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Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Anglais) Broché – 18 février 2014

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Extrait

part one sugar

chapter one

“Exploiting the Biology of the Child”

The first thing to know about sugar is this: Our bodies are hard-wired for sweets.

Forget what we learned in school from that old diagram called the tongue map, the one that says our five main tastes are detected by five distinct parts of the tongue. That the back has a big zone for blasts of bitter, the sides grab the sour and the salty, and the tip of the tongue has that one single spot for sweet. The tongue map is wrong. As researchers would discover in the 1970s, its creators misinterpreted the work of a German graduate student that was published in 1901; his experiments showed only that we might taste a little more sweetness on the tip of the tongue. In truth, the entire mouth goes crazy for sugar, including the upper reaches known as the palate. There are special receptors for sweetness in every one of the mouth’s ten thousand taste buds, and they are all hooked up, one way or another, to the parts of the brain known as the pleasure zones, where we get rewarded for stoking our bodies with energy. But our zeal doesn’t stop there. Scientists are now finding taste receptors that light up for sugar all the way down our esophagus to our stomach and pancreas, and they appear to be intricately tied to our appetites.

The second thing to know about sugar: Food manufacturers are well aware of the tongue map folly, along with a whole lot more about why we crave sweets. They have on staff cadres of scientists who specialize in the senses, and the companies use their knowledge to put sugar to work for them in countless ways. Sugar not only makes the taste of food and drink irresistible. The industry has learned that it can also be used to pull off a string of manufacturing miracles, from donuts that fry up bigger to bread that won’t go stale to cereal that is toasty-brown and fluffy. All of this has made sugar a go-to ingredient in processed foods. On average, we consume 71 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year. That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar, per person, per day. The amount is almost equally split three ways, with the sugar derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and the group of corn sweeteners that includes high-fructose corn syrup (with a little honey and syrup thrown into the mix).

That we love, and crave, sugar is hardly news. Whole books have been devoted to its romp through history, in which people overcame geography, strife, and overwhelming technical hurdles to feed their insatiable habit. The highlights start with Christopher Columbus, who brought sugar cane along on his second voyage to the New World, where it was planted in Spanish Santo Domingo, was eventually worked into granulated sugar by enslaved Africans, and, starting in 1516, was shipped back to Europe to meet the continent’s surging appetite for the stuff. The next notable development came in 1807 when a British naval blockade of France cut off easy access to sugar cane crops, and entrepreneurs, racing to meet demand, figured out how to extract sugar from beets, which could be grown easily in temperate Europe. Cane and beets remained the two main sources of sugar until the 1970s, when rising prices spurred the invention of high-fructose corn syrup, which had two attributes that were attractive to the soda industry. One, it was cheap, effectively subsidized by the federal price supports for corn; and two, it was liquid, which meant that it could be pumped directly into food and drink. Over the next thirty years, our consumption of sugar-sweetened soda more than doubled to 40 gallons a year per person, and while this has tapered off since then, hitting 32 gallons in 2011, there has been a commensurate surge in other sweet drinks, like teas, sports ades, vitamin waters, and energy drinks. Their yearly consumption has nearly doubled in the past decade to 14 gallons a person.

Far less well known than the history of sugar, however, is the intense research that scientists have conducted into its allure, the biology and psychology of why we find it so irresistible.

For the longest time, the people who spent their careers studying nutrition could only guess at the extent to which people are attracted to sugar. They had a sense, but no proof, that sugar was so powerful it could compel us to eat more than we should and thus do harm to our health. That all changed in the late 1960s, when some lab rats in upstate New York got ahold of Froot Loops, the supersweet cereal made by Kellogg. The rats were fed the cereal by a graduate student named Anthony Sclafani who, at first, was just being nice to the animals in his care. But when Sclafani noticed how fast they gobbled it up, he decided to concoct a test to measure their zeal. Rats hate open spaces; even in cages, they tend to stick to the shadowy corners and sides. So Sclafani put a little of the cereal in the brightly lit, open center of their cages—normally an area to be avoided—to see what would happen. Sure enough, the rats overcame their instinctual fears and ran out in the open to gorge.

Their predilection for sweets became scientifically significant a few years later when Sclafani—who’d become an assistant professor of psychology at Brooklyn College—was trying to fatten some rats for a study. Their standard Purina Dog Chow wasn’t doing the trick, even when Sclafani added lots of fats to the mix. The rats wouldn’t eat enough to gain significant weight. So Sclafani, remembering the Froot Loops experiment, sent a graduate student out to a supermarket on Flatbush Avenue to buy some cookies and candies and other sugar-laden products. And the rats went bananas, they couldn’t resist. They were particularly fond of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate bars. They ate so much over the course of a few weeks that they grew obese.

“Everyone who owns pet rats knows if you give them a cookie they will like that, but no one experimentally had given them all they want,” Sclafani told me when I met him at his lab in Brooklyn, where he continues to use rodents in studying the psychology and brain mechanisms that underlie the desire for high-fat and high-sugar foods. When he did just that, when he gave his rats all they wanted, he saw their appetite for sugar in a new light. They loved it, and this craving completely overrode the biological brakes that should have been saying: Stop.

The details of Sclafani’s experiment went into a 1976 paper that is revered by researchers as one of the first experimental proofs of food cravings. Since its publication, a whole body of research has been undertaken to link sugar to compulsive overeating. In Florida, researchers have conditioned rats to expect an electrical shock when they eat cheesecake, and still they lunge for it. Scientists at Princeton found that rats taken off a sugary diet will exhibit signs of withdrawal, such as chattering teeth. Still, these studies involve only rodents, which in the world of science are known to have a limited ability to predict human physiology and behavior.

What about people and Froot Loops?

For some answers to this question, and for most of the foundational science on how and why we are so attracted to sugar, the food industry has turned to a place called the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. It is located a few blocks west of the Amtrak station, in a bland five-story brick building easily overlooked in the architectural wasteland of the district known as University City—except for “Eddy,” the giant sculpture that stands guarding the entrance. Eddy is a ten-foot-high fragment of a face, and he perfectly captures the obsessions of those inside: He is all nose and mouth.

