How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Just a few years back, the interest for home cooked meals was rising, and now it seems that processed foods are all we eat.
What happened? How did we get there?
Who Should Read “Salt Sugar Fat” and Why?
“Salt Sugar Fat” is a book for all people who are just “too busy” to eat home-cooked meals.
Everyone should know what these ingredients are doing to their bodies and their health, and why despite all of their bad effects, they still keep being consumed.
About Michael Moss
Michael Moss is an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who has published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
“Salt Sugar Fat Summary”
How many meals do you have a day?
How many of those meals are made with natural ingredients?
Most probably you eat such a meal very rarely.
Today, we live in a world of processed foods.
The race with time makes us even more addicted to these fast and easy to prepare dishes, which, unfortunately, may be good for our time, but are very bad for our bodies.
Processed foods are filled with sugar, salt and fat, all enemies to our health.
But, how did the world go from home-cooked meals to fast food addiction?
Well, it all started after the World War II, when women started to work, instead of staying home and do house chores.
Working meant that they had less time to spend on housework, including cooking as well.
Another factor was the increased usage of the television, and the existence of many shows people watched, leaving them with yet again less time for preparing dinner.
Food companies noticed this trend and decided to use it to their advantage, by processing convenience foods which are easy and quick to prepare and suited this shift of behavior.
However, the notion of eating home cooked meals was not easy to change because many teachers in high schools were teaching their students how to make them.
In order to decrease the resistance to convenience foods, food companies employed their own teachers, who advocated processed foods by teaching mothers and teachers how to prepare quick and easy meals.
Processed foods had another ace up their sleeve: they contain a huge amount of salt, sugar and fat, which humans love and crave.
The need and love for sugar are biological since in the past, getting quick energy from sugar meant increased chances of survival.
Starch also turns into sugar in our bodies, so we love starchy foods as well, such as pizza.
Nowadays, sugar is everywhere: sodas, breakfast cereals, desserts, sauces, pasta and other meals.
Food companies do not just put it mindlessly though – they keep in mind our built-in limits for craving sugar since, at some point, sugar becomes undesirable.
The first time sugar started being bashed as unhealthy was when it was connected to the common tooth decay in America in the 70s. During the same time, sugar also got linked to diabetes and obesity.
However, although the public became aware of all the dangers of sugar, people continued craving it.
As a result by the end of the 20th century, more than half of the American population was considered overweight, out of which almost a quarter – clinically obese, leading to cases of heart disease and diabetes soaring, as well.
Apart from sugar, the other favorite ingredient of processed-food companies is fat.
The case with fat is the same as the one of sugar – our evolution makes our bodies crave for it.
Yet, there is a huge difference. As we already mentioned, there is a limit to how much sugar we find tasty. When it comes to fat, however, we do not seem to have such a limit.
This can be easily explained by the fact that we do not taste fat, as we do sugar, we can only sense the structure of fatty foods.
This means that most of the time people fail at guessing the fat content of the foods they are eating.
The processed food industry uses this fact to their advantage and loads their foods with fat since it gives items better appearance, texture and longer shelf lives.
Lastly, food industry loves salt!
Salt is different from fat and sugar because it does not contain any calories, but it contains sodium, which essential for the human body to function up to a point, after which it becomes bad for the human’s health.
High intakes of sodium lead to high blood pressure and hypertension.
If food companies know how bad it is, then why do they use it so much?
Well, salt brings out the food’s flavor, increases shelf life and hides unpleasant residue tastes after manufacturing.
As far as the human’s salt “bliss point,” it does exist, although evidence suggests that it can be increased by continually increasing the daily intake of salt.
Lately, there have been many tries to lead people to healthy eating and abandoning processed foods.
However, the results have been disappointing.
And as long as there are people that crave salt, sugar, and salt, there will be companies that produce foods that contain them.
Key Lessons from “Salt Sugar Fat”
Salt does not contain any calories as fat and sugar do, but it contains sodium, which becomes bad for the human’s health when consumed too much – it leads to high blood pressure.
Yet the food industry uses it since it gets rid of the unpleasant taste left after manufacturing and brings out the flavor in the foods.
The cravings for sugar are rooted in biology, since in the past, getting quick energy meant survival. Nowadays, sugar is everywhere.
The first time sugar started being bashed as unhealthy was in America in the 70s. However, although people are aware of all the dangers of sugar, they continue eating it.
When it comes to fat, we do not have a limit of how much is enough. Such is the case because people do not have taste buds for fat, so they actually do not sense how fatty is a certain food.
The food industry adds a lot of fat because it adds texture, it makes the appearance better and prolongs products’ shelf life.
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“Salt Sugar Fat Quotes”They may have salt, sugar, and fat on their side, but we, ultimately, have the power to make choices. After all, we decide what to buy. We decide how much to eat. Click To Tweet Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They've discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine. Click To Tweet Each year, food companies use an amount of salt that is every bit as staggering as it sounds: 5 billion pounds. Click To Tweet The notion that some foods behave like narcotics goes back at least twenty years in scientific circles. Click To Tweet In a key--but commonly overlooked--aspect of obesity, weight gain can be caused by the slightest increases in consumption, if it continues day in and day out. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
This book gives a powerful insight into the three components the processed food industry uses to hook us to their foods, how processed food became part of everyday life, and how our bodies react to it.
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