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Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us | [Michael Moss]

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Every year, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and 70 pounds of sugar (about 22 teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, February 2013 - I’m going to go ahead and predict that Salt Sugar Fat will be the biggest exposé to hit the food industry since Fast Food Nation. Intelligently and lucidly written (by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, no less), this book is going to make serious waves. It’s already causing mini-waves in my own home as I frantically figure out what in the world to stock my cupboard with. In Salt Sugar Fat we meet the major players inside the processed food industry, as well as learning about all the things that they understand about human nature that the average person doesn’t. Quite simply, we are built to crave salt, sugar, and fat, and the big food companies make sure they deliver it cheaply and by the truckload. You’ll never view food – and your relationship with it – the same again. —Emily, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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 33 pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and 70 pounds of sugar (about 22 teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 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 26 million Americans have diabetes, the processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year.

In Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael 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’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, often 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 "mouthfeel" 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" - as the companies 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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2013 Michael Moss (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"What happens when one of the country’s great investigative reporters infiltrates the most disastrous cartel of modern times: a processed food industry that’s making a fortune by slowly poisoning an unwitting population? You get this terrific, powerfully written book, jammed with startling disclosures, jaw-dropping confessions and, importantly, the charting of a path to a better, healthier future. 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 of Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President)

"In this meticulously researched book, Michael Moss tells the chilling story of how the food giants have seduced everyone in this country. He understands a vital and terrifying truth: that we are not just eating fast food when we succumb to the siren song of sugar, fat, and salt. We are fundamentally changing our lives - and the world around us.” (Alice Waters)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 05-08-13
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 05-08-13 Member Since 2014

    I love learning, teaching, and exploring!

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    "Education is key"

    Anybody reading this book would be encouraged to cut process foods from the diet. It outlines many examples of how salty, sugary, and fatty foods are often addictive and people are generally oblivious to their adverse health affects. The scariest part was the countless examples of foods the claim to be low fat or low salt, giving the impression that they are healthy, when in reality they are not.

    Besides the relationship between our health and the food that we eat, the author also outlines marketing practices from the food industry. The bottom line is that the food industry is motivated by making money and will sell/market whatever the general population desires and will buy. In the end, the author pointed to education and individual choices as the key to driving change in an era of overeating and obesity.

    This book is a great start to educating yourself on why you should avoid processed foods but it doesn't offer much in the way of what types of food should be consumed and the appropriate portion sizes. Nevertheless, it is insightful (although maybe a little bit repetitive) and was an enjoyable listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony V. DeRosa WOODBINE, MD, United States 04-13-13
    Anthony V. DeRosa WOODBINE, MD, United States 04-13-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Beating a Dead Horse"
    What did you like best about Salt Sugar Fat? What did you like least?

    The performer's voice was very musical and dramatic, which I found extremely annoying. The theme of the book was repeated over and over and over again: Food companies use science and psychology to tune their products to maximize sales. It got old fast. The author spent lots of time on the symptoms of the problem of obesity but did not strike at the heart of the problem until the very end. The problem is not that food companies make all these unhealthy foods. The problem is that we buy the foods and eat them. The market will always follow demand. The real solution is education. Once people really understand the problems of eating processed food, they will demand better and more healthy solutions.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamarack 03-05-13
    Tamarack 03-05-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting book!"

    I liked this book a lot. I really enjoyed the information about the history of processed foods. Although I'm normally a Scott Brick fan, I have to agree with the other reviewer about his narration of this particular book.It didn't ruin the book for me, but I found it distracting.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Gaithersburg, Moldova, Republic of 03-05-13
    Lisa Gaithersburg, Moldova, Republic of 03-05-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Overacted by narrator"
    What did you like best about Salt Sugar Fat? What did you like least?

    This is a well thought out book ruined by overacting by the narrator. Just read the book. Note to Brick: This is not fiction, you don’t have to put emotion into every line. I have another book narrated by Scott Brick and it is nearly unlistenable. Less is more. Do yourself a favor, just get the printed version


    What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

    Overacted. This is a nonfiction book. He does not need to emote with every line. It was distracting and took away from the interesting topic of the book


    23 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Simiskey Southern Utah 02-27-13
    Julie Simiskey Southern Utah 02-27-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Information you NEED!!"

