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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 2010

    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
  •  
    Julie Simiskey Southern Utah 02-27-13
    Julie Simiskey Southern Utah 02-27-13 Member Since 2005
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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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Connecticut, U.S. 07-20-14
    Amazon Customer Connecticut, U.S. 07-20-14 Member Since 2004
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    "A fascinating insider view of the food industry"

    When I learned that Michael Moss wrote this book based on a food industry insider suggestion that he research how the industry uses salt, sugar, and fat, I knew I had to read it. This book lays open an insider view of the food business, and feels (in a good way) like a cross between a nutrition guide, a business book, and a marketing tips/tricks white paper. There is so much interesting detail outlined that it's impossible to do it justice in a brief review... Moss leaves no stone unturned and no "sacred cow" unexamined. He looks at how foods that are inherently unhealthy (e.g., fruit flavored yogurt, which is loaded with sugar) are marketed as health foods, and how salt, sugar, and fat are often used for their nearly addictive qualities, in addition to the more mundane task of preserving shelf life. He cites examples of when food companies attempt to make healthier versions of certain foods, they suffer because their competitors seize upon the formula change to grab market share.

    Perhaps the most interesting element of the book is how the insiders Moss interviewed generally don't eat the food their companies sell (viewing it as unhealthy). He also traces the experience of insiders who experienced a "crisis of conscience" about how their companies' products affect public health. Moss doesn't condemn the food industry insiders for the choices they make (that negatively impact public health) but rather notes they're largely trying to do what they feel is best for their company in the competitive market place and preserving the company's bottom line.

    I listened to the audio version of this book. Narrator Scott Brick struck the perfect tone throughout, making this a fun and fascinating listen. I'd rate this in the top three of any audiobook I've ever read, it's that good. Whether you're interested in nutrition, public health, business, or marketing, this is a must listen/read. Very highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Canada 01-31-14
    Elaine Canada 01-31-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Highly repetitive and I agree with the author...."

    The amount of information presented is limited. I found the book slow and the information repetitive. Although there is some new information on BIG FOOD, I was disappointed. The facts could have been revealed in a magazine article. The author is a reporter and this is a report stretched out.... Good facts....that's it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Van Wyk Pacific NW 01-02-14
    Donna Van Wyk Pacific NW 01-02-14 Member Since 2012

    Gogga

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    "Not impressed. No new information."
    Would you try another book from Michael Moss and/or Scott Brick?

    Don't know


    Would you be willing to try another book from Michael Moss? Why or why not?

    Don't know


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

    Probably. With a voice that it interesting to listen to no matter what they are saying.


    Any additional comments?

    2 ½ hours in and absolutely no new information and nothing surprising apart from the names of some people. Could be summarized in about 2 paragraphs. Narrator seems to try to speak slower to drag it on (more hours pay more???). Hoping it will get better and not make me regret the loss of my credit....

    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 my short time.

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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
  •  
    barbara WASILLA, AK, United States 06-24-13
    barbara WASILLA, AK, United States 06-24-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Killing us slowly with food"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes its very interesting well resurched and well read


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

    Realizing the people I treusted could not be trusted


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


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

    The Cold hard truth about our food and the people who make it.


    Any additional comments?

    I think it need to be given more publicity or given out free

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vanessa Albany, NY, United States 04-23-13
    Vanessa Albany, NY, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Enough to make you loose your lunch"
    Any additional comments?

    Food justice and access to nutritious food is one of my interests. This book did not disappoint as it traced the increasingly industrial process of bringing our food to market and how the processes strips our food of nutrition. It also clearly shows how food production is no longer a quest to feed people but to improve both market share and Wall Street performance.

    A challenging read and, I hope, just one more nail in the coffin of big, industrial food production. If this does not challenge us to grow our own gardens and support local food producers I do not know what will. Even more importantly it clearly shows that good, nutritious food is becoming the preserve of the rich and those on limited and no incomes are not able to access the food their bodies need.

    Loosing our lunch in its processed pre-packaged form is not only a health issue, it is a social justice issue and I hope that we can all add our voices to the increasing need to transform our food economy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony WOODBINE, MD, United States 04-13-13
    Anthony 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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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