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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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  •  
    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.

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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 2013
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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
  •  
    Scooter 05-17-13
    Scooter 05-17-13
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    "Very Compelling Narrative"

    While the number of books demonizing the food industry grows larger every year, this one deserves a place very near the top. Moss just lays out the economic and human drivers behind the fundamental alteration in the food chain. There is just a wealth of fascinating information, and human interest stories.

    But then there's Scott Brick. Why does every sentence have to sound like a roller coaster? It wears you out after a while. Luckily, this is a Whispersync for Voice book, so I can consume most of it on my Kindle.

    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
  •  
    Luke Albany, NY, United States 04-22-13
    Luke Albany, NY, United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2011

    In sales and on the road a lot. Love SciFi, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and the occasional Non-Fiction. Funny. Opinionated.

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    "I don't even know where to start"
    Any additional comments?

    Well, that's not entirely true. I should start by saying that I don't read many non-fiction or health books. However, I saw the author on Jon Stewart or Colbert a few weeks ago and then I saw the book was selling well on Audible so I figures I'd give it a shot. To my surprise I found myself engaged and invested in the book, from examples of corporate greed to studies on human nature. The writing is phenomenal and comes at you like the good, hard-hitting journalism that it is. My initial criticism was the repetition of certain key words and phrases, however I came to feel that this served to hammer home points and familiarize the reader with certain industry vocabulary. I also developed a new way of looking at the nutrition information and ingredient list on my food. The narration keeps pace with the writing without sounding flat, and that is all you can really ask of a book like this. 5 stars does this book justice, it is not an inflated score. I would rank Salt, Sugar, Fat as one of my top books of 2013 without hesitation.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Diamond Fishkill, NY USA 04-09-13
    Greg Diamond Fishkill, NY USA 04-09-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Narrator definitely over the top"
    Would you listen to Salt Sugar Fat again? Why?

    No-I would read it. The narrator makes every sentence a life and death affair.


    What three words best describe Scott Brick’s performance?

    Over the TOP.


    Any additional comments?

    As a previous reviewer said, as important a topic as this is, it was a shame that it was so hard to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 04-08-13
    Thomas 04-08-13
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    "I started to eat differently the day I read this."
    What did you love best about Salt Sugar Fat?

    This is an overall great book. It is a first person review of the history and science behind what the food industry knows about your impulsive tastes and how they use Salt, Sugar and Fat to control an addictive like desire.Once You educate yourself, you can choose whats best for you.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The narration was good enough to make me want to remember the words and how it made me feel when I first heard them.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The interviews with industry insiders.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to this book if your interested in knowing more about how the choices about what you eat are really being made by food industry professionals, especially if you think your the one choosing. You will be surprised.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 04-07-13
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 04-07-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read this now"

    If you have an interest in health and how food plays such a part in your overall wellness, then I would recommend this book. It's along the lines of others such as "Fast Food Nation", "Supersize Me", and Michael Pollan's books. I found it enlightening, but you have to be interested in the topic; alot of my friends and family prefer to be left in the dark when it comes to the food they prefer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 07-20-14
    Karen 07-20-14 Member Since 2015
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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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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