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)
Self-Employed Artist/ Musician/ Instructor
I put off listening for a while, afraid the content would deprive me of pleasures. Instead, it made me rethink on my own behalf.
I have severe food allergies, so I have already given up a lot of food ingredients. Salt, sugar and fats are still in my diet, though I have been making my own baked goods for about 7 years now.
I do eat a few pre-made foods, usually purchased at healthy food marts or ethnic markets. I don't eat at any chain eateries. Even then, this book helps me see where my choices might be better yet.
I'm very glad I listened to this.
loved even more the second time. It is very in depth and in formative on every issue.
Very interesting discusssions of what happens inside the board rooms of the major companies and how they use focus groups to develop products.
This book is less of a view on the nutrition implications of salt, sugar, and fat than a recounting of interesting anecdotes from the manufacturing of food. very interesting though
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Covering the details about how food companies manipulate these three main ingredients.
Can not remember
No, but just because I'm busy.
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".
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