and seeing how people eat and drink there, I still hold the view that many other parts of the world hold a healthier view towards food. But enter the American diet and its practices to the rest of the industrialized world, and we've got more health problems in those societies where people have severed their relationship with their country's own way of eating (think McDonald's in France which has led to the rise of obesity there). Heck, I almost think the title of the book should be changed to: "The Hacking of the Industrialized World Mind". The four C's he mentions towards the end of the book are also good advice but also common sense (but again, a little reminding never hurts): cook (cook more of your own meals), community (connect with others), cope (practice stress relief like meditation, do yoga, or whatever allows you to deal with your own stress better) and contribute (charitable giving of your money and/or time). Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and technology cost a lot more than sugar, however. Sugar is cheap. Sugar is legal. Sugar is addictive. Sugar is everywhere. Dr. Lustig is part of an organization that is trying to get the government to officially strip sugar of its Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status. Apparently, he has been on this quest (or I should say, uphill battle) for many years already. To me, he is like the Angel who is trying to beat down the Devil of Sugar. I don't think anything or anyone will stop him. He will continue to fight the battle as long as he's around because he is so passionate about educating the American public (and as I alluded to earlier, the rest of the world should start paying attention also). On an anecdote, there are several brand new stores going up in my local shopping centers that just sell, well...candies, cookies, lollipops, you know, anything that has sugar in it. In fact, I think one of the stores might even be called something as silly as 'Sugarland' or the equivalent. The next time you frequent your local mall and see a brand new store going up that SELLS NOTHING BUT SUGAR, think of Dr. Lustig (and also read this book, please), and all that he's trying to do to turn the tide on this madness. I know I do.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Kiefer

    Disclaimer: My copy of The Hacking of the American Mind is an "uncorrected advance proof" expected to be a little short of the book's final published form. This is evident in that every chapter contains at least a few instances of grammatical confusion in desperate need of an editor which I'm presuming will be mostly cleaned up by the book's final publication (so I mostly ignore them here). That said... Lustig takes the reader on an informative but relatively informal tour of building-block conce Disclaimer: My copy of The Hacking of the American Mind is an "uncorrected advance proof" expected to be a little short of the book's final published form. This is evident in that every chapter contains at least a few instances of grammatical confusion in desperate need of an editor which I'm presuming will be mostly cleaned up by the book's final publication (so I mostly ignore them here). That said... Lustig takes the reader on an informative but relatively informal tour of building-block concepts that, together, effectively illustrate the insidious reality behind the arguably tin-foil-hat sound of the book's title. His tone throughout is casually conversational (not overly technical) in explaining and illustrating the difference between short-term pleasure/reward and longer-term happiness/contentment, the two distinct neurotransmitter-mechanisms (dopamine and seratonin) that drive human brains' experience of each, various ways in which these mechanisms can be altered to the point of driving addictive or depressive behaviors, and various growing factors in our modern daily lives that do just that. The casual conversational tone throughout make for much smoother reading and digestion than many other drier or more academic books, kept even more light (and even entertaining) by his frequent sprinkling of small comic flippancies and pop references, even though not all of these latter did successfully relate to the current point. I.e., very readable. That's not to say that he didn't include lots of citations of articles and scientific studies to back up his statements; he did, but he included most of them in the form of bibliographic notes tucked in the end of the book rather than bogging down the immediate reading. Good choice, IMO. The one confusion I had that stuck out pretty strongly was throughout chapter three, discussing the basics of the "reward pathway" mechanism. He clearly explains the difference between the experiences of motivation/desire (dopamine) and consummation/pleasure (EOPs). Then, through the rest of the chapter, he consistently refers to the set as "reward"—a word which, to me, means roughly the same as "consummation" or "pleasure", the latter part of the sequence—without clear indication that by "reward", he means "the full reward pathway" which includes the initial motivation/desire portion. When I finally (belated) realized this, the whole chapter suddenly made a *lot* more sense, but for awhile there... Then again, maybe that was just me. (And maybe the final publication will clarify it better.) The whole journey pays off in the end as he successfully connects our neurotransmitter mechanisms to modern-day stimuli (hyperconnectivity, food, etc.) to today's growing commonality of human metabolic disorders (heart disease, diabetes, etc.). He caps it off with a handful of fundamental suggestions for heading off this path and rediscovering happiness. Those suggestions are relatively simple but potentially paradigm-shifting for many of us living in the modern world, but their consideration, and the lessons leading up to their suggestion, are very much worth the read. BTW, for anyone at all interested, I'd suggest Joel Salatin's "Folks, This Ain't Normal" as a complementing counterpoint. Salatin, coming from the different direction of the increasing historical abnormality of the modern world's production and consumption of food, overlaps many of the same realizations as Lustig, and the two books serve to illustrate different facets of the same overall problem plaguing human health and happiness today.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emre Sevinç

