March 26, 2013

Suggested Reading: Salt Sugar Fat (How The Food Giants Hooked Us)

The food industry is a manufacturing business with just one goal in mind, design products to please consumers’ palate.
Don’t picture it in your mind as something similar to a cook, in his kitchen, trying to perfect a recipe. Think of it, instead, as more of a chemist in a laboratory performing experiments and meticulously mixing flavors in an attempt to reach that perfect balance, the “bliss point”. That perfect combination of ingredients that will send taste buds buzzing and that eventually will makes us come back for more.
As you flip through the pages of “Salt Sugar Fat” you’ll learn about how Food Giants maneuver around the boons and drawbacks of sugar, salt, and fat in order to make us consume their products, and consume them a lot. The competition for our grocery dollars affects what's in the food we eat and, as a consequence, affect our waist size and health.
Food industry’s approach is so meticulous and scientific that it has been capable of substantially altering the our desires, perceptions and expectation towards food. Without even noticing it, our taste buds have been reprogrammed to make us crave for more sugar, fat and salt.

In 446 pages, Michael Moss is going to change forever the way you look at the products in the aisles of supermarkets. The ingredients lists are going to mean much more than just a mere enumeration of products.

By concentrating sugar, salt and fat in products formulated to achieve maximum bliss, the food industry has spent over 100 years distorting the American diet in favor of calorie-dense products that have led to the obesity epidemic.
Food can be manipulated to be as addictive as narcotics. Fiddle with the sugar, fat, and salt content and voila’, "heavy users" are born.
Entire food categories were invented, such as Kraft’s Lunchables, as food corporation did whatever was necessary to increase earnings and please Wall Street.
Moss was able to access information from inside the food companies: researchers, marketers, C.E.O.’s and many who have left their job, some deeply regretting what they have done. This insider view makes this book invaluably interesting.
Don’t think of it as a polemic book from a food purist though, Moss delivers a lot of information and that’s about it.
You’re free to make your own opinion.
Still, some punches are delivered here and there. You might agree or disagree with him, but in either cases you’ll know a lot more about what’s sitting on American food shelves.
As I always like to stress out: awareness is the first step to making real changes. If you know you can say “that’s enough”. This book is an important step in that direction.
One final note, although “Salt Sugar Fat” is a book that contains a lot of scientific and business related information, it’s written in such a clean and smart style that it makes for an enjoyable reading experience. The narrative drive will pull you through the book with no effort whatsoever!


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