In his book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” author Michael Moss explores the ways in which the processed food industry has managed to create highly addictive products that contribute to a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Moss argues that the industry’s focus on taste, convenience, and profitability has come at the expense of public health, and that the industry has knowingly and intentionally designed its products to be as addictive as possible.
Moss begins by examining the history of the processed food industry, tracing its roots back to the late 19th century when the first canned foods hit the market. He notes that early processed foods were often marketed as a way to save time and effort in the kitchen, and that they quickly gained popularity among consumers who were looking for more convenient options. However, Moss argues that as the industry grew, it began to prioritize profits over public health, and that this shift led to the creation of highly addictive products that were loaded with salt, sugar, and fat.
One of the key points that Moss makes in the book is that the processed food industry has become highly adept at manipulating the “bliss point” of consumers. The bliss point refers to the optimal level of sweetness, saltiness, or fattiness that makes a particular food highly enjoyable to eat. Moss argues that food companies have spent billions of dollars researching the bliss point for different foods, and that they have used this knowledge to create products that are highly addictive and difficult to resist.
To illustrate this point, Moss provides a number of examples of popular processed foods that are loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. For example, he notes that a typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than the daily recommended limit for adults. He also notes that many popular snacks, such as chips and cookies, are loaded with salt and fat, which can contribute to heart disease and other health problems over time.
Moss also explores the ways in which food companies use marketing and advertising to sell their products. He notes that many companies use terms like “natural” and “low-fat” to make their products seem healthier than they actually are, and that they often use colorful packaging and appealing imagery to make their products more attractive to consumers. Moss argues that these marketing tactics are highly effective, and that they have contributed to the rise in obesity and other health problems in the United States and other developed countries.
In addition to examining the ways in which the processed food industry has created highly addictive products, Moss also explores the ways in which the industry has responded to public health concerns. He notes that in recent years, many companies have made efforts to reduce the salt, sugar, and fat content of their products, but that these efforts have been limited and often half-hearted. Moss argues that the industry has not done enough to address the public health crisis that it has helped to create, and that it will take a concerted effort by government and public health officials to turn the tide.
Overall, “Salt Sugar Fat” is a well-researched and compelling look at the processed food industry and its impact on public health. Moss’s writing is clear and engaging, and he provides a wealth of information and insight into a topic that is of critical importance to anyone who is interested in health and nutrition. While the book is not without its flaws (it can be a bit repetitive at times, and some of the examples Moss uses are a bit dated), it is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the ways in which the food industry has managed to hook us on its products, and what we can do to break free from its grip.