Why You Eat What You Eat: 

The Science Behind Our Relationship With Food

W.W. Norton and Company

​Finalist for the 2018 Readable Feast Awards, and listed among the Best Food Books of 2018 by The Smithsonian and The New Yorker.  


​​An exploration into the psychology of eating in today’s unprecedented North American pantry of abundance, access, and excess.

Why You Eat What You Eat examines the sensory, psychological, neuroscientific, and physiological factors that influence our eating habits. Rachel Herz uncovers the fascinating and surprising facts that affect food consumption: bringing reusable bags to the grocery store encourages us to buy more treats; our beliefs about food affect the number of calories we burn; TV alters how much we eat; and what we see and hear changes how food tastes. Herz reveals useful techniques for managing cravings, such as resisting repeated trips to the buffet table, and how aromas can be used to curb overeating. Why You Eat What You Eat mixes the social with the scientific to uncover how psychology, neurology, and physiology shape our relationship with food and how food alters the relationships we have with ourselves and with one another.


Sample Reviews

​“Full of fascinating stories about the intersection of food, the choices we make and neuroscience.”  --Chicago Tribune

“A Freakonomics for the foodie generation.” — Essential Daily Briefing

“Explains the myriad of factors that guide and affect our eating habits. You’ll learn about cravings, surprising triggers, startling facts, and more.”

— Bustle

“One of Herz's major strengths is her skill at creating catchy phrasing to convey complicated scientific theories and experiments.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Herz's book illuminates Western eating habits and offers some ways that both individuals and wider society might change in order to make Westerners eat more sanely. —Publishers Weekly

“In this factual feast, neuroscientist Rachel Herz probes humanity’s fiendishly complex relationship with food”.— Nature                     

“Fascinating and provocative. . . . Herz lays out a smorgasbord of food-centric findings that are, by turns, familiar, instructive, and surprising.”

— Portland Press Herald

“Rachel Herz deftly and charmingly explains the latest science on the mysteries and paradoxes of [eating, an] eternally fascinating human pastime.” —Steven Pinker

“This engaging and accessible account by a leading neuroscientist has something for everyone.” — Rachel Laudan