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
THE HACKING OF THE CONTEMPORARY MIND:
Inside the SugarCoated Plot to Confuse Pleasure with Happiness
by Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL
Avery/Penguin, Fall 2017
While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made a discovery that reaches even beyond the politics of food. Our long-term quest for happiness is being deliberately subverted into a culture of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease, all in the interest of profit.
Dopamine is the « reward » neurotransmitter that tells our brains “this feels good, I 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 “this feels good, I don’t want or 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 everavailable temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of misery. And with the advent of neuro-marketing, corporations have successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.
With his customary wit and incisiveness, Dr. 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 he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and challenging, Dr. Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.
Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL, is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and 70 reviews. He has mentored 30 pediatric endocrine fellows and trained numerous other allied health professionals. He is the former chairman of the Obesity Task Force of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society, and a member of the Pediatric Obesity Devices Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is also the president of the nonprofit Institute for Responsible Nutrition, dedicated to reversing childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.