    What a weird title for a book whose first half is an excellent exposition of very important and critical biochemical pathways in the brains of all human beings, including people of USA. Dr. Lustig explains the mesolimbic pathway (reward pathway) and serotonin pathways, as well as how one of the major hormones related to stress, cortisol, interacts with dopamine and serotonin. In layman's terms, he manages to clearly explain the fundamental biochemical differences between short-term pleasure that What a weird title for a book whose first half is an excellent exposition of very important and critical biochemical pathways in the brains of all human beings, including people of USA. Dr. Lustig explains the mesolimbic pathway (reward pathway) and serotonin pathways, as well as how one of the major hormones related to stress, cortisol, interacts with dopamine and serotonin. In layman's terms, he manages to clearly explain the fundamental biochemical differences between short-term pleasure that's addictive and driven by constant reward-seeking behaviors, and the long-term contentment that is one of the pillars of a healthy and happy life. Moreover, he also shows striking examples of how major economical forces create an illusion of freedom of choice even though, by design, most of what you can choose in terms of food, drink and behavior is almost dictated by the majority of options being addictive, targeted to induce constant reward-seeking behavior, because that's where the profits lie. I'm not in USA, and I'm just an ordinary observer of the American mind, but looking at things from Europe in general, and having personally witnessed addictive eating behaviors, and how they are affected by what I eat, and how they interact with my stress levels, as well as my sleep patterns, I can do nothing but congratulate Lustig's message. I give 5 starts for the first half of the book. As for the remaining half, nothing's wrong in general but I found a bit repetitive and some parts hand-wavy and watered down. If you care for your health and as well as the health of your beloved ones, if you think you're surrounded with super easy and cheap access to junk food and countless options of having "fun", this book will make you understand the structures you're operating in by connecting the most fundamental parts of your brain to your behavior. But it's not a self-help book, so don't expect some magic solution. If it pushes you to be a little more critical towards your environment and how economic forces shape your eating habits, and how stress and sleep interact with these, affecting your health, then I think we can consider this book a success. One thing for sure, the way things are, you'll have to very consciously struggle for yourself and your beloved ones because sometimes simple changes are the most difficult ones to manage when major forces and your environment are designed to work against your health.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    I'm giving this five stars for being thought provoking and three stars for the writing and editing. I think the book would have benefited from an editor. There seemed to be a lot of repetition and although the style was accessible, occasionally it seemed a bit TOO informal. Now on to the content. I haven't read Lustig's seminal book on sugar, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, but I've heard him interviewed. About a quarter of this book concerns die I'm giving this five stars for being thought provoking and three stars for the writing and editing. I think the book would have benefited from an editor. There seemed to be a lot of repetition and although the style was accessible, occasionally it seemed a bit TOO informal. Now on to the content. I haven't read Lustig's seminal book on sugar, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, but I've heard him interviewed. About a quarter of this book concerns diet, also, with a big emphasis on sugar, so if you haven't read the other book it seems you'll get a good dose--no pun intended--of his argument here. But he also covers other addictive substances and behaviors. Most impressive (or frightening or out-there, depending on your point of view) is how he ties together the behind-the-scenes activities of government, corporations, and lobbyists to illustrate how we became a nation (and a world) of depressed, obese people suffering from a host of metabolic diseases. The book makes an important distinction between pleasure and happiness, both at a neurological and experiential level. I found this helpful. The scholarship is strong; the last 30 percent of the book is references. And I also liked the fact that despite letting us know that the problem is more than an individual one, he did offer some things we can undertake as individuals to combat the seemingly inexorable tide of empty food and entertainment looking to hijack our brains and prevent us from finding contentment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Faith Justice

    Finished my neuro-science ARC The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. Much of the science, I'd heard about before, but Robert H. Lustig presents it in readable everyday language. Highly recommend this for folks who are addicted to "the other white powder" (a.k.a. sugar), caffeine, alcohol, or junk food. Lustig not only paints a clear picture of why your addicted, but what you can do about it. Finished my neuro-science ARC The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. Much of the science, I'd heard about before, but Robert H. Lustig presents it in readable everyday language. Highly recommend this for folks who are addicted to "the other white powder" (a.k.a. sugar), caffeine, alcohol, or junk food. Lustig not only paints a clear picture of why your addicted, but what you can do about it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Fitzgerald

