The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide To Weight Loss and MaintenanceAmerican Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. (March 25, 2010)

The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide To Weight Loss and Maintenance, by Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D. and T. Byram Karasu, M.D., is a comprehensive, scholarly, and critical inquiry into the field of overweight and obesity. Reviewing more than 900 publications, from some of the early classical papers to the most recent research, the authors have integrated the complex psychological and physiological aspects of the mind, brain, and body to explain why the control of body weight is so daunting for so many people.

Written primarily for clinicians in all health-related fields, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, as well as for their intellectually curious patients, The Gravity of Weight explores the controversy regarding obesity as a disease with morbidity and mortality, as well as the complex methodological issues involved in obesity research. The authors delineate the extraordinary metabolic complexities implicated in weight control as well as the importance of circadian rhythms and sleep as they relate to weight and even disorders such as the night eating syndrome. They also investigate the psychological aspects of overweight and obesity, including discrimination against the obese and the fat acceptance movement, and they discuss some of the most common diets as well as the psychotherapeutic, pharmacological, and surgical treatment options currently available for these patients.

Drs. Karasu have drawn from both professional and personal experience to write The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide To Weight Loss and Maintenance. Both had fathers who suffered from morbid obesity. One died at the age of 56, while the other lived to be 91. The authors’ professional curiosity led them to question how differences in environment, genetics, and overall physical and psychological health can affect one person’s longevity and another’s early passing.


  • FOREWORD by Albert J. Stunkard, M.D.
  • PREFACE: A Tale of Two Fathers
  1. Introduction
  2. Obesity in the U.S.: The Gravity of the Situation
  3. Food: The Basic Principles of Calories
  4. The Psychology of the Eater
  5. The Metabolic Complexities of Weight Control
  6. Psychiatric Disorders and Weight
  1. Medical Conditions and Weight
  2. Exercise and Weight
  3. Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Weight
  4. Diet and Weight
  5. Psychological Treatment Strategies and Weight
  6. Pharmacological and Surgical Treatments for Weight
  • Appendix: Selected Readings and Websites


“The most thorough and scholarly volume on the problems of weight gain and its control that I know of.”

-Aaron T. Beck, MD,

University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry,
University of Pennsylvania

“Written by a pair of renowned psychiatrists…comprehensive, up-to-the-minute… a valuable and clearly written resource for clinicians of all kinds.”

-Antonio M. Gotto, Jr. MD,

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean,
Weill Cornell Medical College

“Thoughtful, practical and impassioned, The Gravity of Weight will make better clinicians of its readers.”

-David L. Katz, MD, MPH,

Director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, and author of Nutrition in Clinical Practice

“Well researched insight into the connections between weight control and the intricate workings of brains, bodies, minds, and souls. A must read for anyone interested in managing, treating and preventing obesity.”

-Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD,

Professor of Nutrition, Epidemology, and Medicine, Harvard University, and author of Obesity Epidemology

“Nails down the top thinking and latest clinical research… illuminates the psychological factors of weight loss and gain in a punchy, complete, no-nonsense manner. Its use of sidebars and call-outs make this in-depth reference also an invaluable handbook for the busy clinician.”

-Brian Wansink, PhD,

author of Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think


“…psychiatrists Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D. and T. Byram Karasu, M.D. have provided a volume designed to elucidate the complexities that explain why weight management is so difficult. “… “In the notable effort to provide a comprehensive resource, the volume provides a starting place for the clinician to become familiar with the range of ongoing work in the obesity field.”

(American Journal of Psychiatry)

“The book’s wide scope should make it of wide interest, not only to psychiatrists, and other clinicians specializing in the treatment of overweight patients, but also to general psychiatrists, primary care clinicians, dieticians, nurses, and students in all health-related fields.”

(Psychiatric Services)

“The Gravity of Weight is extremely comprehensive, thoroughly referenced, and well-written… well-researched… overall, the authors should be commended…”


Albert J. Stunkard, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Founder and Director Emeritus, Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, wrote in his Foreword to The Gravity of Weight,
“…an authoritative account of obesity and its treatment. It deserves a place in the library of those who work on this disorder.”

The Gravity of Weight was mentioned in a column on weight and pregnancy by long-time Science writer for The New York Times, Jane E. Brody, September 6, 2010

Jeffrey Rado, M.D., Rush University Medical Center wrote:
“This book is a combination of research synthesis, clinical manual, and comprehensive textbook on obesity…unique perspective…”

Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D. interviewed by Abbey Strauss, M.D., of Florida Psychiatric Society, Exercise: Maintaining Weight Loss and Psychiatric Benefits: (May 2010), “powerful and insightful book”