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Salt, Sugar, Fat

How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Moss, Michael, 1955- (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Salt, Sugar, Fat


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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.
Authors: Moss, Michael, 1955-
Statement of Responsibility: Michael Moss
Title: Salt, sugar, fat
how the food giants hooked us
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2013]
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: xxx, 446 p. ;,25 cm.
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Report This Jan 01, 2014
  • hgibbins rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An excellent book that takes the reader on a journey of discover and really opens their eyes on what the food industry is doing to us, all in the name of profit! The food giants could care less if everybody develops hypertension, or becomes obese as long as they can sell their version of food to them.

Report This Oct 14, 2013
  • mjkedzior rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a terrific book! You will never look at processed foods the same again! You will always read the labels! Every chapter is an "OMG!"

Report This Oct 13, 2013
  • JM826 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

No matter your size, you need to read this and wake up. Much of what we are conditioned to believe due to repetitious marketing we convince ourselves is 'healthy' but we don't know why because we don't pay attention to the actual source. We hear something enough, we just assume it's true. Heart healthy grains, low fat, fat free, no sugar added, organic, all natural, gluten free... Here's the key to all this... local, simple, fresh. Make it yourself. Read your labels. A LOT of common health issues are due to our not understanding this and trusting labels and advertising to guide us.

Report This Oct 01, 2013
  • kadiesutherland rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great introduction to the food industry. Will definitely check this out again. This book is for anyone who wonders what goes into their food, who's behind the brand, and the ultimate goal of food companies. Rather than blame them for their scientific developments, it's important to realize not all people employed by the food giants realized the ramifications of their work. They sought to fill a need for working mothers, bustling fathers, and school children (it's terrifying how these companies aggressively market to children for the purpose of generating lifetime "users"). This book put the trip to the grocery store into perspective. As a consumer, knowing the tricks and the politics used to draw buyers in makes this book a useful read for anyone curious about their seemingly uncontrollable compulsions to purchase a guilty pleasure.

Report This Sep 16, 2013
  • scraphappen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A huge eye opener for me. Tells you what is done to get the public "addicted" to processed food!!

Report This Sep 15, 2013
  • Lukeinvancouver rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an incredible book that should not only be read by obese people but also those who care about their health and their children's health. It is also of interest to people studying political economy, economic history of the USA and those who are interested in biology. Economists can read about the externalities (e.g. higher health costs) the $1 trillion food-manufacturing industry in the USA makes others pay for. People who aren't fat but care about what the obesity epidemic is doing to others would also find the book interesting. Sociologists might find it of interest to read how the industry succeeded in changing people's attitudes – at times in an underhanded way. It is written in a highly entertaining way, often quite humorous and even provides a scientific explanation for the “marijuana munchies”, i.e. the role a protein named TIR3 plays. “The sweet taste receptors on the tongue get aroused by endocannabinoids – the substances that are produced in the brain to increase our appetite. They are chemical sisters to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which may explain why smoking marijuana can trigger hunger pangs.” (p.7) The food-manufacturing industry in the USA (and most likely elsewhere as well) takes a scientific approach to getting their customers hooked - yes hooked – damn the consequences to the health of consumers. Just like the tobacco industry, which made huge investments in the selling and manufacturing of food, it aims particularly at kids to get them hooked early in life. If you ever wonder why children love their food a lot sweeter than most adults google “bliss point”. (It's actually a range rather than a point.) Potential new customers are born every minute, so it doesn't matter to the industry if people die early or suffer other health consequences due to their diet. And like Big Tobacco they buy scientists to throw sand into people's eyes. Above all, the companies aim to maximize profits and they use science and clever marketing techniques to achieve that. The book might also surprise you about the kinds of food containing sugar - often huge quantities of it -, pasta sauces for example. A very good review can be found at the Bloomberg site: [You have to put hypertext transfer protocol in its abbreviation before the url followed by a colon and 2 slashes and then the three times w and a period plus at the end a period folowed by h t m l- I wish this site would let people post urls] bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-17/cereal-with-70-sugar-hooks-kids-on-junk-food-bliss-point

Report This Sep 12, 2013
  • Merteuil rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

