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)
This book really explains the background of processed food. 😞 The woes and the achievements in making it irresistible. It explains how they use each of the three key ingredients to make processed food addictive to the brain and body like drugs. I'm definitely going to relisten to this book several times.
How sad to finally realize that the common people have been duped into believing that the processed food is good for you and that the government, while trying to act the part of watchdog is culpable. Excellently written and very well researched. The parting words that we as consumers are ultimately responsible is well worth noting. It helps to be informed.
A sobering, thought-provoking deep dive into the tactics used by the processed food industry to enslave us to their unhealthy, disease-promoting products. This book is a must read for anyone who cares about their health and the health of the people around them.
I have the audio version and it works for me.
Realizing that the Big Food Giants actually hire Chemist to alter the Salt, Sugar & Fat level of contents for the exact amount that will cause us to be addicted to our favorite foods. Wow!
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.
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