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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,843 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Moss Narrator: Scott Bric Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

Every year, 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book should be read by anyone who tears a shiny wrapper and opens wide. That’s all of us.”

    Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “Vital reading for the discerning food consumer.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Deftly lays out the complicated marriage of science and marketing that got us where we are…Moss reports deeply from inside the food companies: researchers, marketers, strategists, CEOs, and many who have left their work, some with regrets about how good they were at leveraging the bliss point…This is inside stuff, and the book is all the stronger for it.”

    New York Times

  • “If you had any doubt as to the food industry’s complicity in our obesity epidemic, it will evaporate when you read this book.”

    Washington Post

  • “As a feat of reporting and public service, Salt Sugar Fat is a remarkable accomplishment.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Propulsively written [and] persuasively argued…an exactingly researched, deeply reported work of advocacy journalism.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A shocking, galvanizing manifesto against the corporations manipulating nutrition to fatten their bottom line—one of the most important books of the year.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “American cuisine is just a delivery system for an addictive trinity of unhealthy ingredients, according to this eye-popping exposé of the processed food industry…[that] explains the two-faced science of salt, sugar, and fat..[A] gut-wrenching look at the food we hate to love.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A thorough account of the processed-food industry’s extensive efforts to dominate the American diet and increase consumption of its products, despite health concerns…Through exhaustive research and insider information, Moss achieves his goal of shining a light on the insidious tactics of the food industry. Readers of food lit and exposés will not want to miss this one.”

    Library Journal

  • “Scott Brick keeps the narrative entertaining and intriguing. His full-bodied voice and expert pacing prevent the research and statistics from becoming dry. Further, he helps listeners navigate the controversial points regarding the policies of government and private entities that put the health of their organizations ahead of public health. As the fascinating links between food items, societal changes, dietary habits, marketing, and medical problems are revealed, Brick ensures that the relationships between these trends stay clear. He also provides moments of liveliness, such as when he impersonates Tony the Tiger’s iconic slogan: “They’re GR-R-R-R-R-R-REAT!”

  • “This is a truly important book, and anyone reading it will understand why food corporations cannot be trusted to value health over profits and why we all need to recognize and resist food marketing every time we grocery shop or vote.”

    Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and What to Eat

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February2013

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Holly | 2/19/2014

    " I can't claim to be surprised by anything here, but it has made me even more averse to processed food and troubled by the food companies' aggressive marketing in the developing world. I'm more interested in the nutrition aspects than the food marketing angle, but I can read other writers for that. With regard to the writing: I suspect that the book's structure presented challenges. Arbitrarily dividing it into "Sugar," "Fat" and "Salt" (in that order) required a sort of spiraling structure with overlaps and a good deal of doubling-back. This led to an overall sense of redundancy (I feel like I've been here before .....) and 4-5 incidents of near-verbatim sentence repetition. That could have been edited out, so I take point off for sloppy editing. Audio version: the reader made everything sound scandalous - even transition sentences. That was grating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nicole | 1/27/2014

    " As if the grocery store wasn't already ruined in my mind....HOLY CRAP I hate our food industry so much more now...Fantastic read... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angela | 1/22/2014

    " Very, very informative. No more Doritos for me (even baked ones ). What shocked me the most was learning that fruit and yogurt bars, which I had been conned into thinking were healthy, have more sugar and less fiber than Oreos! They got me! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jhawks3 | 1/14/2014

    " Good information, but a little too technical for my taste. It's always interesting to see how the corporate food giants purposely try to get us addicted to foods and could care less about our health. "

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