"We all know that we can't put down our sodas or our cell phones. But what if these cravings are engineered--by design? And what if these desires actually cause damage--not just to ourselves, but to our families, our friends, and our entire society? While researching the toxic impact of sugar on our health for his New York Times best seller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made a discovery that reaches beyond the politics of food. Our seemingly innocent addictions are far from it--they are biochemical, and they are damaging our bodies and our brains. With his trademark wit and incisiveness, Lustig reveals how these chemicals interact with one another to drive our behaviors, and how Big Business uses the science of addiction to keep us hooked--to our detriment, and for their profit. Dopamine is the 'reward' neurotransmitter that tells our brains 'This feels good, I want more.' Yet too much dopamine leads to addiction. Serotonin is the 'contentment' neurotransmitter that tells our brains 'This feels good, I have enough.' Yet too little serotonin leads to depression. Ideally, both should be in optimal supply. But too many of our simple pleasures have morphed into something else--a 6.5-ounce soda has become a Big Gulp; an afternoon with friends has been replaced by 1,000 friendings on Facebook. What we think we want, what we're told will bring us happiness, is just a clever marketing scheme to lead us to consume more and more. Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC., have gotten inside our heads, exploiting newly discovered brain physiology and chemistry to confuse and conflate pleasure with happiness. Our behaviors are not our own, because our minds have been hacked. But there are ways to reclaim our health and our lives. Using that same brain science, Lustig offers solutions to defend ourselves against Corporate America, and to reengage in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. And the time to take action--for ourselves, for our children, and for all of society--is now."--Jacket.
Part I: A few fries short of a Happy Meal. The garden of earthly delights ; Looking for love in all the wrong places -- Part II: Reward -- the agony of ecstasy. Desire and dopamine, pleasure and opioids ; Killing Jiminy : stress, fear, and cortisol ; The descent into Hades ; The purification of addiction -- Part III: Contentment -- the bluebird of happiness. Contentment and serotonin ; Picking the lock to nirvana ; What you eat in private you wear in public ; Self-inflicted misery : the dopamine-cortisol-serotonin connection -- Part IV: Slaves to the machine : how did we get hacked?. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? ; Gross national unhappiness ; Extreme makeover -- Washington edition ; Are you "lovin' it"'? Or "liking it"? ; The death spiral -- Part V: Out of our minds -- in search of the four Cs. ; Connect (religion, social support, conversation) ; Contribute (self-worth, altruism, volunteerism, philanthropy) ; Cope (sleep, mindfulness, exercise) ; Cook (for yourself, your friends, your family)
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