Getting buzzed through the center’s front door is like stepping into a clubhouse for PhDs. The scientists here hang out in the corridors to swap notions that lead to wild discoveries, like how cats are unable to taste sweets, or how the cough that results from sipping a high-quality olive oil is caused by an anti-inflammatory agent, which may prove to be yet another reason for nutritionists to love this oil so much. The researchers at Monell bustle to and from conference rooms and equipment-filled labs and peer through one-way mirrors at the children and adults who eat and drink their way through the center’s many ongoing experiments. Over the last forty years, more than three hundred physiologists, chemists, neuroscientists, biologists, and geneticists have cycled through Monell to help decipher the mechanisms of taste and smell along with the complex psychology that underlies our love for food. They are among the world’s foremost authorities on taste. In 2001, they identified the actual protein molecule, T1R3, that sits in the taste bud and detects sugar. More recently they have been tracking the sugar sensors that are spread throughout the digestive system, and they now suspect that these sensors are playing a variety of key roles in our metabolism. They have even solved one of the more enduring mysteries in food cravings: the marijuana-induced state known as “the munchies.” This came about in 2009 when Robert Margolskee, a molecular biologist and associate director of the center, joined other scientists in discovering that the sweet taste receptors on the tongue get aroused by endocannabinoids—substances that are produced in the brain to increase our appetite. They are chemical sisters to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which may explain why smoking marijuana can trigger hunger pangs. “Our taste cells are turning out to be smarter than we thought, and more involved in regulating our appetites,” Margolskee told me.

The stickiest subject at Monell, however, is not sugar. It’s money. Taxpayers fund about half of the center’s $17.5 million annual budget through federal grants, but much of the rest of its operation comes from the food industry, including the big manufacturers, as well as several tobacco companies. A large golden plaque in the lobby pays homage to PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Nestlé, Philip Morris, among others. It’s an odd arrangement, for sure, one that evokes past efforts by the tobacco industry to buy “research” that put cigarettes in a favorable light. At Monell, the industry funding buys companies a privileged access to the center and its labs. They get exclusive first looks at the center’s research, often as early as three years before the information goes public, and are also able to engage some of Monell’s scientists to conduct special studies for their particular needs. But Monell prides itself on the integrity and independence of its scientists. Some of their work, in fact, is funded with monies from the lawsuits that states brought against the tobacco manufacturers.

“At Monell, scientists choose their research projects based solely on their own curiosity and interests and are deeply committed to the pursuit of fundamental knowledge,” the center said in response to my questions about its financial structure. Indeed, as I would discover, though Monell receives industry funding, some of its scientists sound like consumer activists when they speak about the power their benefactors wield, especially when it comes to children.

This tension between the industry’s excitement about the research at Monell and the center’s own unease about the industry’s practices dates back to some of the center’s earliest research on our taste buds—based on age, sex, and race. Back in the 1970s, researchers at Monell discovered that kids and African Americans were particularly keen on foods that were salty and sweet. They gave solutions of varying sweetness and saltiness to a group of 140 adults and then to a group of 618 children aged nine to fifteen, and the kids were found to like the highest level of sweet and salty—even more than the adults. Twice as many kids as adults chose the sweetest and saltiest solutions. (This was the first scientific proof of what parents, watching their kids lunge for the sugar bowl at the breakfast table, already knew instinctively.) The difference among adults was less striking but still significant: More African Americans chose the sweetest and saltiest solutions.

One of Monell’s sponsors, Frito-Lay, was particularly interested in the salt part of the study, since the company made most of its money on salty chips. Citing Monell’s work in a 1980 internal memo, a Frito-Lay food scientist summed up the finding on kids and added, “Racial Effect: It has been shown that blacks (in particular, black adolescents) displayed the greatest preference for a high concentration of salt.” The Monell scientist who did this groundbreaking study, however, raised another issue that reflected his anxiety about the food industry. Kids didn’t just like sugar more than adults, this scientist, Lawrence Greene, pointed out in a paper published in 1975. Data showed they were actually consuming more of the stuff, and Greene suggested there might be a chicken-and-egg issue at play: Some of this craving for sugar may not be innate in kids but rather is the result of the massive amounts of sugar being added to processed foods. Scientists call this a learned behavior, and Greene was one of the first to suggest that the increasingly sweet American diet could be driving the desire for more sugar, which, he wrote, “may or may not correspond to optimum nutritional practices.”

In other words, the sweeter the industry made its food, the sweeter kids liked their food to be.

I wanted to explore this idea a bit more deeply, so I spent some time with Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist who first came to Monell in 1988. In graduate school, she had studied maternal behavior in animals and realized that no one was examining the influence that food and flavors had on women who were mothers. She joined Monell to answer a set of unknowns about food. Do the flavors of the food you eat transmit to your milk? Do they transmit to amniotic fluid? Do babies develop likes and dislikes for foods even before they are born?

“One of the most fundamental mysteries is why we like the foods that we do,” Mennella said. “The liking of sweet is part of the basic biology of a child. When you think of the taste system, it makes one of the most important decisions of all: whether to accept a food. And, once we do, to warn the digestive system of impending nutrients. The taste system is our gatekeeper and one of the research approaches has been to take a developmental route, to look from the beginning—and what you see is that children are living in different sensory worlds than you and I. As a group, they prefer much higher levels of sweet and salt, rejecting bitter more than we do. I would argue that part of the reason children like high levels of sweet and salt is a reflection of their basic biology.”

Revue de presse

“As a feat of reporting and a public service, Salt Sugar Fat is a remarkable accomplishment.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Michael] Moss has written a Fast Food Nation for the processed food industry. Burrowing deep inside the big food manufacturers, he discovered how junk food is formulated to make us eat more of it and, he argues persuasively, actually to addict us.”—Michael Pollan
 
“If you had any doubt as to the food industry’s complicity in our obesity epidemic, it will evaporate when you read this book.”The Washington Post
 
“Vital reading for the discerning food consumer.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Propulsively written [and] persuasively argued . . . an exactingly researched, deeply reported work of advocacy journalism.”The Boston Globe
 
“[An] eye-popping exposé . . . 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.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Revelatory . . . a shocking, galvanizing manifesto against the corporations manipulating nutrition to fatten their bottom line—one of the most important books of the year.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“What happens when one of the country’s great investigative reporters infiltrates the most disastrous cartel of modern times: a processed food industry that’s making a fortune by slowly poisoning an unwitting population? You get this terrific, powerfully written book, jammed with startling disclosures, jaw-dropping confessions and, importantly, the charting of a path to a better, healthier future. This book should be read by anyone who tears a shiny wrapper and opens wide. That’s all of us.”—Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President
 
