Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Hungry Brain: Book Update

In January of this year, I handed in a complete manuscript draft of my first book, The Hungry Brain, to my editor at Flatiron Books.  This book represents more than two full-time years of my life, and I can't wait for it to hit shelves.  It's markedly different from any other book in its category, and believe it has the potential to substantially change the public conversation on eating behavior and obesity.

In the process of writing The Hungry Brain, I read countless papers and interviewed 36 leading researchers in the fields of neuroscience, obesity research, and anthropology.  I had my brain scanned in an fMRI machine while looking at junk food.  I commissioned and compiled 47 illustrations, schematics, and graphs, mostly by a skilled medical illustrator named Shizuka Aoki.  Yet the book will be accessible to anyone who loves science.

This book is not about me or my world views.  It's not a conspiracy story about how everything we've been told is actually wrong, nor is it a critique of existing ideas about eating behavior and obesity-- although I do correct some misconceptions along the way.  It's about the incredible and rapidly evolving world of research that has so much to teach us about ourselves, but rarely trickles down into the public sphere in a useful form.

In interviews this year, I said I thought the book would be out around September 2016.  That was based on a rough estimate my agent gave me last year.  Sadly, it won't be out until first quarter 2017-- the gears turn slowly in the publishing industry.  But the good news is that Flatiron Books is using this time to do a great job of copyediting, interior design, cover design, and marketing, to make sure this book is as good as it can be, and gets into as many hands as possible.  I'll provide a better date estimate when I have one.

In the meantime, enjoy this short description of the book:

From an obesity and neuroscience researcher with a knack for storytelling, The Hungry Brain uses cutting-edge science to answer the questions: why do we overeat, and what can we do about it?

No one wants to overeat. And certainly no one wants to overeat for years, become overweight, and end up with a high risk of diabetes or heart disease--yet two thirds of Americans do precisely that.  Even though we know better, we often eat too much. Why does our behavior betray our own intentions to be lean and healthy? The problem, argues obesity and neuroscience researcher Stephan J. Guyenet, is not necessarily a lack of willpower or an incorrect understanding of what to eat. Rather, our appetites and food choices are led astray by ancient, instinctive brain circuits that play by the rules of a survival game that no longer exists. And these circuits don’t care about how you look in a bathing suit next summer.

To make the case, The Hungry Brain takes readers on an eye-opening journey through cutting-edge neuroscience that has never before been available to a general audience. The Hungry Brain delivers profound insights into why the brain undermines our weight goals and transforms these insights into practical guidelines for eating well and staying slim. Along the way, it explores how the human brain works, revealing how this mysterious organ makes us who we are.

25 comments:

Chris L said...

I look forward to reading this!! I'll have to see a preview so I can decide if I want a Kindle version or a hard copy.

foodnstuff said...

I look forward to reading it as I've enjoyed your blog for some time. Hope it will be available on Kindle.

Cody said...

I'd be happy to preview it for you. :)

Gretchen said...

Looking forward.

Ivan Mazur said...

This is really exciting! As an avid reader of your blog, I cant wait to see a lot of the great info that you blogged on over the years summarized in a book format

PukeSkywalker said...

I haven't been more excited for a health book since The Perfect Health Diet.

Darya Pino said...

Fantastic news, congratulations! Feel free to send me a review copy if you want some extra publicity for launch.

RLL said...

Sorry I will have to wait so long to buy a copy! I have a suspicion it will be an often lent out book.

Robert said...

Great to hear Stephan - looking forward to reading it.

Regina said...

Yes!! Can't wait. Sounds like you'll be delving deeper into the mechanisms behind Kathryn Hansen's 'Brain Over Binge' which has been the only explanation I've found that makes rational sense of overeating/disordered eating habits.

JJ Bell said...

Will you be releasing on audio book?

PMC said...

Congratulations Stephan. I am certain it is a great book and I can't wait to read it!

Rita Towns said...

Can't wait to read this, Stephen!

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi All,

Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it. I don't know whether or not it will be released on Kindle, but I'll ask. I assume it will. Regarding audio book format, I don't know but I'll ask.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Congratulations Stephan - that has taken a vast amount of work. I hope it is a huge success :) :) :)

Terri F said...

That's awesome. Good, good job! Let us know when we can get on a pre-order list!

Olinda Spider said...

I am really looking forward to reading it.

From that introduction, it sounds similar to The Pleasure Trap by Dr. Doug Lisle. Does this build on it or is it a completely different tack?

Stephan Guyenet said...

To those who were asking about Kindle, the book will be available in e-reader format as soon as the hardcover is released.

Hi Terri,

Thanks! It will be available for pre-order at some point. I'll announce it.

Hi Olinda,

Thanks! I haven't read that book so I can't comment on its similarity to mine. But to give you an idea, only two chapters out of 11 are about food reward. Food reward plays an important role in the book, but there are also chapters on sleep/circadian rhythm, stress, body fat and appetite regulation, genetics, and more, all from the perspective of neuroscience. No book can cover every reason why we overeat, but I've attempted to hit the big themes and tie them together in a cohesive narrative.

garnetheartstrings said...

So, is your overall theory that the human brain has changed in the recent years and that is the cause of the obesity problem? Or, are you saying that what we have been doing in recent years has changed our brain and that that is the problem?

Acu-Greg said...

I will definitely pick up a copy. I've followed your blog for years and occasionally send articles to my acupuncture patients for educational purposes.

Curt said...

Would it be possible to see a table of contents for the book before the book is released?

Bruce said...

I have been waiting for this. I love this blog, and as a national educator for a vitamin company I am already getting the word out in dozens of health food stores and co-ops around the country. Thank you for your yeoman efforts, Stephan. You da man!

JudyQ said...

I'm looking forward to your book. I'm SO sick of trying to lose weight and I just want to feel normal... I've dieted my entire life thanks to older sisters putting me on a diet as a kid. I'm now 48. Everyone I know on LCHF do well, feel full, i log everything i eat, and i feel like i'm starving most of the time, yet i'm clearly eating enough. It doesn't matter what my diet is or how much i exercise. Life is torture being hungry even after you have had a nice meal. Doctors label you as lazy. There has got to be a fix. I'm so tired of the medical community preaching low calorie diet. I have to live on less than 1000 to lose weight. You'd be miserable too if your brain kept saying I'm Starving! I hope your book has some REAL suggestions because I've tried everything and life is NO FUN. Every year is a little harder. I'm happy I found your blog.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Judy,

Thanks for your interest in my book. I think you'll find that it helps you understand your situation better. As far as its practical value, I do offer some thoughts on weight control but I don't want to give you false hope. Your situation is challenging and I can't promise you a cure. I'll leave that to the snake oil salesmen. But the book might offer you a few new ideas to try.

Mike said...

I just pre-ordered this on Amazon. Can't wait. Good luck Stephan!