According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), two-thirds of the nation is either overweight or obese. Americans are eating more than 20 teaspoons of sugar a day, double the daily recommended amount of salt, and triple the amount of cheese that they consumed in 1970. As a result, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents in the U.S. since 1980. Michael Moss offers a compelling and eye-opening explanation of how the processed food industry has changed the American diet in his book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
Through sharing behind-the-scene stories from researchers, scientists, marketers, and CEOs at some of the most profitable U.S. companies including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, and Nestle, Moss reveals how these “food giants” have turned regular consumers into addicts. In laboratories, according to Moss, scientists are continuously calculating and determining how to achieve a “bliss point” of sugar drinks, and how to enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat.
These companies use three simple ingredients to addict consumers to processed, high-fat, and high-sodium foods. Moss reveals that there is not much consumers can do about it. In his book, Moss shares a detailed account of what happened when a vice president at Kraft confronted the top executives at some of America’s food companies about the health consequences of their products. In response to the VP’s presentation about the rising rates of obesity and how the processed food industry is partially responsible for the nation’s health, a handful of companies refused to change their products and continued to stock the shelves with super-sized and energy-dense foods. For instance, the C.E.O of General Mills said, “We need to ensure our products taste good…and there’s no way we could start down-formulating the usage of salt, sugar, and fat if the end result is going to be something that people do not want to eat.”
In Salt, Sugar, Fat, Moss exposes the processed food industry for its explicit lack of concern for the consumer’s health, and most of all, its ability to use food science to manipulate consumers nationwide.