From a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the troubling story of the rise of the processed food industry -- and how it used salt, sugar, and fat to addict us.
Salt Sugar Fat is a journey into the highly secretive world of the processed food giants, and the story of how they have deployed these three essential ingredients, over the past five decades, to dominate the North American diet. This is an eye-opening book that demonstrates how the makers of these foods have chosen, time and again, to double down on their efforts to increase consumption and profits, gambling that consumers and regulators would never figure them out. With meticulous original reporting, access to confidential files and memos, and numerous sources from deep inside the industry, it shows how these companies have pushed ahead, despite their own misgivings (never aired publicly). Salt Sugar Fat is the story of how we got here, and it will hold the food giants accountable for the social costs that keep climbing even as some of the industry's own say, "Enough already."
American cuisine is just a delivery system for an addictive trinity of unhealthy ingredients, according to this eye-popping expos of the processed food industry. Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter Moss (Palace Coup) explains the two-faced science of salt, sugar, and fat, which impart tantalizing tastes and luscious mouthfeel that light up the same neural circuits that narcotics do Coca-Cola, he notes, calls favorite customers "heavy users" while causing epidemic obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. But he also crafts an absorbing insiders' view of the food industry, where these ingredients are the main weapons in a brutally competitive war for stomach-share. He takes readers into the laboratories, marketing tests, and boardrooms where the sweet, salty, cheesy "bliss point" of cereals, snacks, sodas, and frozen dinners is obsessively pursued; the scientists and executives he talks to feel torn between health concerns almost to a person, he observes, they avoid eating the food they sell and the market-driven imperative to stoke consumer cravings. Moss's vivid reportage remains alive to the pleasures of junk "the heated fat swims over the tongue to send signals of joy to the brain" while shrewdly analyzing the manipulative profiteering behind them. The result is a mouth-watering, gut-wrenching look at the food we hate to love.