“In this meticulously researched book, Michael Moss tells the chilling story of how the food giants have seduced everyone in this country. He understands a vital and terrifying truth: that we are not just eating fast food when we succumb to the siren song of sugar, fat, and salt. We are fundamentally changing our lives—and the world around us.”—Alice Waters
 
Salt Sugar Fat is a breathtaking feat of reporting. Michael Moss was able to get executives of the world’s largest food companies to admit that they have only one job—to maximize sales and profits—and to reveal how they deliberately entice customers by stuffing their products with salt, sugar, and fat. This is a truly important book, and anyone reading it will understand why food corporations cannot be trusted to value health over profits and why we all need to recognize and resist food marketing every time we grocery shop or vote.”—Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and What to Eat

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Par Al B le 18 novembre 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The book kept me on the edge of my chair and flowed very smoothly as a read. The research was excellent and revealed the fact that food industry executives pretty uniformly didn't eat their own products, because of the ill effects they had on their bodies. So, one can simple see that even they know.

The other point is the rationalization that is made when profit is at stake - "that's what the people want." It's just about as bad as intentionally hooking a drug addict with a habit and saying that's what they want - it's quite close to the same argument. The intense "science" that goes into hooking the population, the relish that major food company execs have for "heavy users" was amazing to see.

What this book points out to me is that the overall model of society is a bit off. That may be an understatement. The fact that any company pushing so hard on products that are so bad is just at cross purposes with the overall survival of the human race - if you really look at it. What's good for them is bad for us is not a correct scenario by any stretch of the imagination.

So, really what I see is that the entire social model needs to be rethought, and we as a race of people, across the entire planet have to align our efforts toward survival of us all. And don't say it can't be done - anything we can conceive we can very definitely create - but it will take a brush with death (unfortunately and that's my cold, hard opinion. I am very willing to be wrong on it...) to get the entire race to team up and look at this as a team.

So, the deeper implications of this book stare us in the face if we care to look. The paradigm must shift and non confront is just not going to work if we are to survive as more that just force fed droids.
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*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, April 16.

You open up a bag of chips intending to eat only a few handfuls. You find the chips tasting quite good, and a few handfuls turns into a few more. Just one more… o.k., last one… definitely the last one. A few minutes later you find yourself staring down at an empty bag. Then your stomach starts to hurt—then your heart. The guilt isn’t far behind. Who among us hasn’t experienced this at one time or another? This is junk food in a nutshell: it tastes great (practically irresistible) and is very convenient, but if you indulge too much (which sometimes seems all too easy), it’s not too good for you. All of this has an easy explanation, it’s right there on the label: impressive portions of salt, sugar and fat, the junk food trifecta. Each has its own appeal, and each is very inexpensive (which explains why it’s in our food), but over the years each has also been implicated in some of our most common and serious conditions and diseases, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Unfortunately, the junk food trifecta is not only popping up in our junk food, it is increasingly being featured in virtually all of the processed foods that we eat—from chips and soda, to canned food and prepared meals, to cake and ice-cream. And as salt, sugar and fat have become more common in the foods that we eat, the conditions and illnesses associated with their abuse have reached epidemic proportions. In his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us journalist Michael Moss takes us behind the labels and explores the history and practices of the processed food industry—a story that features the rise of salt, sugar and fat, and the deterioration of our health.
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Un excellent document sur les dangers de la malbouffe sucre sel graisse il est très bien écrit et très bien documenté
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8dca5798) étoiles sur 5 971 commentaires
689 internautes sur 721 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8db6a78c) étoiles sur 5 Fascinating and Readable, Moss Has Made An Intriguing and Terrifying Food-Industry "Biography" aka "How We Got Into This Me$$" 31 janvier 2013
Par Mir - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I really want you, my fellow American, maybe my fellow tubby American (yes, I've lost a bunch of weight, but I'm still XL) to read this book. Before I review the contents, a note and a couple prefaces, ok?

Note to folks thinking this is a diet or cooking type book: It's not. It is exactly what the subtitle suggests: "How the Food Giants Hooked Us." It's about how foods are made to take you to the sugar bliss point, to the higher fat realms of food pleasure, and so on. How we got these manufactured products Americans can't seem to stop guzzling and munching...and that have led to us being the fattest nation on the planet. Just know that. It might help you diet (opens your eyes to the scary "food" out there), but it's an investigative work within historical context. And it rocks.

Personal Preface 1: So, I've not requested a Vine book for review in, pshaw, a couple years. But I saw THIS one and had to have it. Yes, I got it free. No, I don't hand out five stars just for the heck of it. If I hated it, it would get 1 star.

Personal Preface 2: Food and health issues are key to me these days. I read labels, and I read science reports, and I read nutrition blogs, and I have found I need to eschew many packaged foods. To lose 115 lbs, I pretty much stopped eating out of cans/boxes/fast food places, period. I cooked simple foods the old-fashioned way, adding my own salt and fat and minimizing sugars. I chose dine-out carefully (since restaurants oversalt, oversweeten, and pretty much do on a smaller basis what Food Giants do, just with fresher ingredients mostly). THE END OF OVEREATING by Kessler was the single-most eye-opening book for me in my quest to heal my food issues in a society where we've gone pretty insane with what we do to food. That one also included some of the scientific and food corporations tactic info that Moss does in this.

