Gérard Apfeldorfer, Jean-Philippe Zermati

Dictatorship of Diets. Take care! Publication date : March 2, 2006

What could be simpler than knowing how to feed and nourish ourselves? Even an infant knows how to do it. So does a white mouse. But Westerners don’t. We worry about food: What should we eat? How? What is good for us? What is bad for us? Food has become an issue, and we are hectored by do’s and don’ts.
The result is that we have become anxious about food, we feel guilty because we don’t eat as we think we should. At times we behave like trusting children, blindly obeying questionable dietary injunctions; at others we are overcome by an eating frenzy, devouring everything we can — and we put on weight. It has been hammered into us that it is bad for us to be fat. We’ve heard it over and over again from doctors and public-health authorities who have erected countless rules around food.
The frenzy around dieting has not put an end to the “epidemic” of obesity. The solution to obesity does not lie in more rules but in knowing how to eat — which also means knowing how to live and enjoy life.
This is a radical critique of the way in which nutrition in developed countries has been overly medicalised and exposed to the strategies of the agri-food business. The authors analyse the problems posed by obesity for both society as a whole and individuals, and they offer specific, practical solutions to learn how to eat sensibly.

Gérard Apfeldorfer is a physician, psychiatrist and psychotherapist and the president of GROS (Groupe de Réflexion sur l’Obésité et le Surpoids), a research group on obesity. He is the author of Maigrir, c’est fou (2000), Maigrir, c’est dans la tête (2002) and Les Relations durables (2004).
Jean-Philippe Zermati is a nutritionist, a specialist in sports medicine and a behavioural psychotherapist. He is the author of Maigrir sans régime (2002).