    Interesting and informative - tho' depressing! I knew a lot of the generalities, but the specifics of what the food industry does - well, it's pretty disgusting. Sometimes I'm surprised that stuff like this ever surprises me ... but it still does. You KNOW soda, processed foods, etc. aren't healthy - here's HOW unhealthy they are and why ... and some of the industries disgusting little tricks to make us think they're selling us something healthy when they definitely aren't. Sigh ...

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 12-19-14
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 12-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not a feelgood book"

    ‘Salt, Sugar, Fat' is a depressing expose of the processed food industry. It’s a fairly detailed analysis of how the industry has crammed more and more of these three ingredients into food, and the resulting havoc wrought on the health of Americans. Dramatically increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke have arisen as the population has become increasingly dependent on fast, cheap, convenient, tasty food and drink containing frightening amounts of these eponymous ingredients, as well as a whole load of other chemicals to flavour, colour and preserve the food and increase its shelf-life. The same problem has now been inflicted on other, poorer, nations, such as Mexico as the corporate giants have colonised other markets in their relentless pursuit of greater profits.

    Over time, some sections of the public have become more aware of the health hazards associated with these foods, but it hasn’t really reduced the scale of the problem. Attempts to introduce government regulation in the US have largely been scuppered by the lobbyists representing the powerful food and agriculture industries. There has been some effort on the part of the food corporations to reduce the quantities of salt, sugar and fat in their products, but these reductions have been fairly minor, token cuts and haven’t reduced the scale of the problem. Many people have cravings for these powerfully tempting products and can’t cut back effectively, and often don’t have the time, awareness or motivation to make radical changes to their lifestyles. Advertising and marketing campaigns are cleverly designed to make processed food seem irresistible, and of course advertisers are more likely to emphasize health benefits than to warn of the dangers of eating these products.

    The World has surely got itself into a sorry mess when people are encouraged to oversize their drink portions so that they are ingesting 44 teaspoons of sugar in their giant cup of fizzy soda, while people in other countries starve to death in droves. The companies defend themselves by saying that no one is being forced to consume their products. It’s a free market and they are only selling what people want. But surely, for the sake of the health of everyone, there should be a massive education campaign telling people how they are potentially harming themselves by eating fast food. There should be limits on the amounts of salt, sugar and fat that can be included in processed foods, as there are in other countries. Surely enough is enough?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Schilling 03-30-14
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    "A call to action."
    Would you listen to Salt Sugar Fat again? Why?

    Yes. I would listen again much for the same reason one would listen to anything again - go absorb more the second time. The text was so laden with facts and events that it would be worth a second listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Salt Sugar Fat?

    I think that the looks into executive meetings between multiple food companies were most enticing and informative.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    This is a nonfiction text.


    If you could give Salt Sugar Fat a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The Illusion of Choice.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Hoosick Falls, NY, United States 03-07-14
    Beth Hoosick Falls, NY, United States 03-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent info/ horrible narration."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Salt Sugar Fat?

    While the information is well researched and very interesting, the style of reading makes it difficult to tolerate. Nonfiction doesn't require drama. Narration should not distract. I had to buy the hard copy to finish.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 10-20-13
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 10-20-13 Member Since 2011

    I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "We are the puppets, they are the puppeteers"

    This is a great book, an eye opener for sure, a wake up call for those who are eating the foods that are being manufactured to make us fat. Everywhere in the world there is the obesity pandemic. We are fighting the scale daily, and this is all because of them, the industry that put too much salt, sugar and fat in their products to hook us, to make us buy more, and, in the end, spend the money on "petamen bariatric"...
    Listen to it and you will start to notice the industry's tricks, and maybe you will never fall into the trap again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    history buff louisiana 06-26-13
    history buff louisiana 06-26-13 Member Since 2008

    carol

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    "required reading!"

    this info will make you feel you have duped most of your life by both the government--who doesn't care a bit about YOU and ME--and the big companies--who are only in it for the $. no one cares about your health when it comes down to the dollars in your bank accounts, so read, read, read and learn what is healthy and what isn't. nothing that is manufactured and comes in a package is healthy!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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