Monday, June 30, 2014

Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us

Investigative reporter Michael Moss outlines the rise of the processed food companies and the connection they have to the growing obesity epidemic. The book starts out with a meeting held by some of the largest food companies such as: Nabisco and Coca-Cola where they discussed the problem of obesity, and if they should do anything with their food products to help change this. The cause for concern was that salt, sugar, and fat which are used in great amounts in these processed food companies are being linked to problems with obesity. Moss shows how our food industry became more processed, and how the companies care more about profit than they do about what goes into the "food".

Salt Sugar Fat does not focus on how bad these ingredients are for us in large amounts(although that does come up in the book). Rather, it is about the food industry. How these processed foods are made, why we have largely shifted to eating huge quantities of processed food, and how the process has changed over the years. I really liked learning about the science behind some of these developments. How people making the food search for the "bliss point" that will make consumers love the food, and want more of it. It was a well researched book, and the information is presented in a clear engaging manner. It is very easy to understand the arguments being made.

The book is divided into three sections: Salt, Sugar, and Fat. There is information about how your body and brain react when you eat each of these, which I found very interesting. It is then explained how each one is important to the food industry, the quantities it is used in, and why they continue to use such high amounts when they know excessive amounts of these ingredients are very bad for people's health.

I did find it a little shocking to read how many of the heads of these food companies do not eat their own products for various health reasons. I think that was one of the eye-opening statements in this book. There is a lot of good information presented in this book, that will make you think twice about eating many of these overly processed food products.

I liked that this book was not about vilifying the food companies or defending them. It was about providing information to consumers so they can make informed choices about what they eat, or how they vote. It is important to understand what is actually happening with our food industry.

If you are at all curious about how your food is made, I recommend reading this book.


  1. Don't know if this (or a similar) book is already part of high school curricula around the country. If not, it should be (perhaps in a government/current events course).

    1. I'm not sure what books are on school curricula, but I agree that there should be books about food and health on it. It is very important to understand where our food comes from, how food is made/grown, and how different types of food affects us. I think it a necessity for people to understand these things as soon as possible.