The difference? Kessler is more clinical and dry. But he emphasizes how hyperpalatable foods (those with optimal mixes of salt/fat/sugar) make us overeat. Be we rats or humans, it sends signals to the brain's reward centers that can be hard to overcome.

~~~Now, SALT SUGAR FAT Review:

For a book containing a lot of business and science information, SALT SUGAR FAT is delightfully readable. The style is clean, smart, and has great narrative drive. Moss knows how to write. Here, he writes about how Food Giants maneuver around the boons and drawbacks of sugar, salt, and fat in order to make us want their products, and want them A LOT. Get a front seat ride to see how the tireless competition for our grocery dollars affects what's in the food you eat and how what's in the food products affects you and me, the consumers. Our health, waist size, time, perceptions, expectations, desires.

Convenience pops up a lot. Society's rapid changes--particularly women in the work force--have revolutionized how we use and view food/eating. Fast is good. Fast and easy is better. Fast and easty and tasty is best. Moss shows the industry responses and proaction, decade by decade, company by company, product by product, via uses of each of the focus ingredients: SALT SUGAR FAT. They learn how each drives us, and then use that to create dependencies. We get hooked on the fast, the easy, the sugary, the fatty, the salty.

Moss's access to key information sources is amazing. He conducted hundreds of interviews, but what really matters is that he interviewed people who themselves were players in the story: folks in high positions, with access to the developments/changes/decision-makers. Some WERE the decision makers. He's clearly had access to confidential documentation. He's also done his homework to get the pertinent and sometimes surprising background on his ingredients (salt, sugar, fat) and the motivations and the how-it-was-done. The why comes down to $$$, of course.

I am not surprised this guy has a Pulitzer Prize to his credit. His narrative of the history of our "Food Giants"--from the early starts of the cereal makers (and their own cereal wars) to the start of the cheese dynasty that is Kraft and others--hooks you. The number and scope of scientists and former executives is stunning--and necessary to obtain not just the outcomes (those foods, those marketing campaigns), but the process. It's really a page-turner.

While the book is SALT SUGAR FAT, the arrangement of the sections is actually SUGAR, FAT, SALT.

We start with the sweet. You're gonna learn about the bliss point and why cereals got to be up to 3/4 sugar. And you're gonna learn about some pretty deceptive practices to make moms/parents feel good about the mostly sugar water that gets targeted to kids. You're gonna learn some of the stuff you were taught about your taste buds is out of date. You're gonna get walked through the history--the creators, the competition, the labs and kitchens, the ad campaigns, the consumer reactions--so that it's like this dance that has some dire consequences for some and some mighty plump bottom lines for others. The soda industry information was super interesting to me, especially since I've given up soda except for an occasional Zevia or Coke Zero (the Coke I really wanted since I was 20 and out to lose some poundage, the one that actually kinda tasted like Coke).

You'll learn that we don't have a bliss point for fat, rather, we want more and like more. More and more. There's a reason for the explosion of cheese-accented or cheese-flavored or cheese-loaded products. The story behind that is weird and spellbinding. Maybe because my single fave protein source is cheese. :D I'm a bona fide cheesehead. Cutting back on that was the HARDEST. Harder than sugar. There are still some intriguing mysteries about fat for science to puzzle out, but what he presents is cool enough.

The segment on the creation and success of LUNCHABLES could have been so dull in another writer's hands, but Moss makes it practically enthralling. (Or maybe I just like these case histories.) Possibly because so much of this is about solving problems--raising the question then delineating the way to fail or succeed in making the product that serves consumer needs and feeds the bottom line.

What comes off as most disturbing is how powerful these corporations are, more than even I realized, and I read a lot. How they can fend off gov't control or squash activism. How they learn about our preferences and how they know and can use human psychological vulnerabilities. How infants and kids are especially vulnerable to the messages and products. What the young learn to like early--that affects tastes for life. The Food Giants also hire masters at manipulation, the ad folks, who can make a parent feel comfortable giving their kid a product that, if they whipped it up at home, ingredient by ingredient, would be tossed down the drain as nutrient-void swill by any responsible adult. It's scary and fascinating, both.

But awareness is the first step to making real changes. The public has to know so the public says "enough of that." This book is important as a building block of public awareness.

We hear it all the time from dietitians and nutritionists: We eat too little fresh produce. We consume too much sugar. Too much salt. Too much bad fats.

Food can be manipulated to be as addictive as narcotics. Fiddle with the sugar, fat, and salt content. Voila--"heavy users" are born.

Well, read this book and find out who controls what gets created for supermarkets. Learn some reasons why we're in a modern obesity epidemic. See how labeled ingredients can fool you.

Then go buy some produce and fresh protein sources and whole grains and eat real food you make in your own kitchen where YOU moderate the use of SALT SUGAR FAT. It's less convenient than a full meal heated up in 4 minutes, and it may make a kid light up less with glee to eat an orange than to drink a fake orange-flavored "fruit beverage," but it might save the next generation's health.

Read. Get scared. Take back control. :D
227 internautes sur 246 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d9f97bc) étoiles sur 5 The Bliss Point Will kill you 26 février 2013
Par Elizabeth - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I thought this book was amazing! I consider myself to be a fairly healthy eater. I like fruits and vegetables and try to stay away from too much processed food. However, after reading this book I have even more of a commitment from staying away from any food that was developed in a laboratory. The author is not preachy. He is not advocating for a certain diet. I have been turned off by other authors such as Michael Pollan who seem to be pushing eating rules on people that are not practical. Instead, Moss has set himself the task of investigating how the processed food giants, including Kraft, Kellog's and others, have relied on the three pillars of Salt, Sugar and Fat to seduce people into eating the maximum amount of processed foods.
The author is the journalist who first cracked open the "pink slime" meat scandal and the depth of his investigative journalism is really impressive. It seems that he has spoken with scores of researchers, marketers and financial officers of the processed food companies in order to learn about things such as the invention of the Lunchable, as a way to sell more processed meats, and the growth of cheese from a food meant to be savored on its own into an ingredient that is shoved into a million different kinds of food.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in nutrition, or in the business of food. I would also recommend it to anyone who is looking for a push to close up the bag of chips or give up a soda habit.
334 internautes sur 389 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8db6a348) étoiles sur 5 Id like to buy the world a book 26 février 2013
