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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1265 )
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  •  
    chris 05-05-13
    chris 05-05-13
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    "Eye opening food facts"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Salt Sugar Fat to be better than the print version?

    Updates since the print version


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    none


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    reading


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

    cant


    Any additional comments?

    Eye opening and revealing facts regarding the food industry and how they are able to adulterate our foods. Sad and scary facts on what we are eating and what we have become as a society of obese with chronic ailments. This can give you good insight on how that's happened and how to avoid the foods discussed. Interesting from a scientific standpoint add a star if you are a food technologist or chemist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie potomac, MD, United States 05-04-13
    Natalie potomac, MD, United States 05-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A must read for parents and non-parent alike"
    Any additional comments?

    In this highly illuminating book, Mr. Moss shows that many processed foods are formulated for the maximum sugar “bliss,” by Big Food manufacturers. They employ the high math of regression analysis to calculate the 'bliss point,' or the precise amount of sugar that will send consumers over the moon. In his meticulous examination of the Big Food industry, Mr Moss shows how sugar, along with salt and fat have become the industry pillars because of their ability to stimulating overeating, and cover up the tastes of chemical additives.

    He also demonstrates that the strategy behind this $1-trillion-a-year industry is a ruthless exploitation of our built-in cravings for salt, sugar and fat, as well as aggressive marketing of junk food. They employ insidious tactics to keep their “heavy users” (the industry term) using and to hook new consumers, especially children. A few years ago, a Kellogg’s commercial claimed that Frosted Mini-Wheats had been clinically shown to increase children's brain power by 20%.

    It turns out that when food manufacturers compete, we consumers lose. Over the last 30 years, unhealthy processed food came to fully dominate the American diet. It accounts for 70% of the calories that Americans consume. Thanks to processed food, we became the fattest nation in the world! And we are getting fatter. The total economic cost of the current obesity crisis is approaching $300 billion a year. So everyone is paying the price.

    Overall it is not an optimistic book, although Mr. Moss do offer few ways by which we can protect ourselves

    • Think of the grocery store as a battlefield, dotted with landmines itching to go off
    • Read and understand food labels and marketing gimmicks
    • Make better bad choices - a little goes a long way
    • Retrain your taste buds – it only takes several weeks

    I'd like to add one myself: read/listen to the book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jens v?xj?Sweden 05-01-13
    Jens v?xj?Sweden 05-01-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Don't read if you don't want to change your diet.."
    Where does Salt Sugar Fat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Good book. Seems to be well researched and with several insider sources from the food industry on how they work to get us hooked on their product. And on how they neglect the healthimplications for the the general consumer.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Scott Brick: What can you say... excellent.


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

    This is a book stuffed with facts, some of them a bit alarming for the general consumer, inspite of that I really wanted to listen to it one stretch.


    Any additional comments?

    Read it and stop buying those super sized meals...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 04-21-13
    fred LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States 04-21-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.

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    "Everyone should read this, Salt Sugar Fat:"

    The book is easy to read and understand, but there is a bit of dullness at times, however not too preachy, an informational tone overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathaniel C. 04-19-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Worthwhile listen, but hardly ground breaking"

    Salt, Sugar, and Fat (hope you read those on the cover because they will be mentioned time and again in this book) is hardly an original concept. Having read many books on the subjects of nutrition and obesity, I was unimpressed on the information provided in this book on the subject as a whole. This book is a repackaging of "The End of Overeating" by Dr. David Kessler, where he goes into great detail on how food companies layer fat, sugar, and salt on top of each other to entice people to unconsciously overeat.

    Outside of the main thesis of this book, why I ended up giving it 4/5 stars, the history of the food companies from the 40's & 50's to today is fascinating and well presented. The one story of the invention of Jello instant pudding in particular showed where the food companies started and how far down the slope they have gone. As a kid of the 90's, many of the commercial campaigns that Moss depicts hit home for me because I remember begging my parents for the products he describes.

    Finally, the salt section of the book, while the least approachable of the three, does provide some of the best information on how ingredients affect the taste of processed food. Of all the information that Moss pulled together for this book, the firsthand accounts at Campbell's and Kellogg were eye opening and less regurgitative than other points in the book.

    Overall, this is a great listen if you haven't read other books on the subject and are thinking of becoming more educated on the matter of processed foods. If you have read other books on this matter, then this won’t provide any groundbreaking new information that hasn't been presented elsewhere.

    --
    On a side note, the narrator of this was poorly chosen. Akin to an Atlas Shrugged veneer, which was sometimes commentary to the corporate aspects of this book, but mostly fell flat for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KKH Lancaster, PA USA 04-18-13
    KKH Lancaster, PA USA 04-18-13 Member Since 2008

    alwayslookingforgoodbooks

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    "You Only Think You Know the Story"

    Yes, we all know processed food is bad for us but eat it anyway. What we don't know is what is in that food and the extent of consumer manipulation by the food industry. The government has played a role in this as well, but they are now turning around and complaining about the high obesity rate when they are part of the problem. My favorite chapter was the one on cheese. In a sentence from the book - "cheese went from being a food to being an ingredient". How true. There many enlightening facts which I cannot quote since I listened to the book but I believe it was something along the lines of a cup of Ragu having as much sugar as 4 Oreos. That tends to make you aware. A very enlightening book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Unhappy wife Chicago 04-09-13
    Unhappy wife Chicago 04-09-13

    Driver 0086

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    "profit and greed win over natural and safe"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    recommending this one, especially to those that have childern, or thinking of having childern.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Salt Sugar Fat?

    when having lunch with a food favoring expert....the expert would not eat his own creations.


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

    Whats gone wrong with food.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicolas 04-06-13
    Nicolas 04-06-13
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    "A history book"

    I was disappointed by the book. It's a history book on food industries since early 1900s. It has small parts on how food industries use sugar salt and fat, but they are lost in the historical documentaries. I lost interest in the book and stopped reading it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 04-02-13
    Kristin SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 04-02-13
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    "Great info but far too long-winded!"
    Would you try another book from Michael Moss and/or Scott Brick?

    Probably


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yep. Would probably make for a great movie!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa United States 04-01-13
    Theresa United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Ready to take the red pill?!"

    Welcome to the real life matrix. Ways we are controlled without knowing it. A must read!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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