Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
There isn’t a diet I’ve recommended over the years that isn’t low in salt, sugar, and fat (especially bad fats like the trans and saturated kind). But the truth is, these pant-busting ingredients are hard to avoid – possibly harder than you think.
The recent New York Times bestseller, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, tackles this very issue. Its author, Michael Moss, has a lot to say that might really surprise you. I have to say, I was pretty shocked and appalled myself!
Here’s the low down…
Why You May Be Hooked and Not Even Know It
What the big food companies have done with salt, sugar, and fat is basically comparable to what the tobacco companies have done with cigarettes.
According to a number of insider reports, the leading companies in the industry have been aware of the link between these deadly ingredients and obesity for over a decade, but rather than trying to solve the problem, they’ve tried to work around it and use it to their advantage.
Survival tactics have included everything from misleading labels to grocery shelf placement. At the end of the day, the goal is the same, whether we’re talking about cereal, cookies, or chips: Keep people hooked so they keep buying more, health risks aside.
Here are a few ways the food giants get you to buy their salt, sugar, and fat packed products:
- Health-Suggestive Labels – Misleading labels that suggest healthy contents are one of the primary methods to get you hooked. Labels like lean, all-natural, contains whole grains, and contains real fruit juice are some of the most common examples, and while they make things sound healthy, they’re not even close to the whole story. Many foods with such labels are packed full of salt, sugar, and fat.
- Unrealistic Serving Sizes – Ever take a look at servings sizes on nutritional labels? Food companies intentionally make them as small as possible in order to skew your perception of healthy ingredients. The smaller the serving size, the less fat and sugar there appears to be in a particular item, especially at a quick glance. But food companies depend on you eating more than the serving size, which most of us do.
- Grocery Shelf Placement – Think it’s just a coincidence that all the salty, sugary, and fatty foods are at a convenient height on the grocery store shelves? Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at where the healthier, whole food items are placed. Plain oatmeal is usually on the bottom shelf, while all the flavored and sugary brands are right at eye level.
These strategies may sound pretty simple, but they’re incredibly effective. We don’t always have the time to stop and read the labels closely, and let’s face it, it’s hard to pass on our impulses. Big food companies like Kraft, Neslie, and General Mills take advantage of this, and they make a killing off of low-cost, addictive ingredients like sugar, fat, and salt.
How Things Got Out of Control
Today, there are over 300 grocery manufacturers in the United States alone, and grocery sales add up to about a trillion dollars a year! This is a huge industry, and like most industries, the goal is to make a profit, not to regulate and monitor health.
Obesity rates have also skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s no coincidence that we’re now consuming double the recommended intake of salt and about 22 teaspoons of processed sugar every day. This is a problem that’s now out of control, and it’s become a vicious cycle of sorts. The food giants hooked us when we were young, and it’s a constant struggle to avoid these three deadly ingredients.
I strongly recommend checking out Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Educate yourself, and start making smarter choices when it comes to your diet.
Have any questions or feedback about this book review or the truth about salt, sugar, and fat? Please leave a comment below…