    I'm going to do what another reviewer did and copy a review that was on Amazon which surgically breaks down the content of this book. You'll understand once you read it why I copied and pasted. This is one of the deepest books I've ever read. It is dense. It is not an easy read. You have to take your time with it. Crazily enough, it's still entertaining. Despite what a mental giant Robert H. Lustig is, he's still able to relate with normal people. Once you're done reading however you will be a d I'm going to do what another reviewer did and copy a review that was on Amazon which surgically breaks down the content of this book. You'll understand once you read it why I copied and pasted. This is one of the deepest books I've ever read. It is dense. It is not an easy read. You have to take your time with it. Crazily enough, it's still entertaining. Despite what a mental giant Robert H. Lustig is, he's still able to relate with normal people. Once you're done reading however you will be a different person. The man is intellectually honest. He tells you what studies are not completely proven. He constantly brings up correlation does not necessarily imply causation. He fact checks himself frequently. He admits what science does and doesn't know. He's thorough. He cares. It makes you trust him. Which is great, because what he does tell you with near certainty is so important. You'll understand exactly why you make yourself miserable with social media, processed food, and so many other vices once you're through with this book. You'll understand it so intimately you will find it difficult to ever engage in certain behaviors again. For months I've had Robert H. Lustig's voice in my head, where he's telling me exactly what I'm doing to my body with my choices. More importantly, he tells you how to feel better without medication. His advice works. It should be taught in all schools. Family planning clinics should have free courses on this information. To learn more, read this excellent review: "I had the opportunity to review Dr. Lustig’s book and interview him before it was published. He is perhaps best known for his brilliant research into sugar and obesity. His previous book, “Fat Chance:” [which i read] was a New York Times Best Seller. Lustig is an emeritus professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies. His motivation for “writing the book began 30 years ago, while still a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Rockefeller University." There, he learned about the interaction between dopamine and serotonin in the brain. At the time, only basic correlational data existed, but there appeared to be a very specific interaction going on between these two neurochemicals. The book discusses how many try to bolster their happiness through certain food choices [also drugs, alcohol and technology], but this actually does not work, and Lustig provides compelling arguments that the foods [and other items] you crave drive up dopamine and drive down serotonin. Rather, it’s experiences that make you happy. People can make you happy. You can make yourself happy. In his book, Lustig outlines a number of different strategies to become happier. Ultimately, the goal is [to increase] your serotonin,” he says. There are four ways to boost your serotonin, and they’re all free. They’re also things your grandmother likely told you to do. First and foremost is making human connections. Social media generate dopamine, associated with pleasure, and hence can drive addiction. The main problem is that when dopamine goes up, serotonin goes down. So, online communication is actually a major causative factor of unhappiness. Lustig also elaborates on how companies — both food manufacturers and electronics companies — capitalize on the biology of dopamine versus serotonin to get us addicted to their products. It’s important to realize that the dopamine (or reward-generating) pathway is the same no matter what your source of pleasure is. It can be a substance, such as nicotine, alcohol, heroin or junk food; or it can be behavior, such as internet surfing, shopping or pornography. The problem, in a nutshell, is that dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and in excess is neurotoxic. When dopamine is released, and the neuron on the other side accepts the signal, it can damage that neuron. Over time, excitatory neurotransmitters can cause cell death. To protect itself from damage, the postsynaptic neuron employs a self-protective mechanism — it downregulates its receptors. By having fewer receptors, the dopamine cannot do as much damage. So, each time you get a “hit” or rush of dopamine, the number of receptors decrease. As a result, you need increasingly larger doses or “hits” to get the same rush. Eventually, you end up with tolerance, a state where even a large dose produces no effect. Once the neurons start to actually die off, you’re a full-blown addict. Serotonin, on the other hand, is not an excitatory neurotransmitter. When it acts on the serotonin-1a receptor (the “contentment” receptor), no damage occurs. Hence, happiness does not lead to addictive behavior. Keep in mind that dopamine downregulates serotonin, so it’s basically impossible to achieve happiness (related to serotonin) through pleasure-seeking behavior (related to dopamine). One of the cheapest pleasures that stimulates dopamine is sugar. Many reach for sweet junk food when they feel down, thinking it’ll help them feel better, but neurochemical science reveals this simply cannot happen. Add the stress hormone cortisol to the mix, which downregulates the serotonin-1a receptor, and you have a recipe for both addiction and depression. That’s what we’re seeing throughout all of civilized society, not just in America, but around the world. There are three other ways, besides connecting, that boost serotonin and happiness. The remaining three of the four C’s are: 1. Contribute: Meaning the act of contributing to something greater than yourself; making a contribution to society. “You can get happiness and contentment from your job, but there are certain criteria that have to be met,” Lustig says. “Most people, unfortunately, have a boss who is not contributing to their happiness. The workplace is not usually the best place to achieve meaningful contentment.” 2. Cope: Lack of sleep, insufficient exercise and multitasking are all causes of unhappiness. Sleep is extremely important for healthy serotonin production. Here, avoiding exposure to electronic screens is important, as blue light inhibits melatonin production, thereby making sleep more elusive. Electronics will also disrupt your sleep and deteriorate your health by exposing you to unnecessary microwaves, discussed in this recent article on depression. 3. Cook: If you cook, you’re likely going to increase your tryptophan, reduce your refined sugar intake, and increase your omega-3 fats (anti-inflammatory) and fiber. Overall, this will result in improved gut health, which has tremendous impact on your mood and mental health. How do you boost systemic tryptophan? One of the keys is to eat real food, and to make sure you include high-tryptophan foods, the highest of which is egg whites. You also need omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is a component of every cell in your body. More than 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in brain tissue is DHA. The problem, of course, is that when we took the fat out of the food, we took ALL the fat out of the food. It’s been a real chore to get the medical cognoscenti to turn around on this. I do want to do a shout out to the American Heart Association, because they have now debunked their long-standing cholesterol-fat hypothesis. They now recognize that saturated fat was not the demon they made it out to be, and that there are seven classes of fats, and that you actually have to consume omega-3s. You have to consume monounsaturated fats. In fact, you do have to consume some saturated fat because it’s a major component of membranes. Processed fructose, mostly in the form of corn syrup, has become a major contributor to the $3 trillion health care budget in the United States, and there’s clear data linking sugar consumption to de novo lipogenesis — a disease process associated with fat accumulation in the liver, causing insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome and associated diseases. That includes Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. In the past, people had a much better understanding of happiness and pleasure. Lustig’s book describes how these terms have been purposely conflated and confused by businesses and governments because it helped sales. To turn the trends of addiction around, you have to understand the difference between the two. So, what’s the difference between pleasure and happiness? There are seven differences: Pleasure is visceral; happiness is ethereal. Pleasure is short-term; happiness is long-term. Pleasure is usually achieved alone; happiness is usually achieved in social groupings. Pleasure is taking; happiness is giving. Pleasure can be achieved with substances; happiness cannot be achieved with substances. The extremes of pleasure all lead to addiction, whereas there is no such thing as being addicted to happiness. Finally, pleasure is dopamine and happiness is serotonin."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    _The Hacking of the American Mind_ is a provocative title, but it is accurate. There isn't a single external culprit, but a number that target a specific brain pathway. Dr. Lustig makes the point that it is a fight between dopamine and serotonin. In our instant gratification world the overdoses on sugar, dopamine wins. We, as a society, are lesser for it. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Lustig. A doctor of mine in the Bay Area knew him professionally, which was really cool. He helps kids and parents figur _The Hacking of the American Mind_ is a provocative title, but it is accurate. There isn't a single external culprit, but a number that target a specific brain pathway. Dr. Lustig makes the point that it is a fight between dopamine and serotonin. In our instant gratification world the overdoses on sugar, dopamine wins. We, as a society, are lesser for it. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Lustig. A doctor of mine in the Bay Area knew him professionally, which was really cool. He helps kids and parents figure out what is wrong with their health and how to fix it. In _Fat Chance_ there is a telling point made of the hopelessness of fixing the system (ie government messaging and public education). When he talked to Michelle Obama's nutritional expert about getting the government to come around to improving health, he was told that will never happen. The sugar, soda and junk food lobby has a lock on Congress. Anything that says less sugar and more veggies won't get the campaign dollars. It is up to each American to figure it all out on their own. That frustration is felt throughout this book. Sugar is ruining us. It screws up our brains and our organs. It is toxic to our nervous system. Only once you accept that it is an addiction will you start your path to feeling better. I did and can tell you how it sucked through withdrawal, but I came out a much better person on the other side. Here Dr. Lustig guides the reader through the reward pathways in the brain and how specific neurotransmitters affect our behavior. Essentially we are just the culmination of chemical reactions. He is a neuro researcher, an expert on metabolic diseases and has a law degree to help with policy. By walking you through how the brain uses dopamine and serotonin, he shows that by taking the long view you will be healthier. Think of dopamine as the dark side and serotonin as the good side of the Force. Dopamine is quicker, more seductive. But will lead you to ruin. Some of what is in this book I already knew from others I've read. This is a great read for those that need a holistic point of view to improving your health. I did learn that high amounts of Omega-3's will help repair some of the damage to receptors in the brain for dopamine and serotonin. Lots of sugar, just like any addictive drug, will damage the receptor sites, eventually killing them. This results in less sites for dopamine to tag, which means that to get the same reward feeling you need more. Omega-3 will help keep alive the sites that are still active, helping your brain heal. The hacking part in the title has to do with the targeting of the dopamine pathway by various companies. It could be Facebook or Coke. They hit the same reward pathway, just from different directions. Device addiction is just as real as sugar or caffeine addiction. Games & social sites all work to keep you looking for just one more hit. Until we, as a society, face up to the fact our creations are slowly killing us and do something, only a select few will be healthy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Dr. Robert Lustig has been warning us about added sugar in our diet and the fact that sugar is the culprit of the obesity epidemic and metabolic syndromes in the US and the rest of the world. I first learned of Dr. Lustig when I came across his lecture he gave at UCSF a few years ago titled "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" (video) in which he used science to describe all the problems with sugar. In this book, Dr. Lustig went further and explained the substance, food and behavioral addiction through sci Dr. Robert Lustig has been warning us about added sugar in our diet and the fact that sugar is the culprit of the obesity epidemic and metabolic syndromes in the US and the rest of the world. I first learned of Dr. Lustig when I came across his lecture he gave at UCSF a few years ago titled "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" (video) in which he used science to describe all the problems with sugar. In this book, Dr. Lustig went further and explained the substance, food and behavioral addiction through science (in other words: how our brains are "hacked") and the ways we can defend ourselves. In a nutshell, it all comes down to the biochemistry in our brain and the different reward, contentment and stress-fear-memory pathways involving the two neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, and the hormone cortisol. Before reading this book, I have already learned about the danger of addictive substance (think opioids, heroine), food (chocolate cake or anything with sugar) and behaviors (Facebook likes, WeChat moments, Instagram feeds). (I recommend reading a recent book Irresistible by Adam Alter if you are interested in this subject). However, this book goes into details the science behind such addictions, for example, how all these reward pathways relating to dopamine works and how the neuro receptors adjust the sensitivity leading to tolerance and which results in the body wanting more. We also learn about the difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is about reward while happiness is about containment. Towards the end of the book, Dr. Lustig provides ways for us to get out of this and he calls this the 4 C's: Connect, Contribute, Cope and Cook. These are simple guidance but extremely useful. In this world of constant stimulation and instant rewards, this book is useful in educating us to and helping understand how our bodies are responding to them and how we can be smarter to avoid these hacking. A part of the book talks about how corporations, while trying to increase their profits, are taking advantage of these biochemical reactions in our bodies and inevitably hurting the society. This is a much deeper subject and Dr. Lustig is not offering any solution but to let the readers be aware of that. For example, I learned how, in the US, through Supreme Court and Congress, we are slowly giving the power to corporations to serve the corporate interest over the well-being of the people.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luther