Par David Wineberg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
For decades, I have been referring to the title of this book as America's three basic food groups. Salt, sugar and fat are the most abundant additives in food, and their effects are cumulative - the more we eat them, the more we can eat them, and the more want to eat them, so the more we eat them. The result is pandemic obesity and its further unintended consequences - miserable chronic diseases in an age just when we thought we were overcoming them forever. This irony goes unexplored, but the book is packed with evidence of it.

The convenience of processed foods fits with our hurried society. It exacerbates the death of family meals, and encourages eating anywhere, anytime, and basically all day long. That by itself is enough to damn the industry, if traditional family values mean anything. Far more damaging than gay marriage, or abortion, or sexting, processed foods are destroying us, literally, physically. For hundreds of millions of Americans (and soon the world), this is normal. It is the way of life. There are no viable alternatives. This too, however, goes unexplored.

Moss divides the book into the three sections of its title. It contains the usual litany of incredible statistics - like how much of these ingredients the average American ingests annually, and how many billions of pounds the processors produce, but also some interesting developments on the way to perdition:

-Food processors call their customers users, like the drug addicts they want them to become.
-The "bliss point" is used by all of them to scientifically maximize the sugar effect along a bell curve. It allows food engineers to calculate how much sugar a child blisses out on compared to an adult, for example.
-Cereal makers spend twice as much on advertising as on ingredients.
-A child wanting cake for breakfast inspired Pop Tarts and its ilk. A whole new kind of meal evolved.
-Big Gulp, the 64 oz soda that New York's mayor is trying to ban, contains 41 teaspoons of sugar.
-Salt is a learned addiction. Newborns wince if you give them salt. But by six months they've accepted it, and for the rest of their lives they crave it. We start `em off young.
-Cheese used to be a food - an appetizer in the US, a dessert in Europe. Now it is an ingredient, and we put cheese in and on everything. We have tripled consumption to 33lb since the 70s.
-The cheese plague is the result of the Reagan administration's buying up and stockpiling excess cheese. The government bought it, marketed it, and provided it. Now it is normal to have cheese on everything, at every meal and snack. It's difficult to find any meal without it. "Healthy" salads come with cheese.
-Sugar is the methamphetamine of processed food ingredients; fat is the opiate. Perfectly legal drugs.

An interesting sidelight is Finland, where the government won. It mandated large bold labels "High In Salt", like cigarette warnings. The result has been an 80% reduction in heart attacks and strokes. In the US, the processors beat back the FDA and the USDA again and again.

The most disgusting food in the book comes from celebrity cook (and now diabetic patient) Paula Deen, who recommends taking a casserole of Kraft Mac & Cheese, scooping it into balls, wrapping the balls in bacon, and dropping them in the deep fryer. That's 0 for 4.

The book left two indelible impressions: the industry will do absolutely anything to beat back regulators. Health, untested chemical compounds, overeating, obesity - never even enter their equation, and the processors won't be told otherwise. Their freedom to poison Americans at will is all that matters. Now that Americans are nearing saturation, the processors are taking on the world. Obesity in Mexico is comparable to the US, and Brazil and India are being worked intensely.

Second was the overarching momentum and effort to overwhelm the consumer that make us think this is normal, this is right, this is exciting, this is ideal. Two hundred choices of sweet breakfast cereal mean you must choose from among them, or why would they be there? To overwhelm us into consuming more, they mobilize as armed forces, saturating stores and neighborhoods with pretend foods that do far more harm than good. The industry is on autopilot and is out of control. Their intensity is fearsome. This is war.

On the plus side, Sugar Fat Salt is enormously well researched. No lead, no document seems to have been too insignificant to follow up and interview the writer. Visits to executives, to factories, to stores, to conventions - all make the book comprehensive, thorough and fair. This is due in no small part to the interviewees themselves, who came to the conclusion on their own that what they were designing and selling was bad for living beings. Often, Moss found they were working to undo what they had done to the world. And they were, as he admits, incredibly open and generous with their time. It shows.

On the minus side, for all the evidence, the book draws no conclusions. There is no prescription, no way out. Moss does not call for the investigation, dismantling or regulation of anything. The facts he found are left to speak for themselves. The book simply ends.

Also on the minus side, Moss sometimes takes forever to deliver a fact. He'll foreshadow it in one paragraph, then spend several sentences describing some office building or scene before finally delivering the fact you were expecting. I guess he thinks he's adding color, but at 400 pages, Sugar Fat Salt could use a little pruning of its own.

The relentless pounding of the consumer is replicated by relentless pounding in the book. Case after case of singleminded efforts to get users hooked, of the thoughtless ruination of perfectly good foods that need chemical compounds to make them palatable again, and of the constant pressure to cut costs and increase sales are depressing insights into what's wrong with the food industry.

It's both insulting and sad, not to mention infuriating. The solution is as obvious as it is fantasy: people should steer clear of these poisons.

In the words of fitness buff Jack Lalane - if man made it, don't take it.

David Wineberg
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8db77a68) étoiles sur 5 29 Reasons Salt, Sugar, & Fat will never go away. Processed Food is Killing You: Cook At Home 30 août 2013
Par Alice Friedemann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
When the food industry talks about you, the consumer, they think of you as their "stomach share" and try to sweet talk you into eating more. Evidently they're succeeding, since two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

The main way they do this is by cramming the most addictive food substance, sugar - which lights up your brain very much like cocaine - and also Fat and Salt, which are nearly as addictive. These Big 3 ingredients in processed food are the main cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemic, as well as many of the early deaths from heart disease and stroke, hypertension, gall-bladder disease, osteoarthritis, breast cancer, colon cancer, uterine cancer, etc.

Addiction is a main theme in this book, since most people have no idea how addictive sugar, fat, and salt are.

Processed food "drug dealers" spend an immense amount of money to get you addicted. Frito-Lay has almost 500 chemists, psychologists, and technicians paid $30 million a year to do research to hook you on their products. They even have a $40,000 machine that duplicates a chewing mouth to perfect their chips by finding the perfect break point (which is exactly 4 pounds of pressure per square inch). Another 10,000 salesmen are making sure store shelves are well-stocked with their addictive wares (p 321). Nestle's research team of 700 staff has 350 scientists and they also collaborate with other institutions (p 332).

