• Secrets from the Eating Lab

  • The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again
  • By: Traci Mann PhD
  • Narrated by: Donna Postel
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Secrets from the Eating Lab

By: Traci Mann PhD
Narrated by: Donna Postel
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Publisher's Summary

From her office in the University of Minnesota's Health and Eating Lab, professor Traci Mann researches self-control and dieting. And what she has discovered is groundbreaking. Not only do diets not work, they often result in weight gain. Americans are losing the battle of the bulge because our bodies and brains are not hardwired to resist food - the very idea of it works against our biological imperative to survive.

In Secrets from the Eating Lab, Mann challenges assumptions - including those that make up the very foundation of the weight loss industry - about how diets work and why they fail. The result of more than two decades of research, it offers cutting-edge science and exciting new insights into the American obesity epidemic and our relationship with eating and food.

©2015 Traci Mann (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" Secrets from the Eating Lab offers a behind-the-scenes look into one of the most ingenious and creative labs in the country." (Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating)

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Nothing New

What disappointed you about Secrets from the Eating Lab?

In Part 1 and 2 of the book, the author explains in detail why (crash) diets don't work. I have struggled with my weight ever since I reached my adult height, so during the first few chapters I kept thinking "Yes! This is describing my whole life!" I'm sure that most people who listen to the book can relate as well. By Part 3 I was excited to hear her actual weight-loss tips. To call them disappointing would be an understatement. "Surround yourself with people who have healthy lifestyle." - This seems like a good tip, but for most of us, this just isn't possible. I am the only person in my family who actually likes vegetables. Most of my immediate family is supportive of my efforts, but they have no interest in becoming health-nuts themselves. Neither have any of my past boyfriends. "Think of food with abstract terms." - Unless you plan to spend most of your life with squinted eyes and a clothing-pin over your nose, it ain't gonna happen. EVEN I could write a better weight-loss book than this. I lost 45 pounds my first year away at college, and though my weight has fluctuated by about 15-20 pounds off and on, I've managed to keep off at least 25 pounds for nearly a decade. So yes, it is possible.The chapter about the psychology of willpower has already been dealt with in many other books. The Willpower Instinct is a much better book on that subject.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Definitely, not another weight-loss book.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Donna Postel?

Yes. Her narrating is good, but just a little too slow for me. That's not a problem, because I can always speed it up.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The one thing I liked about the book, is that she talks about why it is important to be content with your "leanest livable weight". This is important. For many years, I thought that if I could just loose a few more pounds, I'd be more attractive, but to tell the truth, I've had much more success attracting men when I'm 155 lbs. and happy than when I was 135 lbs. and miserable.

Any additional comments?

My FREE tips for keeping weight off long term...1. Stick to your grocery list! - It's much easier to just walk past a tempting food in the store, than to ignore it while it's sitting on the kitchen counter. 2. Instead of thinking of the long list of forbidden foods, think the different ways to prepare healthy foods you actually like. 3. When exercising, consistency is more important than intensity. As long as you work up a sweat, it's OK not to kill yourself every time you work out. Moderate exercise is always better than burning out or hurting yourself. Don't loose hope. I promise, it's doable.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book!

Although parts of the book was no news to me, its overall message was very much in line with my own experience as a yo-yo dieter. I wish younger would be dieters listened to it and believed its message to spare themselves a lot of unnecessary effort, suffering and as it turns out health disadvantages.

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It’s a Diet book. Wth

I was looking for scientific insights into body, food, and their relationship, and all I found was some anecdotes and personal advices on how to restrict food. My eating disorder has been triggered thank you very much. Please don’t get it if you are looking for answers in your eating disorder recovery. This is a dangerous book.

1 person found this helpful

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Diets don’t work/Obesity won’t kill you/more

This is my third listen. The information about how diets literally cannot work needs to be sung from rooftops, while all the “medical” system hoopla (it pays well for those promoting diets/TV shows/extreme exercise regimes that aren’t sustainable/food supplements) need to be drowned in the sound of the truth. Bodies seek their own preferred weight set point. If we starve ourselves, the body will work hard to return to that set point and may even reset the metabolism to be more efficient if it feels starvation is possible, and make it less possible to lose weight.

The information about weight discrimination was obvious but horrifying. I live in the one state (Michigan) with laws against this practice.