    I decided to read this book after hearing an interview with the author. He was very articulate, passionate, and knowledgeable about the subject of the book. . . . And there is some good material in this book. Lustig argues that the American food industry and government organizations have colluded in bringing about the current health crisis in the U.S. (and internationally as the Standard American Diet (SAD) has spread globally). Following up on earlier work, he names sugar as the main culprit lea I decided to read this book after hearing an interview with the author. He was very articulate, passionate, and knowledgeable about the subject of the book. . . . And there is some good material in this book. Lustig argues that the American food industry and government organizations have colluded in bringing about the current health crisis in the U.S. (and internationally as the Standard American Diet (SAD) has spread globally). Following up on earlier work, he names sugar as the main culprit leading to Metabolic Syndrome ("diseases characterized by energy overload of cells" -- e.g., heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (295)). A main division he attempts to make in the book is that between "happiness" and "pleasure," which he correlates to the difference between, respectively, seratonin and dopamine in the body. An over-emphasis on one (more commonly dopamine in the U.S.) will likely lead to a lack in the other, which, when coupled with an increase in cortisol (from stress) can result in depression or addiction. His solution is summed up with four C-words, each taking one of the last four chapters of the book -- Connect, Contribute, Cope, and Cook. These have expected meanings ("Cope" might need a little explanation -- essentially, exercise, meditate, and get enough sleep; and "Cook" is a sort of umbrella for the others -- take time to prepare and consume real food for and with other people regularly). What keeps this book from being one that can be recommended without reservation may be qualities that still allow it to be a good self-help book (not a favorite genre of mine). It's repetitive, simplistic, scattered, and too focused on being "cute." I don't know whether to blame the writing or editing, but there are so many places where sentences don't have any apparent connection to their surroundings that a reader who wants to make it through has to resort to surface skimming. If you don't mind having to reach in and pull out anything of substance that you can glean (turning an occasional blind eye to questionable "research" claims (among sound ones)), this book could provide some food for thought, and maybe application.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Dr. Lustig connects the dots from our current maladies in America (addiction, obesity, depression) to the powerful politics of big corporations, and the case he makes is air tight. Sure you already know you shouldn't eat too much sugar -- and you also know that the food industry uses added sugar for taste and shelf life. But the extent of their "pushing" is truly breathtaking and difficult to deny once you understand it. Avoiding sweets is not enough. Read the labels of all processed foods and y Dr. Lustig connects the dots from our current maladies in America (addiction, obesity, depression) to the powerful politics of big corporations, and the case he makes is air tight. Sure you already know you shouldn't eat too much sugar -- and you also know that the food industry uses added sugar for taste and shelf life. But the extent of their "pushing" is truly breathtaking and difficult to deny once you understand it. Avoiding sweets is not enough. Read the labels of all processed foods and you will find sugar listed under one of its many aliases. (Don't believe me? Try to find sugar-free spaghetti sauce). What about addictions to technology? Dr. Lustig explains how addictions as diverse as Facebook and sugar are driven by the same reward--dopamine hits to the brain. So if you're on a low sugar diet, you aren't out of the addiction woods, because dopamine rewards from technology can be just as compelling and brain-frying as sugar or alcohol or cocaine. And just when you are overwhelmed with the enormity of the connection between our American lifestyle and our constant search for the next hit of dopamine, comes the chapter that explains how a Corporate-friendly Supreme Court and government has been even more complicit with Corporations, and for much longer than any of us realized. The Citizens United decision and corn subsidies (read, high fructose corn syrup) are only the tip of the iceberg. (The decision to allow drug advertising on television is one that stands out as particularly egregious.) Thank heaven the last section of the book is dedicated to some strategies to help the reader cope with our environment, and for that I am grateful. But this book has opened my eyes to the ways our modern American consumerism push addiction through sugar, shopping, stress and the politics of money. It didn't get this way overnight, and it will not change overnight, but information is power.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brahm