The biggest revelation of this book is that food processors can't lower the amount of sugar, fat, and salt. The only way this could happen is if the government required it (as most European governments do to protect their people).

Fat chance of that happening in the United States!

Below are 29 reasons why food processors (and restaurants) will never lower or get rid of excessive amounts of sugar, fat and salt.

Reason #1: Wall Street goes ballistic over health initiatives & anti-obesity campaigns

- Wall Street drives the price of a company's stock down at news of a health or anti-obesity campaign, because they know customers will buy less of their product(s) if the fat, sugar, and salt are lowered.
- Kraft's anti-obesity initiative versus Morgan Stanley, Prudential securities, & 17% stock price plunge (p 257)
- When Campbell's soup announced that they'd be adding more salt to their soups, "Wall Street appreciated that Campbell was now going in what it saw as the right direction. The company's stock price closed up 1.3% that day". (pp 300-301).
- Frito-Lay assured Wall Street in private meetings that their market testing of low-fat chips to satisfy the growing outcry against the obesity epidemic was just a small part of their strategy to make snacks a larger part of the American diet (p 322).
- Frito Lay & PepsiCo hosted a 2 day meeting with analysts from Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, etc., that included a private box at Yankee stadium to court Wall Street (p 322)
- "Food companies are deeply obligated toward their shareholders...Making money is the sole reason they exist--or so says Wall Street...Indeed, some experts believe that Wall Street was one of the chief causes of the obesity epidemic..." page 338.

Why Food companies will NEVER get rid of sugar:

1) Sugar both sweetens adds bulk and texture
2) Sugar makes the taste of food and drink irresistible
3) Sugar is cheap and is substituted for more expensive ingredients
4) It's essential to make food safe weeks or even months after they were made.
5) Sugar makes food look better: donuts full of sugar fry up bigger. Cookies, crackers, and breads without sugar are "shrunken, pale, flat, or distended". Sugar gives candy bulk, texture, and crystallization
6) Bread with a lot of extra sugar takes longer to go stale
7) Cereal with lots of sugar is crunchier, fluffier and a pleasing shade of brown
8) Fructose: adds to long shelf life, doesn't form crystals so soft cookies don't harden, when baked mimics the finish you'd get if cooking at home, if frozen resists turning into ice, and it's much sweeter than table sugar. More research needs to be done, but a U.C. Davis study found fructose & corn syrup raised LDL cholesterol and triglycerides 25% (but not glucose).
9) Did you know that the starch in potato chips might as well be sugar - it's absorbed faster than sugar, and according to Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health "this causes the glucose levesl in the blood to spike, and this is a concern, in relation to obesity". P 329.

Why Food companies will NEVER get rid of fat:

1) Lowering fat can diminish taste or texture and lower sales (p 152)
2) Fat is very cheap ingredient (p152)
3) There can never be too much fat in a product, since fat is so pleasing that the brain doesn't send a "stop eating" signal. The more fat, the better (p158)
4) A combination of fat and sugar is the most irresistible, plus sugar makes the fat content undetectable, so people keep on eating. So to cram more cheap fat into a product, all that needs to be done is add some sugar and people won't even realize the food is high fat. So the only way fat can be reduced is to crank the sugar level up (pp158-159)
5) There's no funding for low-fat alternatives. A brand manager has a limited budget. So for example, to develop a low fat peanut butter might cost $5 million, plus $40 million to test it, and if it doesn't work, you'd lose your job (p 201)
6) Fat gives mouth feel to corn chips, crackers, ice cream, and cookies.
7) When a company lowers salt, sugar, or fat, they lose "stomach share" to companies that don't, i.e. Lunchables with less fat sold poorly, added carrot and apple slices wilted and turned brown because it takes weeks for food to be make it to grocery store shelves (yecch!) so they were removed.

Occasionally I see stories that it's okay to eat a lot of salt. On page 304, Moss mentions that Frito Lay hired "experts" to badmouth studies linking salt to high blood pressure and write about the harms of too little salt, plus paid for research to cure the harmful effects of sodium.

So I don't know if these stories are true, or if it's a tobacco / climate change denier "Merchants of Doubt" strategy, or if it's partly true -- okay if you're young and healthy.

But there's an undeniable connection between too much salt and high blood pressure, which can lead to congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, kidney disease, and strokes. The reason is that when you eat a lot of salt, the sodium pulls fluids from your tissues into your blood, and the increased volume of blood makes your heart pump harder, resulting in high blood pressure. Most of the salt people get is from processed food, not the salt shaker at home.

Salt max/day: 1,500 mg salt if you have high blood pressure, 2,300 if you don't. Average consumed now: 3,500-4,000 mg

Why Food companies will NEVER get rid of salt:

1) Salt's greatly intensifies and enhances the taste and aroma of food
2) Salt's often cheaper than water. The very definition of processed food is cheap ingredients (and no fiber).
3) Salt extends the shelf life of food
4) Salt makes sugar taste sweeter
5) Salt adds crunch to crackers and other products
6) Without salt, sugar, and/or fat, food tastes like straw or cardboard, and it's bitter, metallic, and astringent.
7) Salt hides bitter flavors
8) Moss writes: "Without salt, processed food companies cease to exist". (p 292)
9) Any product with meat must have salt to avoid what the industry calls Warmed over Flavor (WOF), when meat is reheated after precooking (i.e. soups, boxed meals, etc). The taste has been described as damp dog hair, and people can smell and taste WOF at very low levels. WOF is also associated with a bad texture that is so objectionable people spit the food out.
10) WOF could be cured with healthy, nutritious, fresh spices, but herbs are more expensive than salt. Campbell's soup asked Moss to consider that adding herbs to replace salt would cost more, and who would pay for that? (p 300).
11) There's even more salt than you realize: dozens of sodium chemicals are added to delay spoilage, bind the ingredients, keep mixtures glued together, etc. Here are some of the additional salts to look for on the label: monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate.
12) Salt is engineered for products. Cargill makes 1.7 Billion pounds of 40 kinds of salt per year: smashed, ground, pulverized, flaked, large granules, etc. Their popcorn salt is designed to cling to popcorn. A very fine powdered salt is used in processed meat and cheese. Non-caking salt is used in dry soup, cereal and flour. Their "flavor burst" salt has a unique shape that dissolves 3 times as fast as regular salt and gives your brain an immediate jolt of salty flavor.

Some companies keep their best selling products unchanged to give the customer (and Wall Street) what they want, and also make a "healthier" version, though if you know how to read labels you'll find that the "healthy" product isn't as much so as it would appear to be.

Red meat: 18 ounces/week is okay. There is no safe level of consumption for processed meats - for every 1.7 ounces of processed meats eaten per day your risk of colorectal cancer goes up by 21%

Addiction

