By Brian L. Grant, MD
Every so often a book is published that impacts how we live or at least how we see our world.
The new book “SALT SUGAR FAT, How the Food Giants Hooked Us”, by Michael Moss may be one of them.
Like “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, that exposed the abuses of the meatpacking industry on immigrants in 1906 or “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser, that helped expose the abuses of factory farming of animals that help make today’s fast food – this new book by Moss describes how the fast food industry has succeeded in creating products that compel consumption, contributing to our current obesity epidemic.
Moss is a reporter for the New York Times. Excerpts of his book appeared in the New York Times Magazine on February 24. In addition, we have included the recent review of his book from the New York Times, and a link to the Amazon description, author interview and reader reviews.
Marketing and research work. We are persuaded to consume, to embrace styles and brands, and otherwise spend our money based upon real or perceived values and needs, informed by marketing efforts. In most cases the only damage is to our wallet if we consume goods or services that we don’t need. And many times what we get is quite useful and valuable.
The food industry faces a challenge. The success of food marketing requires food consumption. The more successful the marketing is, the more food is consumed. This consumption, especially of the sorts of processed foods that the global giants create, is a driver for obesity.
To quote the review:
“…that is the nub of Mr. Moss’s case: By concentrating fat, salt and sugar in products formulated for maximum “bliss,” Big Food has spent almost a century distorting the American diet in favor of calorie-dense products whose consumption pattern has been mirrored by the calamitous rise in obesity rates. Entire food categories were invented to support this strategy (Mr. Moss is particularly fascinated by Kraft’s near-billion-dollar line of Lunchables snack trays), as processors bent the American appetite to Wall Street’s will.” Read More…
Read the article, the reviews, and the book. After doing so, you may never enjoy Cheetos or Dr. Pepper quite as much.