    Picked this up as it was #1 on Neil Pasricha's September reading list. One of Neil's takeaways was to put your phone in black & white mode to reduce its influence and engagement, so I hoped the book would be packed with similar ideas. I got about 60 pages in and couldn't handle Lustig's writing style. I felt that a lot of concepts were dumbed down into a single sentence with a bad simile or metaphor. Lustig deployed far too many pop culture references throughout the book which seems at odds with Picked this up as it was #1 on Neil Pasricha's September reading list. One of Neil's takeaways was to put your phone in black & white mode to reduce its influence and engagement, so I hoped the book would be packed with similar ideas. I got about 60 pages in and couldn't handle Lustig's writing style. I felt that a lot of concepts were dumbed down into a single sentence with a bad simile or metaphor. Lustig deployed far too many pop culture references throughout the book which seems at odds with his title. "It's not you, it's me" - I was not engaged. This is a pop science book, and I can't slog through it. The thesis is interesting; exploring the difference between rewards & contentment. There is certainly good information in this book, and good conclusions. But it's not for me!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Good core ideas (spoiler alert: to save ourselves, we need to spend more quality time building relationships in person; take care of our bodies and minds through sleep, exercise and meditation; contribute to a greater cause; and eat less processed food, especially sugar). Useful distinction of the dopamine (quick reward, addiction, habituation) and serotonin (long-term contentment/meaningful happiness) systems and how most patterns of stress and consumer culture in our lives hijack the former an Good core ideas (spoiler alert: to save ourselves, we need to spend more quality time building relationships in person; take care of our bodies and minds through sleep, exercise and meditation; contribute to a greater cause; and eat less processed food, especially sugar). Useful distinction of the dopamine (quick reward, addiction, habituation) and serotonin (long-term contentment/meaningful happiness) systems and how most patterns of stress and consumer culture in our lives hijack the former and challenge/deplete the latter. The writing style is unbearable because of constant inane jokes/references so I skimmed it. Really wish it were a well-written long-form article instead of a book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Well written and very informational. The author presents the material in an entertaining and lively manner. His use of humor helps to keep things on a good level also. This book is a must read for those interested in taking care of their health. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amona