Taste receptors light up for sugar not just on our mouth and tongue, but all the way from the esophagus to the stomach and pancreas.
Sugar addiction: kids all over the world like food with sugar twice as sweet as adults do.
Fat is equally addictive according to the latest brain studies (p 149).
The food industry adds more and more sugar to kid's food. Today's kids may expect, and want food to be sweeter than they otherwise would have when they grow up. Food scientist Danielle Reed says the food industry isn't just adding calories with all this sugar, "they're impacting the health of that child" when they manipulate and exploit children's higher cravings for sugar and salt.
Companies spend millions trying to get the "bliss point" of their products just right - with just the right amount of sugar, not too much, not too little.

White flour: a chemical-laden nutrition-free & fiber-free starch/sugar

White flour is almost a sugar since it quickly converts to a sugar in your mouth. Your saliva has lots of amylase enzyme that immediately breaks it down into a sugar (p 14).

Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to get food makers to voluntarily lower the salt in their food. Breads and rolls had an average of 139 mg of sodium per ounce and Bloomberg asked for the level to be lowered to 103 mg. (p 297)

What Moss doesn't know about is why food made with white flour that has no salt, sugar, or fat tastes bad. My posts on Kessler's "The End of Overeating" and "Chemicals added to White Flour" at wholegrainalice explain why in more detail, but basically it's because white flour has had nearly all of the flavor and nutrition stolen after the bran & germ are removed. That leaves nothing but a tasteless which no longer behaves like flour, so up to 30 chemicals are added, and these chemicals give flour a bad taste with metallic and bitter flavors. Bakers have no choice but to add a lot of salt, sugar, and fat to hide these off flavors, a great deal more than people realize.

Walter Willett, in Harvard's nutrition department accuses them of stripping away the nutritional value of food - most grains have been converted to starches. You may already know that starch is just a short step away from being sugar.

It's ironic that Kellogg cereal is so full of sugar, because the founder John Harvey Kellogg was a health nut who ran a sanitarium where sugar was banned. He fed his patients a roasted grain flaky concoction he'd invented that they liked well enough, but when his brother Will began adding sugar to the mix after he'd gone out of town, they came back for second and third helpings. John was furious, so Will left and started up a factory making his cereal, and it wasn't long before a former guest at the sanitarium, C. W. Post started a competing company. It wasn't long until cereals were half sugar and even 70% sugar and by all rights ought to be in the candy aisle.

Random disgusting facts

Yoplait yogurt has twice as much sugar per serving as Lucky Charms "cloyingly sweet, marshmallow-filled" cereal (p xiii)
By 1960 over 1,500 chemical additives were being added to food
More than any product, sugary drinks are responsible for the obesity crisis, which began with super-sizing of Coca-Cola and other sodas. By 1997 Americans drank 54 gallons of soda a year, double the amount of 1970.
Two-thirds of the sugar in American's diet comes from processed food and therefore a lot of America's dental decay
Processed and restaurant foods account for more than three-quarters of all sodium.
Reducing sodium levels in processed and restaurant foods by 50 percent would save 150,000 lives a year
It wasn't the FDA, FTC, or USDA that alerted the public to all the sugar in processed food - it was two dentists (p73-74).
Philip Morris, masters of getting people addicted to tobacco, own Kraft & General Foods, where they use that expertise to addict people to processed food
Processed Cheese: There's no cheese in Cheez Whiz or Velveeta (p162, 166)
Winner of one of the most disgusting recipes I've ever heard of: Paula Deen's bacon-wrapped balls of macaroni and cheese deep-fried in oil (p 178)
Lunchables were invented because Oscar Meyer was desperate to sell bologna and other processed meats, which people were consuming less as they became aware of the health hazards
"Pink Slime": ammonia-processed beef from the parts of cows most exposed to feces with E. coli that used to go towards pet food or tallow but became a favorite of fast-food hamburger chains and the school lunch program (226-7).
Nestlé's snack "Hot Pocket" has over 100 ingredients including salt, sugar, and fat several times over (with alternative names). Each had the daily limit of saturated fat and salt, and 6 teaspoons of sugar - more than the average woman should eat and 2/3 of a man's daily intake. These have a shelf life of 420 days.

Manipulation

Cereal makers spend twice as much on advertising as they do on the ingredients in the cereal
Young kids are so gullible that they can't understand commercials aren't true, or understand how much they're being influenced. The average 1979 child saw 20,000 commercials between 2 and 11, half for sweetened foods (p 80).
The ads targeted at children were: 3,832 sugary cereals, 1,627 candy & gum, 841 cookies & crackers, 582 fruit drinks, 184 cakes, pies, & desserts. 4: unsweetened food (i.e. meat, fish, or vegetable juice).
Babies do NOT like salt until they're 6 months old, but salt is put into baby food to get them to crave salt as soon as possible, because once they're taught to like salt it has a deep and lasting effect on what they eat the rest of their life (pp 279-281).
Coke's strategy: Emotional. Sell cola where special moments happen - ball parks, beaches, always within arm's reach, ubiquitous.
Put images of fruit and the word fruit on packages even if there's little or no fruit at all in the product (i.e. Kool-Aid, Tang, Capri Sun).
"Fruit Drinks" have juice concentrate, which is "entirely devoid of fiber, flavors, aromas or any other attribute of real fruit". It's just another kind of sugar, equally lacking in nutrition.
The last thing industrial food makers want is for you to feel full, then you'll stop eating. They've discovered that big distinct flavors are easily detected by the brain and signals are sent back that you're full quickly. So food makers are careful to add flavors that tantalize you but not enough to make you satiated.
Pages 62 through 67 describe how home economics classes in schools went from teaching how to make healthy food from scratch to using commercial products so that when girls grew up, they'd continue to eat processed food.
Food researchers now use fMRI brain wave studies to find out what you really like because brain waves are more reliable than what people say.
Food companies add and tout the one good ingredient they've put in and hope you'll overlook all the bad stuff that's there as well.
Kellogg claimed that eating frosted mini-wheat cereal improved children's attentiveness by nearly 20%. Not true (pp 90-93)

Tip

Cheese should be served in very small portions as a special treat like it used to be, not as an ingredient in food. The same for chocolate truffles or any food high in fat and calories: eat them in small amounts directly so they can be savored.

Miscellaneous

Some researchers think we don't eat for pleasure so much as to avoid the more painful feeling of true hunger pain, even though we can easily go without food for a day with no problem. So at the first sign of hunger, we eat. Our bodies make us feel lousy if we don't, and our fear of hunger is so deeply rooted.

Sugar max/day: 5 tsp. women, 9 tsp men. Average consumed now: 22 tsp/day

100 names for sugar (from thefoodlabelmovement.org)

