Commerce and health never a happy marriage make. Michael Moss’ New York Times best-selling book ‘Salt Sugar Fat’ reveals the true source behind America’s rapid, continuing decline in overall health. Moss’ take on the situation offers new insight on the matter. Perhaps our health has not as much to do with which diet you follow or how active you are. Perhaps, it just comes down to the almighty dollar.
What would cause Americans to “eat 33 pounds of cheese and cheese products per year, per person,” at a rate three times higher than they consumed in the 1970s? Moss documents the transformative journey food manufacturers have taken with cheese, topping, sandwiching and drizzling nearly every kind of food with the gooey mess. The book also highlights the food industry’s ability to create entirely new food product lines such as the Kraft Lunchables’ food trays. In effect, the result has been to deconstruct the American diet in favor of rich, calorie-dense foods.
Moss uses more than anecdotal evidence from the world of marketing and food manufacturing. He delves into the science that backs up the addictive nature of salt, sugar and fat, a process sometimes referred to as ‘conditioned hypereating’ by Dr. David A. Kessler and the ‘bliss point’ at the height of the ‘U-shaped pleasure curve.’ One of the author’s central tenets involves the power of marketing, where food manufacturers use slick, appealing ads to drive consumer engagement with processed foods laden with salt, sugar and fat.
The book’s premise ultimately encourages Americans to follow natural health principles: The combination of engaging in an active lifestyle and eating foods in their whole state is a win-win. Americans don’t have succumb to the addictive effects of highly processed foods loaded with salt, sugar and fat, nor misguided marketing claims.
You have a choice. As Moss encourages readers at the end of the book: "After all, we decide what to buy. We decide how much to eat."