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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

The next book on the docket is Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.  This is a great book!

I am very impressed with the amount of research that Michael Moss does on behalf of this book.  He goes inside the depths of the industry to mine out the truth of what is behind the obesity epidemic that is flooding the United States and the world.

It begins with the scene of a meeting where the heads of the largest processed food companies got together to discuss the obesity epidemic and how the blame was about to be laid at their feet.  They walked away and decided that they weren't going to do anything about it, whether or not they would be blamed for causing everyone to become Fatty McGhee's.  

The book is split up into several sections - salt, sugar and fat.  Moss goes through the industry leaving no stone unturned to find out what happened when and shows us that the industry cannot survive if they would be made to remove their cheap sugars, hydrogenated fats and synthetic salts.  They would essentially collapse.

It also follows the life of different and interesting people who were giants within the powerhouse companies (like General Mills, Post, Kellogg's, Pepsi-Co, Coca-Cola, etc.).  One man was in the running to be the president of Coca-Cola when he found himself in the middle of a personal sea of upset because of his changing view on the product he was selling, promoting and representing.  He began to have a heart change and realize that what he was doing was wrong and not the best thing for society and the world.  He was one of the most powerful men of all of these companies and he got fired (by a man who was also in the running for president).  He left that industry and started working on something he could believe in: selling baby carrots as snack foods.

As you read this, if you grew up in America throughout the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's or 90's, you will recognize and reflect on the marketing campaigns that were targeted at you and you will get to see their backstory.  You will go behind the scenes to find out what was going on and why the chosen techniques were selected to be marketed at you.  

I remember the commercials for Frosted Lucky Charms (they're magically delicious!), Hi-C (and the big glass pitcher dancing around with children), Gushers, Jiff, Coke, Keebler products (with their little elves in the tree), Juicy Fruit, and "Yipes, stripes!  Fruit Stripe Gum!"  It was the world of sugar.  You get to check out behind the scenes of the marketing arms of the companies who put out the chemicals and how they got away with it.

It's quite a history and with this knowledge you are able to become a more aware consumer.  I would absolutely recommend that you check it out and read it.  You won't look at the processed food industry the same after you do.  And it is written in a style that is easy to tear through - you won't be bored and you'll feel like you're getting insider information (because you are!).

The video is an excerpt about how we got pushed into to eat a zillion jillion pounds of cheese each year.  The narrator is Michael Moss.  This gives you just a glimpse of some of his reporting and research.

Go get it!  Check it out!

Keep on reading,
Ms. Daisy  

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