Agave nectar, Barbados sugar, Birch sugar, Barley malt, Barley malt syrup, Beet sugar, Brown rice syrup, Brown sugar, Coconut sugar, Cane juice, Cane sugar, Carbitol, Caramel coloring, Concentrated fruit juice, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Date sugar, Dextrin, Dextrose, Disaccharides, Evaporated cane juice, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Fructose, Fruit juice concentrate, Galactose, Glucitol, Glucosamine, Gluconolactone, Glucose, Glucose polymers, Glucose syrup, Glycerine, Glycerol, Glycol, Hexitol, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Inverse syrup, Inversol, Invert sugar, Isomalt, Karo syrup, Lactose, Levulose, "Light" sugar, "Lite" sugar, Malitol, Malt dextrin, Malted barley, Maltodextrin, Maltodextrose, Maltose, Malt, Mannitol, Mannose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Monosaccarides, Neotame, Pentose, Polydextrose, Powdered sugar, Raisin juice, Raisin syrup, Raw sugar, Ribose rice syrup, Rice malt, Rice sugar, Rice sweetener, Rice syrup solids, Saccharides, Sorbitol, Sorghum, Sucanat, Sucrose, Sugar cane, Tagatose, Trisaccharides, Turbinado sugar, Unrefined sugar, White sugar, Xylitol, Xylose

Conclusion

Moss interviewed hundreds of people for his book, and they nearly all said that the food industry will not give up salt, sugar, and fat without a major fight because they're the very foundation of processed food. He heard this from chemists, nutritionists, marketing executives, CEOs, lobbyists and many other professionals (p 337).

Nearly all of them avoid eating their own products (p 341).

You'd have to be in solitary confinement for the past 40 years to not know that restaurant and processed food are bad for you. I have no sympathy for adults, but I'm quite angry that children are the target and life-long victims of this crap.

Nutrition should be required starting in Kindergarten, schools should have gardens, and students taught how to make meals from scratch. To fund these programs, the FDA & USDA should be disbanded - they're useless, toothless, and governed by revolving door insiders.

All that time you're saving buying this crap isn't exactly saving time if you die early, or are miserable from poor health. Moss says people buy this junk because they're short on time and it's cheap, but you can cook quick, less inexpensive, healthy food at home for a lot less money and live a longer, healthier life. An internet search of "fast and cheap healthy recipes" brings up hundreds of recipes.

Even if you read labels it's hard to figure out how much fat, salt, and sugar is in a product, because the serving size is ridiculously low, or the sugar is in the ingredients list has 5 different kinds of sugar to try to hide how much there is. White flour is not required to list the dozens of added chemicals, so you'll never know what chemicals were used in a product that contains white flour.

Many companies outright lie about their products, hoping the Center for Science in the Public Interest won't notice. Food processors aren't afraid of the USDA or FDA, who seem to have forgotten that the American public is their "customer", not the food industry. By the time the FDA tells a company to knock it off, the company is on to a new advertising campaign anyway (p 92).

In the future, as increasing population collides with resource and energy decline, as topsoil loses its fertility from being blown and washed away, and the last schools of fish harvested, people will be envious and amazed there was ever a time when the problem was so much food that billions of people became imprisoned within their own walls of fat.
23 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8db94108) étoiles sur 5 Think twice before picking up that processed food! 26 février 2013
Par Paul Mastin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
It's no secret that Americans are hooked on processed foods. In Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Moss takes us inside the food industry to tell the story of our national addiction. It's a troubling tale, or a whole series of troubling tales, that make me want to go to the farmer's market, or at least to the produce aisle, and avoid processed foods altogether.

I do have mixed feelings about the book and this issue. On the one hand, all the food companies want to do is sell more food. They do have to make a profit, after all. And their mission is to make the tastiest, most appealing food they can, so they can sell more and more of it. They make it, we buy it, we eat it and like it, they make a profit. It's a simple, free-market, mutually beneficial exchange. But there's more to it than that.

The ball got rolling when food manufacturers started making soda, chips, TV dinners, which they "imagined as occasional fare." But as society changed, they found that "snacks and convenience food had become a daily--even hourly--habit, a staple of the American diet." As convenience became more important to Americans, food manufacturers had to make food "easy to buy, store, open, prepare, and eat." In the laboratories (not kitchens, note. These are chemists, not chefs, who are creating food.) of Kraft, General Foods, and other manufacturers, the "drive to achieve the greatest allure for the lowest possible price has drawn them" to salt, sugar, and fat. As one executive said, maybe there is too much salt or sugar in our products, but "that's what the consumer wants, and we're not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That's what they want. If we give them less, they'll buy less, and the competitor will get our market."

Some of the food industry insiders Moss spoke to had second thoughts and reservations about their work, like one former Coca Cola executive, who travelled to Brazil for a market study. "As he walked through one of the prime target areas, an impoverished barrio of Rio de Janeiro, he had an epiphany. 'A voice in my head says, "These people need a lot of things, but they don't need a Coke." I almost threw up.'" He was eventually fired. Virtually all of Moss's subjects stated their own aversion, or at least extreme moderation, when it comes to their own products, pointing out the "class issue at work in processed foods, in which the inventors and company executives don't generally partake in their own creations."

The companies are not alone in their culpability. The federal government has been their hypocritical partner in crime, with its "promotion of some of the industry practices deemed most threatening to consumers." Cheese, with its high fat content and warnings from dietitians to reduce consumption, enjoys huge federal subsidies. The federal government has caves full of it because they promised dairy farmers they would buy their cheese. Even the makers of the food pyramids produced and distributed by the USDA bow to the food industry lobby, putting politics before health. I wish Moss would have addressed the sugar lobby, too. Federal subsidies and import tariffs on sugar keep the cost of sugar unnaturally high and lead to many manufacturers using less healthy sweeteners.

Moss also points out that the drive for profits at the food giants has contributed to the obesity epidemic. "In the early 1980s, investors shifted their money from stodgy blue chip companies to the high-flying technology industry and other sectors that promised quicker returns," pressuring food companies to cut costs and increase marketing to satisfy Wall Streets demands for more and more profits.

Ultimately, the consumer is in control of what he or she eats. Moss doesn't call for government regulation, but he would welcome industry self-policing. The individual consumer "seizing control in order to ward off an unhealthy dependence on processed food seems like the best--and only--recourse we have." Moss's examples abound, his argument is readable and convincing, and I can almost guarantee he will have you reading labels and thinking carefully about what you are putting in your body.

Thanks to Edelwiess and the publisher for the complimentary review copy.
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