Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us

by Michael Moss

McClelland & Stewart | February 18, 2014 | Trade Paperback

Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the troubling story of the rise of the processed food industry -- and how it used salt, sugar, and fat to addict us. 

Salt
Sugar Fat is a journey into the highly secretive world of the processed food giants, and the story of how they have deployed these three essential ingredients, over the past five decades, to dominate the North American diet. This is an eye-opening book that demonstrates how the makers of these foods have chosen, time and again, to double down on their efforts to increase consumption and profits, gambling that consumers and regulators would never figure them out. With meticulous original reporting, access to confidential files and memos, and numerous sources from deep inside the industry, it shows how these companies have pushed ahead, despite their own misgivings (never aired publicly). Salt Sugar Fat is the story of how we got here, and it will hold the food giants accountable for the social costs that keep climbing even as some of the industry''s own say, "Enough already."

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 8.19 × 5.48 × 1 in

Published: February 18, 2014

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771057105

ISBN - 13: 9780771057106

Found in: Business Reference

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Brief Summary and Review *A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, April 16, 2013. You open up a bag of chips intending to eat only a few handfuls. You find the chips tasting quite good, and a few handfuls turns into a few more. Just one more... o.k., last one... definitely the last one. A few minutes later you find yourself staring down at an empty bag. Then your stomach starts to hurt--then your heart. The guilt isn't far behind. Who among us hasn't experienced this at one time or another? This is junk food in a nutshell: it tastes great (practically irresistible) and is very convenient, but if you indulge too much (which sometimes seems all too easy), it's not too good for you. All of this has an easy explanation, it's right there on the label: impressive portions of salt, sugar and fat, the junk food trifecta. Each has its own appeal, and each is very inexpensive (which explains why it's in our food), but over the years each has also been implicated in some of our most common and serious conditions and diseases, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, the junk food trifecta is not only popping up in our junk food, it is increasingly being featured in virtually all of the processed foods that we eat--from chips and soda, to canned food and prepared meals, to cake and ice-cream. And as salt, sugar and fat have become more common in the foods that we eat, the conditions and illnesses associated with their abuse have reached epidemic proportions. In his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us journalist Michael Moss takes us behind the labels and explores the history and practices of the processed food industry--a story that features the rise of salt, sugar and fat, and the deterioration of our health. Moss divides his book into 3 parts, one for each of salt, sugar and fat (not in this order). In Part I, on sugar, we learn how the proceed food players have used very precise science to identify just what amount of sugar they need to add to their products to hit our `bliss point' (a self-explanatory concept). We also learn how the bliss point (as well as marketing) has figured into the evolution of breakfast cereals, the soda wars, and the composition of so-called fruit drinks (such as Tang, Kool-Aid, and Capri Sun)--as well as many other processed foods. Interspersed throughout we learn about the emergence of science that has fingered sugar as a major culprit in numerous health concerns from tooth decay to obesity and diabetes. In Part II, on fat, We learn how this substance, unlike sugar, has no bliss point, but is instead something whose allure just seems to keep on rising the richer it is, and the more of it we find in our mouths. The focus in this section is on the history of processed cheese, and the explosion of cheese consumption since the 1970's. This explosion, we find, has been aided and abetted in the United States by certain government policies and interventions. Indeed, while one arm of the USDA has identified cheese as being a source of deep concern for its high quantity of fat, another arm has actively promoted it through a marketing program intended to prop up the dairy industry. Processed meat is also discussed in this section, with a special focus on hamburger and bologna. In Part III, on salt, we learn how our taste for salt can be amplified through increased intake (and how our blood pressure tends to suffer as a result). We also learn how salt is used in the processed food industry for a plethora of purposes from enhancing certain flavors, to masking others, to adding crunchiness to products, to delaying spoilage. Finally, we learn of the ins and outs and ups and downs of the snack food sector, with its heavy reliance on salt (as well as sugar and fat). The journalistic expose is inherently a tension-filled genre. On the one hand, there is often an issue of real public concern at play; but on the other hand, it is ever in the interest of the journalist to inflate the controversy (and the blame). Moss does do a fairly good job of steering clear of these traps--for the most part--though the objective reader will occasionally rankle at Moss' presentation, and his choice of words and focus. On the whole, I've come away with a renewed interest and concern in just what goes into the food that I eat, and how much salt, sugar and fat it contains--and this, I think, is very valuable in itself. A full executive summary of the book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, April 16. A podcast discussion of the book will be available shortly thereafter.
Date published: 2013-04-10

– More About This Product –

Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us

by Michael Moss

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 8.19 × 5.48 × 1 in

Published: February 18, 2014

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771057105

ISBN - 13: 9780771057106

From the Publisher

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the troubling story of the rise of the processed food industry -- and how it used salt, sugar, and fat to addict us. 

Salt
Sugar Fat is a journey into the highly secretive world of the processed food giants, and the story of how they have deployed these three essential ingredients, over the past five decades, to dominate the North American diet. This is an eye-opening book that demonstrates how the makers of these foods have chosen, time and again, to double down on their efforts to increase consumption and profits, gambling that consumers and regulators would never figure them out. With meticulous original reporting, access to confidential files and memos, and numerous sources from deep inside the industry, it shows how these companies have pushed ahead, despite their own misgivings (never aired publicly). Salt Sugar Fat is the story of how we got here, and it will hold the food giants accountable for the social costs that keep climbing even as some of the industry''s own say, "Enough already."

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.

Editorial Reviews

#1 New York Times Bestseller   “Moss [is] a dogged investigative reporter who neither scolds nor proselytizes. . . .  Salt Sugar Fat continues Moss’s hot streak of ace reportage. . . .  Salt Sugar Fat is a remarkable accomplishment.” — New York Times   “An exactingly researched, deeply reported work of advocacy journalism.” — Boston Globe   “You will never look at a bag of Cheetos in quite the same way. . . . Moss [is] a graceful writer and a bulldog of a reporter. . .” — Seattle Times   “Moss makes the digestion of hard facts easier with a keen sense of the telling anecdote and detail. . . . The book is leavened with colour and humour. . . . The science and history can be fun; the message is anything but. . . .  Salt Sugar Fat is a vital document for anyone whose ignorance in the area is proportionate to his waistline.” — Newsday   “Vital reading for the discerning food consumer.” — Wall Street Journal   “[An] eye-popping exposé. . . . [and] an absorbing insiders’ view of the food industry. . . . Moss’s vivid reportage remains alive to the pleasures of junk – ‘the heated fat swims over the tongue to send signals of joy to the brain’ – while
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