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Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us Hardcover

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069807
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069804
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

You open 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 very 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has done for me what no fad diet or exercise regime ever could: It has changed the way I think about what I eat and why I eat it. It is also a fun, informative read for anyone who likes to read about business, marketing, government policy and popular culture.
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Format: Hardcover
To begin with my by-now rote preamble, I received this book from a GoodReads drawing. Despite that kind and generous and typical consideration I give my candid opinions below.

The premise of this book can be summed up very simply. Food companies are creating products that while not intended to kills us, nevertheless are doing so. By using science and marketing (in some cases derived from research done by that purest of evils, cigarette companies) big foods can manipulate us into eating more and more of their products until we drop dead. While we think the government is trying to protect us from such evils, in fact most of the time the feds are helping and subsidizing the efforts of food companies to shove more and unhealthier food down our throats to line their pockets. I'd say that about covers it.

Michael Moss's definitive tome on food marketing is exhaustive, at times daunting and the best book on this topic I've read since "Fast Food Nation" so many years ago. Moss has covered the basics with a wealth of detail and reasoning that should be abundantly terrifying to those who find themselves putting frozen pizzas and Hot Pockets into their cart at the grocery store. He paints a picture that is stark and, sadly, a bit hopeless. While our author does spend a tiny bit of time on the efforts of food companies to stop killing us softly with salt, sugar and fat, he doesn't really seem to hold out much hope. He closes with a chunk on liquid foods designed for people after they have bariatric surgery. The image of people tube-feeding themselves from a plastic container is pretty haunting but that seems to be what we're coming to.

This book is wonderfully researched, eruditely and well written and I hope against hope that it's somehow unbalanced.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading "Salt Sugar, Fat" will make you rethink the meaning of food. Companies like Nestle, Kraft, Pepsi and Coke have dedicated their existence to hooking you on their product with as much salt, sugar and fat into their product as government regulations and the public will allow. The U.S. government has even helped the food industry in this pursuit when genetically altered dairy cattle began producing milk in quantities that the American public could not reasonably consume. Rather than allowing the price to drop precipitously and thus, force the farmers to slow production, government policy ensures the sale of all milk, if not by the consumer, then by the federal government. A use for the fat removed during the production of skim milk and its cousins 1% and 2% milk, had to be found. The answer was cheese filled and so, the very institution that was supposed to encourage healthy eating was promoting the consumption of this fat and salt filled food.
The statistics are shocking. Americans, on average, exceed the daily recommended maximum of fat by more than 50%. Nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes or already have it compared with one in ten in the 1990s. Fat has twice the number of calories as sugar. When Campbell soup attempted to reduce the sodium levels in their product from 700 to 800 milligrams per serving to 480, their stock dropped 5% on Wall Street. A 12 ounce can of Coke contains almost ten teaspoons of sugar. The job of these companies is to sell product at whatever the costs to the people's health. Hypertension caused by high salt content in foods has resulted in increased incidences of heart attacks and strokes. For anyone who eats, this book will fascinate and disturb.
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