In Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Michael Moss, writes a chilling account of how fast food giants put a great deal of thought into producing the exact product that will reach the maximum number of consumers, with no regard for their health. He interviews chemists, behavioral biologists, nutrition scientists, food technologists, package designers, marketing executives, and everyone else who is concerned with putting a certain product on the market. His information comes from insiders within the food industry who reveal that, to these conglomerates, human beings are just potential "heavy users."
Salt, sugar and fat are the three ingredients used most by big companies to draw consumers in. These ingredients work like narcotics, dulling our senses and encouraging us to try just a little more. Sugar gives you a rush like methamphetamine while fat is like an opiate which makes you feel content. Salt is used instead of healthier herbs and spices to give some taste to food which would otherwise be completely bland.
Since the 70s, people have been trying to cut down on their consumption of milk, to reduce chances of weight gain. However, the industry has responded by producing more and more products full of cheese. There is pizza crust filled with cheese, cheesy chips and crackers, as well as frozen food with a lot of cheese. No matter how hard consumers try to stay away from dairy, the industry keeps producing more and more ways to bring you back to it.
Overall, this is a book that will make you rethink your food choices no matter how healthy you may think you are. Everyone eats some sugar, fat and salt in their diet and a healthy amount of each won't hurt you. However, it's important to stay aware of exactly how much you eat of each of these, something which many of us don't bother to do. We may not be able to change what the food giants throw our way but we can choose not to eat it if it's unhealthy for us.
Michael Moss was born in Eureka, CA and went to school at San Francisco State University. He worked as a journalist at The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other places before finally ending up at The New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for a number of articles on the topic of the food industry in 2010. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Eve Heyn, also a writer, and their two children.
From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at the New York Times comes the explosive story
of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity
epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict
us and, more important, how we can fight back.
the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in
1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest
eighty-five hundred milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount,
and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from
processed food. It’s no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five
kids, is clinically obese. It’s no wonder that twenty-six million Americans
have diabetes, the processed food industry in the US accounts for $1 trillion
per year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is
approaching $300 billion per year.
In Salt Sugar Fat, Moss shows how we got here. Featuring examples
from some of the most recognizable and profitable companies and brands of the
last half century, including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Nestlé,
Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and many more, Moss’ explosive, empowering narrative
is grounded in meticulous, eye-opening research.
Moss takes us inside the labs where food scientists use
cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or
enhance the “mouth feel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He
unearths marketing campaigns designed, in a technique adapted from tobacco
companies, to redirect concerns about the health risks of their products: Dial
back on one ingredient, pump up the other two, and tout the new line as
“fat-free” or “low-salt.” He talks to concerned executives who confess that
they could never produce truly healthy alternatives to their products even if
serious regulation became a reality. Simply put: The industry itself would cease
to exist without salt, sugar, and fat. Just as millions of “heavy users”— the term companies use to refer to their most ardent
customers—are addicted to this seductive trio, so too are the companies that
peddle them. You will never look at a nutrition label the same way again.
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