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)
Yep. Would probably make for a great movie!
This could have been far more succinct. By chapter 8 I had had my fill, and had to force myself to finish it. Somewhat agree with other users that dramatics of the performer, Scott Brick, may have been excessive at points, but also kept the book entertaining.
Take this review with a grain of salt, as I'm new to audiobooks and in fact Salt Sugar Fat was my first ever audiobook. I'm still processing whether I like audiobooks, or which books are good for audio, and which books I should read on paper. Also, I struggled with issues of staying focused while listening (usually on crowded train rides to/from work) and having to keep up with many names (both of people and of products/chemicals) without the ability to turn back a page or two, etc.
Having grown up on much of the food and companies discussed, be it Fritos or Oscar Meyer bologna, Mac & Cheese, et al., not to mention being recently diagnosed as borderline diabetic, this book forced a lot of soul searching in terms of how much I'm to blame for my poor eating habits and health, and how much blame can be laid at the feet of these processed food companies. Naturally I am not blameless, but frankly I never realized the extent with which these companies also shared the blame. Moss lays out the case that they should share a lot of blame, and for the most part I was there with him. Partly this is due to Moss being able to find food industry people who now regret some of their companies' excesses, while also showing some sympathy to the fact that these are companies with shareholders and responsibilities to grow the bottom line.
As other reviews have mentioned, the narration does tend toward the conspiratorial and in fact makes Moss sound more hard-hitting than I think he is.
Definitely. Lots and lots of valuable information. Listening to it again would help the information to sink in deeper.
Throughout learning how the food industries have purposely hurt the health of society for their financial gain. And learning that many of the CEOs of these large food industries don't eat (or very little) the foods their companies produce.
I liked him throughout the entire book.
I'm already a "health nut", and this book confirms why!!
Knowledge is power.
This book should be read by everybody!!
This was a very worthwhile book; I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. My only complaint is the lack of balance on some of the issues, exacerbated by the incredulous-sounding narrator. I know it was not, nor supposed to be unbiased science, but there was a tinge of exaggeration in both style and substance that, as a scientist, made me uneasy.
That being said, this deserves to be read by everyone who buys processed food. It helps to distinguish between what should be occasional, non-nutritious treats and those foods that are so artificial that they are hardly food. I often hear "everything in moderation" as an excuse to eat lots of processed foods - what is the harm in some Cheese Whiz now and then or a soda every day? - and this really puts these foods in an appropriate context for a healthy diet.
This should be required reading for everyone, especially parents. It should also be a television series to educate those who don't like to read and a video shown in high schools. Throughout college, I always said no to drugs because I was afraid to be out of control. Little did I know that I was already under the spell of processed foods.
Reading this book also prompted interesting emotional swings. I would remember with fondness products introduced in the 70's and 80's to make life "easier" or "better." Then I would get angry reading about the companies studying human behavior to "improve" their products to maximize profits. It was hard not to think of consumers as lab rats being manipulated by the Kraft, Pepsi and Coke companies.
If I keep writing, I sense the rant would go on and on, without providing a review of the book. It is a good read, well researched and documented. The information is delivered in a way that felt neutral (some might say that I wasn't really paying attention or reading between the lines to get the subliminal text). When I closed the book, I felt motivated to tackle my "comfort food" demons and improve the options I make available to my kids. I don't blame the food industry for the obesity epidemic because I do think we are each responsible for our choices. I do wonder, though, if we were left with fewer choices, would we make as many poor ones. If we weren't so overwhelmed with the hectic pace of all we try to do, perhaps we could slow down and reflect on what our bodies really need to stay healthy and energized.
This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about their health...or the health of their friends, family, children. It is a look into the food industry and what has happened to our food supply. Why our food is over-processed, toxic, and addictive. And what we must do to change our lives and our food...before it is irreversible. Processed food is, by its very nature, always going to be an unhealthy alternative (for example...without mass quantities of added salt, most canned foods tastes awful...Cheezits taste like cardboard...the taste and texture of cold cuts is compromised). Scott Brick is, as always, a great narrator. I look for books that he reads, as I always enjoy his voice and his interpretation of the book (both fiction and non-fiction).
It's a good listen and certainly filled with fun facts, but it read far to melodramatic for me.
Yes. The narration was just as melodramatic.
Be more careful of eating processed foods, but I was already leery of anything but whole foods and fresh produce
The new food groups: SSF
The forethought that food companies have given to snare the unsuspecting customer into becoming "obese".
What not to eat and where not to shop for my food.
I did not get bored. I backed it up if I thought I missed something. It moved quickly. Very interesting.
It's just an expose. It doesn't sound like the author is really slamming all of these companies it is exposing, it just feels like you are privy to being there at every private meeting among the money grabbers. They don't care about humanity, in my opinion. They care about money. It's a free country. They can do that. But this book has equipped me with some insight to see what they are doing, and not fall victim to it. It's eye opening. It will help me feed myself and my family more thoughtfully, not that I have ever been one to gorge myself with any of this fast food stuff, Fritos, Hot Pockets, etc., but it seems that even the stuff you think might not be so bad, is so bad. I've heard it, but it didn't register. Now I don't feel so stupid for falling into their grip. They have many scientists who have figured out the best way to "hook" the best of us. We all have free choice. This book is going to help me make better choices.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content