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Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Title: Salt Sugar Fat
Author: Michael Moss
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: February 26, 2013
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"Salt Sugar Fat" is an eye-opening non-fiction book that takes on the food industry and the insidious practices they have in order to get us to eat more and to buy more. The book is broken down into different sections to correspond with the title. I have become more and more conscious about the food that I put in my body. Prior to reading this book, I had been trying to cut out processed food from my diet and after reading this book, I can definitely say that I am happy that I was on that path. This book certainly made it a little bit easier. 

This book is not just about how these ingredients are really, really bad for you. Moss looks at a lot of the food industry practices, many of which are terribly creepy. He also gives the book a historical element by looking at what the food industry has done in the past and what they are doing now. The trajectory is not looking too good! He looks at the science of food processing and some of the business practices. I really think that this is such an important book to read if you really want to know what you're facing at the grocery store and what you are putting in your body. 

I really like how the book is written. Moss has a reporting background and that definitely comes out in this book. He weaves a good story about how the food industry is basically conspiring to get us to buy and consume more of the bad stuff. Some of the detail in this book is truly eye-opening and astonishing! This is one of those books that I really enjoyed reading but definitely creeped me out a little bit at the same time!

Those that enjoy Michael Pollan's books and documentaries like Food Inc. will really enjoy this book!

1 comment:

  1. I saw this book at the library and almost picked it up, but decided I probably didn't have time for it right now. Sounds like that was a good decision since it would probably only make me mad. I did see Food Inc, and thought it was one of the worst propaganda-hysteria docudramas I've watched, so it this book is more of the same, it definitely is not for me.


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