I love all the stories of experiments at Univ. of Minn. Thanks.

The information about exercise (I prefer to call it movement or activity) and how it is health-enhancing regardless of weight or food choices? Brilliant and encouraging.

The only down side is that she still spends time talking about how to train ourselves to avoid X foods and instead train ourselves into liking Y foods. It could be interpreted as diet advice. That part might feel shaming to some readers, though the ideas could be useful.

Admittedly, I now eat very healthy because of extreme food allergies/sensitivities, and am at the point where I prefer those foods. I do eat some sweets, but even those I must make myself so the ingredients are healthier than those I might purchase. I personally guarantee that changing one’s food choices gradually also changes one’s preferences.

I will certainly listen yet again in another year or so. Thanks for this dense package of actual researched facts.

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Fascinating and practical!

Excellent book. Eye opening truth about the diet industry and he health bias that exists in the setting of obesity. Great psychology and physiology insights which can be applied to life practically.

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Disordered Eating Alert!!!

This book is chock full of high quality science and important information about the reality of weight set point, naturally variability in body size, exploding the myth that everyone is naturally a thin person unless they are weak-willed, and showing the dangers and discrimination of weight stigma. I recommend reading/listening to this book with an important caveat. The author gives seriously mixed messages that don’t make sense based on the scientific conclusions she has reached. This contradiction is confusing at best, and could trigger disordered eating for those who are predisposed. If possible, read the chapters on scientific conclusions and skip the chapters about how to control your weight.
The scientific conclusions presented in this book indicate that we all are genetically predisposed to a particular set weight range, and that efforts to achieve a weight outside this range are fiercely counteracted by the body in numerous ways. The author presents fact upon fact about the false claims that weight is the cause of many health concerns. She carefully lays out the dangers of weight stigma and discrimination. All of these conclusions support eating intuitively, gaining freedom from restriction, working to counteract diet mentality, learning to accept ourselves at our natural set point, and working systemically to combat weight stigma and weight discrimination.
Unfortunately, this book contradicts itself and supports restrictive, disordered eating and encourages readers to go to great lengths to maintain their lowest possible weight through going to ridiculous lengths, which would only serve to intensify preoccupation and prevent someone from living a full and meaningful life. It truly is irresponsible to make it abundantly clear that we cannot control our genetically predisposed weight, and then spend chapters about how to control weight!!! It is unethical to write eloquently about the damaging impact of weight stigma, the inaccuracies of current attribution of ill health to weight, and then contribute to the fallacies the author has carefully discredited by repeatedly suggesting readers should go to great lengths to maintain their lowest possible weight!
Sigh...I’m sure the author is, herself, brainwashed by diet mentality, which would explain why she hides in her office and takes different routes to work to avoid food cues so she can maintain her lowest livable weight. Perhaps, in order to get such a controversial book published, there has to be a section on weight control. Or she didn’t want to have to leave out her years of research on weight control.
The bottom line - this book presents gold standard research that is much needed and rarely presented. I’m glad I read the book. I dream of another edition that would use this research to support true freedom from diet mentality, restriction, weight stigma and discrimination.

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Very enlightening!

I loved the research and examples in this book! It was an easy read, too!

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Read this before you or a loved one diets!

There is so much about weight loss, dieting, obesity that we think we know. However, Traci Mann and her students have looked at all of the studies that claim to tell us what we think we know -- and have found something different. This book is a must read if you think you or someone you know needs to go on a diet and lose weight. Not only does Traci blast away some of the myths that pervade our culture, but she also gives very good practical tips to help reign in undesired eating habits. She also points out all the ways that the "being overweight is unhealthy for you" message.

And she is human, very, very human. She is not a person who has figured everything out and is living the perfect life. She is someone like me, who struggles sometimes. She has data. She has life experience. And she makes it all very interesting to listen to.

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This book was fascinating

I’m not sure that I will have any long-term life changing eating habits after reading this book, but it sure was interesting! Human nature is a fascinating study and the perspective on the brain and food was well worth the listen.
#weightloss #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

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Healthy way to view food

I really enjoyed this book. I have been dieting much of my life and through her research shared ways for me to get the results I truly need vs. just want because society tells me I should be a certain way. I have already started using her tips and am happier and feel better about my relationship with food.