    The author uses biochemistry to educate the reader about the toxic environment we are in which is entirely interesting up until a point but how many times can you emphasize how addictive sugar is in relation to cortisol levels and dopamine? Too many times and I have to start looking for more carrots to keep me finding fascinating or life changing details to help finish the book. In American society it is probably essential to understand the difference between pleasure and contentment because mark The author uses biochemistry to educate the reader about the toxic environment we are in which is entirely interesting up until a point but how many times can you emphasize how addictive sugar is in relation to cortisol levels and dopamine? Too many times and I have to start looking for more carrots to keep me finding fascinating or life changing details to help finish the book. In American society it is probably essential to understand the difference between pleasure and contentment because marketing is now plowing full speed ahead to ensure our pleasure sensors are triggered to purchase more things which has definitely lead to a more unhappiness for sure. As we accumulate more stuff we are loosing the valuable social connections that help us live longer. The author made some very good points in relating chronic stress with memory loss and poor help with unhappiness but it almost becomes unsettling to know that so many exist all around us. Some of the preventative measures that he suggest are volunteering and philanthropy, which I can attest to definitely enhances a sense of worth. "America is home to the corporate consumption complex, we're all consumers now, technology, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, processed food are killers of contentment and drivers of desire, dependence and depression." Big take aways from this book an the author encourages us to connect, contribute, cope and cook for ourselves to optimize our garden of happiness. I'm with it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jay Rain

    Rating - 9.1 Comments Don't have the mindset to appreciate all of the science & brain chemistry however a great job of connecting the dots between happiness & pleasure & the primary contributors to the decline of contentment Happiness is People, Happiness is Experiences & Happiness is You is a fantastic mantra & should be posterized; Also respect the amount of research/corporate examples used to support the main points Notes Don't have the mindset to appreciate all of the science & brain chemistry ho Rating - 9.1 Comments Don't have the mindset to appreciate all of the science & brain chemistry however a great job of connecting the dots between happiness & pleasure & the primary contributors to the decline of contentment Happiness is People, Happiness is Experiences & Happiness is You is a fantastic mantra & should be posterized; Also respect the amount of research/corporate examples used to support the main points Notes Don't have the mindset to appreciate all of the science & brain chemistry however a great job of connecting the dots between happiness & pleasure & the primary contributors to the decline of contentment Happiness is People, Happiness is Experiences & Happiness is You is a fantastic mantra & should be posterized; Also respect the amount of research/corporate examples used to support the main points Reward when best left unchecked can lead to misery. Too much substance use or compulsive behaviour can overload the reward pathway Pleasure is two phenomena. One is the motivation for the reward & second is achieving the reward (pleasure) Christianity is delayed happiness. Pleasure is sin & Christianity is maintaining order by promoting fear Eastern religion is more about achieving happiness now as there is now later If you know what makes you happy, that is a reward unto itself Happiness is 50% genetics, 40% your own behaviours & 10% your environment Pleasure is active; happiness is passive Your neural connections determine your aggressiveness, maternal behaviour, sexual orientation & gender identity People are a result of what came before – a result of their own neural connections Treat the cause not the result Biochemistry drives behaviour & emotions Rimonabant – took away the pleasure from food however made people clinically=depressed & suicidal No pleasure means no happiness Eros is the infatuation that you have at the beginning of a relationship – based on sexuality & suspension of reality. Philia is the more chill type of love that you have for friends, family & long-term spouse. Agape is the love you feel for God. Marriage grew out of convenience to document the legitimacy of offspring, obtain powerful in-laws & grow the family labor workforce Reward comes in two phases – motivation/desire from dopamine & consumption/pleasures (EOP). Dopamine is the trigger, EOP are the bullets Sugar is the cheapest form of substance abuse Substance abuse drives dopamine release, which drive reward consumption. When taken to extreme, stimulating all rewards can lead to addiction In 1903, the Federal Government banned the sale of cocaine Once you are addicted to one substance, you can get addicted to another substance Initial dietary restrictions were to eat less fat, not less sugar Dopamine is the reward initiator & firing of dopamine neurons change behaviour CIA spiked drinks in the 1960’s to assess the impact of LSD Serotonin drives happiness Most of us are serotonin-deficient some of the times (a state) or most of the time (a trait) Corn-fed beef does not have the right type of chemicals & triggers dopamine Sugar is the only item that is linked to both metabolic syndrome, addiction & depression. Cheapest way to pleasure & quickest way to unhappiness The neighborhood that you grew up in is a predictor of upward mobility. Children born in a poor neighbourhood have a 10% chance of being able to improve their financial situation Is ignorance bliss or knowledge power? People would prefer to have a lower salary as long as it is higher than their friends People pursue wealth which leads to unhappiness Sales are driven by fear – fear of failure, fear of the unknown & fear of missing out – & keeping up w the Jones’s Neuromarketing – set marketing strategies based on people’s likes & searches. Driving up dopamine to increase sales (pursuit of a hedonistic lifestyle) More media use is a greater risk of depression. Study of 4k teenagers showed that increased media use resulted in more likely to be depressed. Cause or effect? Eggs are the best protein & have great nutrients yet they have the highest price elasticity One big problem is that we focus too much on health care & not enough on health, on treatment instead of prevention The quest for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness 1. Reward is not contentment 2. Reward is dopamine & pleasure is Serotonin 3. Chronic, excess reward interferes w contentment 4. Business has conflated pleasure w happiness & w clear intent for you to buy stuff or engage in hedonic behaviours 5. Government has passed legislation to make it easier to buy junk & increase GDP (supported by Supreme Court 6. Buying this junk & engaging in these behaviours long-term leaves society/you fat/sick/stupid/broke/addicted/depressed/unhappy Four C’s of happiness (active effort not passive wait for it – Connect, Contribute, Cope, and Cook Social engagement or emotional bonding correlates w contentment. When you are part of something larger than yourself (religion, community, hobby, perspective), you feel a greater sense of contentment Our digital diet has created a dissonance bw empathy & compassion (40% loss of empathy in college students who own a smartphone) Need to reclaim our capacity for solitude which is undermined by technology People feel that society is too materialistic yet wish that they had more money Harvard & Stanford – annual price of works stress is 120k lives & $190B. Sleep deprivation is $2300/capita (8 days of work performance) France has passed a law that prohibits employees from checking their work e-mails after 5pm or on weekends Blue light on your phone keeps you up Visceral fat is the bad fat (sugar) that contributes to poor metabolic health 50% of fat is in foods that we do not expect (salad dressing, bbq sauce, hamburger meat) Sugared beverages account for 180k deaths per year & 10% of disability-adjusted life years Nutella reclassified itself as a jam so that it could lower its serving size which then lowers how many calories it shows on the label Artificially-sweetened beverages do not lead to weight gain as measured by independent scientists (only measured by sponsored studies) No thing can make you happy, people can make you happy, experiences can make you happy, you can make you happy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mack Hayden