This book is well-reported, in the sense that you get a keen sense of what it's like to be an insider in the junk-food industry, but it's scientifically deficient. Some examples: It remains a mystery to Moss that human beings should crave salt. I realize that the amount of salt found in processed foods is unhealthy, but Moss does not seem to realize that the very reason why people crave it is that sodium is an essential electrolyte without which we would dehydrate and our kidneys would not function. The delicate balance of salt, potassium, magnesium and other minerals is crucial to the body's ability to function normally. Conveniently, Moss chooses to gloss over all of this and instead treats salt largely in the manner in which one would treat an illegal drug. I am not kidding. As a matter of fact, the much-hyped analogy of drug abuse crops up again and again in Moss' writing. At one point he states, without much of a supporting premise, that "Fat is like opium[...]sugar is like methamphetamine[...]" This is a somewhat overblown analogy and now you have people repeating on Amazon that fat IS opium and sugar IS methamphetamine as if it were a statement of fact. Being heavily interested in science, this is the kind of thing that frustrates me terribly. Returning once more to the salt chapters, we find Moss quoting a researcher who states that the body's optimal state is one of homeostasis, and that your body would basically just be happiest if you could receive all your nutrients through a tube without ever having to eat or digest anything. The researcher once more compares food to--guess what?--heroin, and implies that any time any foreign substance of any kind enters the body, be it an illegal drug or breakfast, your body goes into shock. 'Fraid not. I have seen two cases of shock myself. You simply can't compare it to merely eating too many Cheez-its. As for the notion that your body was meant to exist in a homeostatic state, try it yourself. Your teeth will fall out, the muscles of your jaw will atrophy, and your intestines will cease working, all due to lack of use. I know I've gotten a bit carried away writing about Moss' various scientific errors and oversights, but they exasperate me, and I had to vent. He could have written a much better book if he hadn't been trying so hard to push the drug-abuse angle and had simply opted to research and present straight facts without hyperbole. I'd like to see a well-written, scientifically accurate book about how bad junk food is. Unfortunately, this isn't it.

Report This Jul 22, 2013
  • rowanquincy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book, explains why excess salt, sugar and fat in processed foods is directly contributing to health problems in a very clear, well written way. It was chilling to read how the executives responsible for this avoid eating the products they create. Easy to read and understand, and I highly recommend this book.

"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?....This book should be read by anyone who tears a shiny wrapper and opens wide. That's all of us." "Salt Sugar Fat is a breathtaking feat of reporting. Michael Moss was able to get executives of the world's largest food companies to admit that they have only one job--to maximize sales and profits--and to reveal how they deliberately entice customers by stuffing their products with salt, sugar, and fat." A couple of the reviews for this book, which is an eyeopener in regard to exactly how decisions are made to produce as much "food" for the cheapest dollar while just staying within the government regulations for food production. It should make you think twice about exactly what is in those "healthy snacks," etc that you have in your cupboards.

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Report This Apr 28, 2013
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Michael Moss’ *Salt Sugar Fat* is a complex, impressive exposé of the ways the processed food industry manipulates the public and government. It is sharp, comprehensive, entertaining, and incredibly thorough. To make his case about the bewitching power of processed food, Moss breaks the book down into the three titular categories. Each of the three sections contains some shocking new information about the ingredient in question, how we experience it, and how it is used in processed food to produce the coveted “mouthfeel” (industry term) and flavour that will keep “heavy users” (industry term) coming back for more. Moss is meticulous in backing up his claims with studies and knowledgeable named sources. It’s surprising how many of the industry insiders are willing to be named, and express reservations on the record about their participation in a system that’s led to poor public health and an obesity epidemic. What makes this book truly remarkable is that Moss has no special bone to pick with processed food, in and of itself. He makes it plain on several occasions that he loves many of the convenient food options on offer, and he sympathises with food industry scientists when they mourn the metallic, chemical taste of their salt-reduced food offerings. Moss’s goal isn’t to take down the industry or ban all these items. Rather, this book issues a plea for processed food giants to be more transparent about what their foods actually contain and don’t contain. No more inflated health claims for cereals fortified with more sugar than vitamins. No more bullying the USDA into changing their food guides. No more exploiting the addictive properties of their products without regard for the health of their heavy users. *Salt Sugar Fat* is a call to attention for all foodies, and essential reading for fans of Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle.

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Salt, Sugar, Fat
Moss, Michael, 1955-
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