Salt Sugar Fat is a provocative new book by pulitzer prize winner Michael Moss.
He takes a investigative look at the multinational food giants and how they keep the western world fat by filling their food products with salt, sugar, and fat.
Even though many of us now understand how bad processed foods really are for our bodies, I for one, am shocked at some of the ways these food giants have managed to so addict most of the world to their psuedofood.
Food Giants Are Calculating and Insidious
Michael Moss argues that addictive processed foods didn’t happen by accident, but the food companies researched and developed foods for the correct blend of salt, sugar, and fat he calls “the bliss factor” in order to keep people coming back for more. Moss says:
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.
Michael Moss also exposes evidence that reveals how the food giants modeled their marketing plan after that of big tobacco’s. In a basic sense, this involves addicting people and then convincing them the product isn’t bad for them.
The Vicious Cycle
Now this has become a vicious cycle. People demand these foods and the food industry supplies the foods people crave in order to keep being profitable. Moss says that salt, sugar, and fat are cheap ingredients, which keep costs down and consumers still buying.
The food processing industry is more than a century old–if you count the invention of breakfast cereals–so it’s been steady growth. But things really took off in the 1950s with the promotion of convenience foods whose design and marketing was aimed at the increasing numbers of families with both parents working outside the home. The industry’s expansion, since then, has been entirely unrestrained. While food safety is heavily regulated, the government has been industry’s best friend and partner in encouraging Americans to become more dependent on processed foods.
Only a break in the demand will ever change things. People have to make a conscious choice to break their addiction to processed foods and quit buying them. This can only come through education, but unfortunately, many still aren’t listening.
I really like books like Salt Sugar Fat because they help to lift the shroud of deception that so many Americans fall victim too. I myself was a victim until about 10 years ago, when I finally started to clean all the processed junk out of my diet.
So, share books and videos like this with your friends and family. If you’re a teacher, explore this topic with your students. Let’s get people talking, thinking, and acting. Consumers vote with their wallets, so let’s start turning the tide and demanding a cleaner food supply.
Salt, Sugar, Fat is available on Amazon here and at other major book retailers.