    The subtitle of this book is a little misleading. While Lustig certainly does allude to ways our society has driven us to unhealthy habits, the focal point here is still on the bad habits themselves. The key insight of the book is that we're so anxious to trigger dopamine kicks (through drugs, sugar, social media, consumerism, etc) that we've wrecked our serotonin levels. The layman's translation is that our constant pleasure-seeking has ruined our ability to experience contentment or a general The subtitle of this book is a little misleading. While Lustig certainly does allude to ways our society has driven us to unhealthy habits, the focal point here is still on the bad habits themselves. The key insight of the book is that we're so anxious to trigger dopamine kicks (through drugs, sugar, social media, consumerism, etc) that we've wrecked our serotonin levels. The layman's translation is that our constant pleasure-seeking has ruined our ability to experience contentment or a general sense of wellbeing and is screwing our ability to experience pleasure properly too. It does get pretty comical just how often this guy brings the conversation back to sugar—he really hates it—and it seemed like every few pages, he was on another rant about it. Regardless, it's filled with good scientific proof that hedonism isn't just something for puritanical people to turn their noses up at, it's a lifestyle that makes being human way harder than it needs to be. And it's a lifestyle we're all compelled to adapt to in this American hellscape of ours.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ElmerFudd28

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book delineates the differences between dopamine and serotonin with regards to the biochemistry of your brain. One being related to addictive, short term behaviours (dopamine) and the latter relates to contentment and happiness. Lustig offers up some practical advice for our contentment by contributing to society, meditating and exercising, and eating fibre dense foods with little to no sugar. Overall, very informative read backed by science. My only reason for giving it a 4 is because I fo This book delineates the differences between dopamine and serotonin with regards to the biochemistry of your brain. One being related to addictive, short term behaviours (dopamine) and the latter relates to contentment and happiness. Lustig offers up some practical advice for our contentment by contributing to society, meditating and exercising, and eating fibre dense foods with little to no sugar. Overall, very informative read backed by science. My only reason for giving it a 4 is because I found it hard to follow along when reading about the scientific terminology used to describe the brain functions. However, it’s a witty composition and does well to inform the reader of how the industry has hijacked our brains and what to do about it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Dr. Lustig shows us that human emotion and behavior are basic brain chemistry. Everything we do and feel is the result of chemical reaction. The book focuses on the difference between desire vs happiness, between dopamine vs serotonin. The bulk of the book spends its time showing the difference between these two hormones and how it can influence our behaviour. As another reviewer put it the major take always are: Pleasure is linked to dopamine; serotonin is linked to happiness. Pleasure feels li Dr. Lustig shows us that human emotion and behavior are basic brain chemistry. Everything we do and feel is the result of chemical reaction. The book focuses on the difference between desire vs happiness, between dopamine vs serotonin. The bulk of the book spends its time showing the difference between these two hormones and how it can influence our behaviour. As another reviewer put it the major take always are: Pleasure is linked to dopamine; serotonin is linked to happiness. Pleasure feels like a high. Happiness feels like contentment. Over time it takes more and more pleasure inducing substances/behaviors (such as alcohol, cocaine, sugar, computer games) to produce enough dopamine to satisfy. Too much dopamine-stimulating activity will depress serotonin, thereby making you less happy and more addicted to whatever you're using to get the dopamine rush. How to be happy: 1. Be altruistic. Be involved in benefitting others' lives. Have close, healthy relationships. 2. Get exercise. Sleep. Avoid sugar, in all of its forms. 3. Take fish oil. 4. Stay off screens and reduce your consumerism.  The author presents the material in an entertaining, humorous and lively manner. I found the book to be a good read until he delved into politics, conspiracy theories and corporate America. I agree with his claim that SUGAR is one of America's most easily procurable and deadly drugs, and that corporate America has a role in perpetuating this problem, but he really needs to steer away from the political partisanship.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roni

