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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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  •  
    Lisa Hurring Queensland, Australia 12-22-14
    Lisa Hurring Queensland, Australia 12-22-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mind: blown!"
    What did you love best about Salt Sugar Fat?

    This book is absolutely phenomenal and a must-read for anybody who eats food. Does that sound like you? Read this! The author has gained incredible access to both the people and the stories underwriting food production in the States over the last century or so, and some of the industrial secrets laid bare within its pages are absolutely staggering in their revelations and impact.

    I have already listened to this book thrice over and have remained captivated by it throughout each read. The storytelling is excellent, and well-balanced enough that you can develop an understanding of (and perhaps even an empathy for) the challenges each of the subject interviewees experienced whilst caught up within the corporate mill of big food business, despite the frankly terrible things their products were doing for public health.


    Any additional comments?

    I read this book immediately after finishing The China Study, another must-read, and recommend that anyone interested in this subject matter read that book too. Very interesting to read first about what heavily processed foods and a diet high in animal proteins can do to our bodies in China Study, and then to go on and hear all about how those processed foods are designed and engineered (no other word for it!) to capture our attention and a large portion of our dinner plate. I do not look at processed, packaged food the same way any more. I now see beyond the packaging, marketing, and taste engineering to see them in terms of their real composition and true value: low benefit, high cost, and certainly not worth my money nor my health.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 12-07-14
    Elizabeth 12-07-14 Member Since 2015

    I learn more when I listen to audiobooks and I can chew through a lot more books this way! Audiobooks are also a lot easier with a TBI

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Essential Information for Everyone!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book contains an enormous amount of information that is not readily available to most consumers. This information is essential to all consumers and I learned a lot from it. But it is still written in a really interesting way and is an easy listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian North Las Vegas, NV, United States 10-26-14
    Brian North Las Vegas, NV, United States 10-26-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Watch what you eat!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, excellent insight in to the food industry. You'll definitely want to start paying attention to what you put in your body if you weren't doing so already.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Covering the details about how food companies manipulate these three main ingredients.


    What three words best describe Scott Brick’s voice?

    Can not remember


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, but just because I'm busy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefe Danville, CA USA 06-30-14
    Jefe Danville, CA USA 06-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "What everyone needs to understand about food indus"

    My undergraduate degree is in food science so my perspective was one of nodding the head while hearing the narration. I am also a surgeon who daily sees the ravages of diabetic disease (of which junk food plays a major role) , so I don't see this book as an extreme attempt to get people to be vegetarians. The narrator does a decent job narrating a non dialogue non dramatic work. I think this author did his homework in interviewing multiple food industry insiders. There is a mix of how the business side and the food science side interact. Bottom Line: the food industry is like other industries- it is in business to make a profit and they do this by producing foods that will sell. The premise is that salt, sugar, and fat are the 3 prime tools that are used to exploit the natural tendency to over-indulge in tasty foods; not unlike "Hollywood's" use of sex, violence, and non stop action to exploit our other senses- at our expense, and their profit. Comprehending this reality of business in many of the major industries could make us more wise, conscientious, and certainly more healthy "consumers".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 05-31-14
    Mike 05-31-14

    Stumbled upon audio books a little while ago and I enjoy them now. I mostly listen to books related to science, Buddhism, and some fantasy.

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    "Information on the processed food industry"

    I found this book very informative on the industry of processed food. Making "something" people will buy and eat at the lowest cost possible. I was especially surprised the author was able to interview people and name names!

    So many books of this type only list lists opinions from the author(s) and try to pass them on as factual which is nice, but not useful. This book goes the extra length by interviewing key industry people and explaining the research done and science behind processed food products

    Naration was top notch, as I would expect from Scott Brick.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susanne Elkins Park, PA, United States 05-31-14
    Susanne Elkins Park, PA, United States 05-31-14 Member Since 2014

    Nurse. Yarn snob. Bookworm. Cat lover. Color enthusiast. Fabric collector. Gardener

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    "Informative AND Engaging"
    Would you listen to Salt Sugar Fat again? Why?

    Yes! I found the information in this book to be so accessible. The sheer amount of research undertaken to write this book is phenomenal, yet Moss works through it in a very systematic way with engaging anecdotes to keep the reader interested and on track.


    What other book might you compare Salt Sugar Fat to and why?

    The Omnivore's Dilemma, Fastfood Nation


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was kind of disgusted by some of the information presented in the book. I felt myself adopting a rather cynical view of the food industry (which, I suppose, is the goal of the book). Even though I thought I knew quite a bit about the machinations of the food industry, I could not help but feel hoodwinked by the lengths that corporations will go to to keep consumers coming back for more.


    Any additional comments?

    I think that this book is a fantastic listen if you have any interest at all in the politics that surround food manufacturing and consumption in America. I found it to be very enlightening and the information I took in will certain guide my choices in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn Morrison St Paul, MN United States 03-09-14
    Marilyn Morrison St Paul, MN United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Eye opening"

    I shouldn't be surprised at how manipulated our food supply is.. but wow - I really was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PsychDoctor 03-04-14
    PsychDoctor 03-04-14
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    4
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    "A Must Read"
    What did you love best about Salt Sugar Fat?

    There is so much we do not know about what we put into our bodies. This is a great step to a better life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony OAK RIDGE, TN, United States 02-27-14
    Anthony OAK RIDGE, TN, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Guess What - We Don't Have a Chance!!"

    This is a book that every parent and grandparent needs to read. It tells the truth about the processed foods we eat, and how they are developed, and how they can affect our health. Every parent and grandparent can make a difference - reading this book is a start. Calling this one of my "favorite" Audible books is kind of hard to say, because what I learned is not much fun. Read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Conrad Ko Hong Kong, Hong Kong 02-25-14
    Conrad Ko Hong Kong, Hong Kong 02-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Informative, Applicable to daily life"
    Would you listen to Salt Sugar Fat again? Why?

    Yes, its tells you the strategy employed by food giants


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    none character


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    voice is kinda boring, yet its very good in explaining details


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

    None


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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