The Science of Weight Loss: Secrets from the Eating Lab (Book Review)

Secrets From the Eating Lab coverSecrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again

Secrets from the Eating Lab is a book written by Traci Mann, Ph.D. Learn why diets do not work, why willpower is an illusion, and strategies to help you with a healthy and sustainable weight.

You should read Secrets from the Eating Lab if:

  • you are a chronic dieter
  • you want a common sense approach to weight loss
  • you want to have a sustainable weight

TLC Book Tours sent me a free copy of Secrets from the Eating Lab for reading and reviewing purposes. Thank you, TLC Book Tours for having me as part of your book tour.

Introduction of Secrets from the Eating Lab

Secrets from the Eating Lab has four major parts:

Part One: Why Diets Fail You

Part Two: Why You are Better Off Without the Battle

Part Three: How to Reach Your Leanest Liveable Weight (No Willpower Required)

Part Four: Your Weight is Really Not the Point

Expect to learn how Dr. Mann does eating lab research, why diets do not work, why willpower is an illusion, and strategies to help you get to your leanest livable weight.

As an Eating Psychology Coach, I was happy to read similar concepts, I learned in my training as well as what I stress to my clients, shared by Dr. Mann in Secrets from the Eating Lab.

Dr. Mann shares how she conducts research in her Eating Lab. I found this interesting because she has to observe the test subjects in a way in which they do not suspect they are being watched.

If you are sick of trying different diets and not getting lasting results, Secrets from the Eating Lab is a book you should read. This book helps you take a common sense approach to achieving weight loss without all the added stress that comes along with dieting.

Take Home Points

I love how Dr. Mann tells it like it is and her writing style is down to earth. Here are some take-home points:

1. “Diet’s don’t work. There. I said it. Maybe that’s not what you wanted me to say, but I’m here to tell you the truth according to science, without sugarcoating it.” – page 3

2. “…..hundreds of studies have shown that dieters lose an average of five to fifteen pounds over the first four to six months on a diet.” – page 3

3. “It’s remarkable how quickly thoughts of food take over when you feel deprived.” – page 55

4. “At worst, dieting can be hazardous for your mental and physical well-being.” – page 64

5. “…..dieters tend to overeat when they are stressed.” – page 148

6. “Be okay with your body.” – page 166

7. Being okay with your body means, “not letting our bodies become our primary life projects.” – page 167

8. “One of the most important reasons to exercise is to help control stress.” – page 172

9. “Doing healthy things like, exercising, eating nutritious foods, and minimizing stress, will make (or keep) you healthy, even if they don’t necessarily turn you into a skinny person.” – page 188


Secrets from the Eating Lab is a book that tells you why diets do not work with the support of science, but also gives you common sense strategies on how to have sustainable weight loss.

I enjoyed reading this book and learning what goes on in an eating laboratory. If you want to avoid the stress that dieting creates, I recommend you to read, Secrets from the Eating Lab.

Sidenote: Assigned reading for my client because I know it will help her tremendously.

If you are tired of dieting and want strategies that make sense and that have been proven to work and get results, then check out Secrets from the Eating Lab, you’ll be glad you did.


Secrets from the Eating LabAbout Secrets From the Eating Lab

• Paperback: 272 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (January 10, 2017)

A provocative expose of the dieting industry from one of the nation’s leading researchers in self-control and the psychology of weight loss that offers proven strategies for sustainable weight loss.

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.

Secrets From the Eating Lab also gives readers the practical tools they need to actually lose weight and get healthy. Mann argues that the idea of willpower is a myth—we shouldn’t waste time and money trying to combat our natural tendencies. Instead, she offers 12 simple, effective strategies that take advantage of human nature instead of fighting it—from changing the size of your plates to socializing with people with healthy habits, removing “healthy” labels that send negative messages to redefining comfort food.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Traci Mann, Ph.D.About Traci Mann, Ph.D.

Traci Mann, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and is an expert on the psychology of eating, dieting, and self-control. She was a tenured professor at UCLA before moving to the University of Minnesota, where she founded the Health and Eating Lab. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA). She lives with her husband, University of Minnesota professor of psychology Stephen Engel, and their two sons in Edina, Minnesota.

Find out more about Traci and her book by visiting


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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

9 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Lori-Ann says:

    This book seems really interesting, I should check this out!

  2. trish says:

    “It’s remarkable how quickly thoughts of food take over when you feel deprived.” Yes! It’s hard not to think of how delicious something will be when you want it but are trying to stay away from it.

  3. I always make excuses for not exercising, saying that I have too much to do. But it is so true that making the time to exercise really does reduce stress.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  4. Sapana V says:

    Exercise really help to control the stress as it releases the adrenaline in your blood.

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