    "To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, a great pleasure-seeker himself: 'Those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.' The science says so." ~Robert H. Lustig, MD "To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, a great pleasure-seeker himself: 'Those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.' The science says so." ~Robert H. Lustig, MD

  26. 4 out of 5

    Assad

    Very informative.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book was extremely insightful and scary. I learned a lot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    If you want to understand the science behind why so many people can't look away from their phones, this is a good book to read. Lustig explains the neuroscience behind various constructed addictions in our society (including sugar) and then lays out a plan on how to break away from those addictions. It's a very interesting read with lots of food for thought. If you want to understand the science behind why so many people can't look away from their phones, this is a good book to read. Lustig explains the neuroscience behind various constructed addictions in our society (including sugar) and then lays out a plan on how to break away from those addictions. It's a very interesting read with lots of food for thought.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Johnson

    As a result of reading this book I have decided to put all of my money into coffee and sugar and the I will stand the summit of my big rock candy mountain and look down upon you all and you will call me overlord. Muahahahahahahaha-ha! Okay, now that my sugar rush is over I can analyze this somewhat competently. First, Lustig does a good job of delineating the difference between pleasure (short-lived) and happiness (more sustainable). Pleasure is derived from the reward pathway and is driven by th As a result of reading this book I have decided to put all of my money into coffee and sugar and the I will stand the summit of my big rock candy mountain and look down upon you all and you will call me overlord. Muahahahahahahaha-ha! Okay, now that my sugar rush is over I can analyze this somewhat competently. First, Lustig does a good job of delineating the difference between pleasure (short-lived) and happiness (more sustainable). Pleasure is derived from the reward pathway and is driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine. When the reward pathway is triggered by sugar, crack, alcohol, gambling, whatever the lower brain hijacks the prefrontal cortex by flooding it with dopamine. As the dopamine binds to the receptors in the brain it initiates a process called down regulation. It seems to mean that other neurons associated with dopamine shut down. Between the receptors tied up by the first rush of dopamine, those that are down regulated, and those that experience neuronal death from over-stimulation, there are fewer and fewer receptors for dopamine to bind to. This is why substance abusers have a harder time enjoying themselves, build up tolerances, and end up addicted. You need dopamine but just enough to motivate you towards your goals. Lustig does an equally effective job of describing the importance and scarcity of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with happiness or contentment. The ability to produce serotonin is influenced by, among other things, the amount of tryptophan in your diet. It is a very rare thing and has to be consumed, the body cannot produce it. Just like dopamine, you need just enough serotonin to tell you that you have had enough Oreos and to put them away. Too much serotonin and you'll be selling yourself to NASA for extended bed rest studies (because you would be the ultimate couch potato). Ultimately, this book is a crusade against sugar consumption. Is the processed food industry complicit in creating cravings for sugary substances? Probably. Noam Chomsky pointed out in Requiem for the American Dream that the entire advertising industry is to create misinformed consumers who act irrationally. They make wants where there shouldn't be any. Does Lustig prove this in the same smoking gun fashion as happened with the tobacco industry? No. Your best bet for helping yourself is really kind of the standard protocol these days: disconnect from your devices, eat right, sleep, exercise, practice mindfulness. That's what I'm doing atop my mountain of sugar.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Lloyd

    The author begins by defining the distinction between what he calls happiness and contentment (that I call the difference between a momentary sense of accomplishment, and a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment). Then he discusses this concept contrasting dopamine with serotonin, and how dietary choices, medicines, attitudes, and lifestyles relate to each kind of "happiness," demonstrating with numerous examples how what makes us happy often destroys our changes for long-term contentment. From t The author begins by defining the distinction between what he calls happiness and contentment (that I call the difference between a momentary sense of accomplishment, and a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment). Then he discusses this concept contrasting dopamine with serotonin, and how dietary choices, medicines, attitudes, and lifestyles relate to each kind of "happiness," demonstrating with numerous examples how what makes us happy often destroys our changes for long-term contentment. From there, he broadens his perspective to how corporations profit by obfuscating the difference between happiness and contentment, how Governments are empowered by keeping people dependant, and how these forces work together to undermine contentment, cause depression and suicide, and ultimately will cause large scale financial ruin. However, the book is not pessimistic, but rather it encourages people to evaluate their motives, be more aware of their choices, and work together to reverse the damage to our mental, physical, moral, social, and spiritual health by Just making the distinction decision by decision whether the goal we seek will give us long term contentment, or a momentary high.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.