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.
©2013 Michael Moss (P)2013 Random House Audio
"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)
My reviews are honest. No sugar coating here.
Unlike other diet books, "Salt Sugar Fat" is strictly informational. There is no hidden agenda on how to change your diet. Other reviewers keep saying that this is a shocking read, or a must read, or will make you sick to your stomach, but it's just useful information on process foods. If you don't want to know what is going into your package meals, don't read this book because your diet and health is your business and you are responsible at what you put in your mouth.
Many of these books on this topic tries to change your diet by having scare tactics and tries to make you feel guilty, but Michael Moss is just presenting the information on what is on the back of the box. We can only change on how people eat by educating them and not by reporting fear on what we consume.
I just had strawberry cheesecake flavor ice cream and it was salty, sugary and loaded with fat, all at the same time. I will probably have another scoop because it was so good. I know that the ice cream is not good for me. I am responsible to my own bliss and no fad diets will change at what I consume.
Long and depressing.
I was looking for alternatives to better eating. Not just the history of all this bad stuff
Really just three bullets (salt sugar fat) in a war on the process foods industry. Duh! The solution is just don't eat process foods. The book majors on the bullets and really contributes little if anything about the process foods industry, except virtually all the foods are bad for your health and are built to be cheap and personally additive. If that is something new to you—get the book.
The real solution is stay out of fast food restaurants, convenience stores and the center isles of the supermarket. More importantly take charge of your life, learn how to cook and save some money in the process. In the current state of world financial affairs, most consumers of process foods can't afford to hire a "cheap cook" at the fast food joint, or a hot food case, in a box, can or freezer. This "cheap cook" is the real niche of the process foods industry, nothing more.
This book was an eye opener to how manufacturers of food products have been deceiving the consumer for years. I have to admit after listening to this book changed my supermarket shopping habits. I have also successfully lost weight and this book is not a weight loss book. The stories are believable and backed up with facts and interviews. If you are looking for what really goes on the advertising and marketing of products, this book is for you. You will not be able to forget about this book and will want to listen to it again and again.
There isn't much I didn't know either from information or common sense. However, the case is strongly made and documented - and the most telling testimony, I think, is that the book has convinced me to start moving away from processed foods and cutting severely on red meat.
Geek girl, unrepentant Japanophile, epicurean, and gimp. I recently began listening to audio books due to physical limitations, and am eager to explore this new method of information absorption and entertainment.
Pardon brevity, but I just wanted to chime in and say that while the book does get repetitious on occasion, and the performance could be a titch better, the substance and message really needs to be digested by the masses.
I've known about the details in bits and pieces over the years, but it's nice to see an entire treatise on the subject of our terribly mis-represented nutrition, its history and future.
A great read for those who are unaware or those who like to see all the threads of this deceitful web intertwined.
I am not normally a reader of books like this- im skeptical. i think a lot of non foction and self help type books cam be slanted tO the authors liking, while that may be somewhat the case here , the author seems to have well done and through research into all sides of the food industry- not hair additives. It touches on everything that makes you reach for one more chip, cookie, and soda.
While we may not be able to cut all processed food out of our lives- it does make you examine what you really want and why- and has helped me make some better choices .
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
The author points out so many truisms about food.We eat food for taste not nutrition.We have been duped by the industry of food with false advertising and subsidized commodities.I now feel that anything that has been packaged up in a brightly colored jacket,be it a bottle or a bag is suspect of having these insidious three ingredients within its confines.Now I have experimented with things like making my own fruit shakes.I figured out that even the plain yogurt I was using was laden with sugar,so now I simply use plain water.I was shocked by how much less sweet it is.In a crazy world we reach for the convenient options again and again.We have lost the ability to create real,wholesome food and we traded that in to the advertisers who make everything cool and festive.
My kid was born in 1984... he hated me cause I never bought 'snacks' and the sodas and sweets around the house were rare. Well here he is 29yrs old and me in my late 50's - both thin and pretty... damn I wish I beat this guy to writing Salt Sugar Fat... LOL
FatOldBroad...lover of mystery/thriller genre and biographies.
Yes! There's so much information in here, I'm sure I'd glean more from multiple listenings.
How the industry has evolved, and the lengths these companies will go in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Not necessarily surprising, but interesting. Invites comparison to Big Tobacco.
Yes. I'm a big fan of Scott Brick. He's quite versatile!
There are some funny/humorous aspects. The most extreme reaction would be my incredulity (followed by 'doh' head slaps at my own naivete) at this industry's business as usual.
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