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A Review of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

Salt Sugar Fat- How the Food Giants Hooked UsSalt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

by Michael Moss

This is a must-read for anyone who is trying to lose weight. Mr. Moss reveals some of the reasons that it may be harder to lose weight than it seems like it should be. He gives you insight into the lifestyle changes that promote weight gain and hinder healthy eating, and discloses some little known facts about the food and drinks that everyone buys at the local supermarket.

Mr. Moss interviews many of the knowledgeable people in the processed food and beverage industry. He discovers that the scientists and engineers that are working for the food companies are using research and scientific testing to fine tune the food formulas to make their products taste so good that your body will then crave them. The ad agencies then promote that food so that you are thinking about the next time that you will be able to taste that delicious treat. The marketing experts make sure that the food you desire is in an easy to see location, so that you won’t have to wait for you next fix.

Is this a big conspiracy among the food giants to make everyone fat? No, Mr. Moss shows us that this is the free enterprise system at work. The food and beverage companies are just as beholden to Wall Street as the High Tech segment is. They have to increase sales and profits every quarter just like the rest of industrial America needs to. But if Apple gets people into their stores to get the new iPad Mini and then they also add a new iPhone and an Apple TV and maybe even an Airport Extreme, then when they walk out of that store, they may have an empty wallet, but they won’t be packing on the pounds. Every company in the United States is trying to maximize their sales and profits, but most of the time that doesn’t endanger the public’s health. Mr. Moss delves into the possibility of more government regulation, but until something is done to mandate changes in the way the food industry formulates their products, your best weapon  is knowledge, and Mr. Moss gives you some of that.

Read this, understand how you are being manipulated, and then maybe, just maybe you can get back in control of your eating and realize that you don’t need to gain weight every year.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5, and wish that everyone could read a copy and put these ideas to work. We will all feel more empowered and possibly healthier too.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Description

Release date: February 26, 2013


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.

In the spring of 1999 the heads of the world’s largest processed food companies—from Coca-Cola to Nabisco—gathered at Pillsbury headquarters in Minneapolis for a secret meeting. On the agenda: the emerging epidemic of obesity, and what to do about it.

Increasingly, the salt-, sugar-, and fat-laden foods these companies produced were being linked to obesity, and a concerned Kraft executive took the stage to issue a warning: There would be a day of reckoning unless changes were made. This executive then launched into a damning PowerPoint presentation—114 slides in all—making the case that processed food companies could not afford to sit by, idle, as children grew sick and class-action lawyers lurked. To deny the problem, he said, is to court disaster.

When he was done, the most powerful person in the room—the CEO of General Mills—stood up to speak, clearly annoyed. And by the time he sat down, the meeting was over.

Since that day, with the industry in pursuit of its win-at-all-costs strategy, the situation has only grown more dire. Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two 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 twenty-six 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.

Product Details

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Random House (February 26, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1400069807

ISBN-13: 978-1400069804

Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

MICHAEL MOSS was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for exploratory reporting in 2010, and was a finalist for the prize in 2006 and 1999. He is also the recipient of a Loeb Award and an Overseas Press Club citation. Before coming to the Times, he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.

The book description is from Amazon. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us