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Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  30,008 ratings  ·  3,325 reviews
Every year, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese and 70 pounds of sugar. They ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, almost none of which comes from salt shakers. It comes from processed food, an industry that hauls in $1 trillion in annual sales.

In Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss shows how
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Random House
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Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
I can honestly say I am one of the first people on the planet to have eaten a Chicken Mc Nugget.

This is my dad a few years back

He is a mechanical engineer and a total genius. Before I was born my dad had to find a job to support his family (they already had my older sister). My parents wanted to stay near family, so dad started looking around in the Sandusky Ohio area……He got two job offers, one with NASA (yes….NASA) and one with Stein Associates, a brand new company that saw the need for mass
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Probably like most of you, I thought Michael Moss's Salt, Sugar, Fat would be about how these ingredients are not good for us, how to eliminate them from our diets, and perhaps a few recipes to get us started. I was wrong. This book is far more fascinating than that. It's a well written, in depth look at the food industry, and how the products we all know came into being and developed over the years. It names companies like Kellogg's, Kraft, Campbell's and the soft drink giants that produce Coke ...more
Jon Swartz
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read a number of books on food and the food industry (
What to Eat, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto); this is one of my favorites. Rather than vilifying the food industry en-masse, the author takes the time to understand the point of view of industry insiders, especially the scientists that craft our processed food. These people do not come across as evil or uncaring, but just highly motivated to do their jobs well -- for reasons of personal pride, loyalty to their companies, and fi

This book has me torn. It does have a lot of in depth research and it makes a lot of interesting points. But, it demonizes some businesses and foods that I don't necessarily feel deserve it. I love food and I know some of it is bad for me (just like when I used to smoke - I knew it was bad for me the whole time). But, it was my choice and I was not kidding myself that I was doing my body justice. I like fast food and junk food, but I try and eat it in moderation and I exercise when I can. I know
Literary Ames
Cynical people: it's worse than you can even imagine. Privacy infringements, systematic exploitation of children and African Americans, government corruption, and a willful disregard of consumers' health. Moss's three and a half years of investigative reporting for Salt Sugar Fat were well worth the effort, though his writing isn't concise, and boring when it came to describing the careers of food scientists he clearly admires, the points he makes are startling and incredibly important. Although ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book
Once you read this book a trip to the grocery store will never be the same. You will watch your fellow shoppers walk around the store an pick up items like mindless creatures; like your the only one who knows whats really going on, kind of like in the film "They Live."

The section on fat is mostly about Phillip Morris's acquisition and then spin off Kraft Foods. As the author talks about the various executives, marketers, and product developers I can't help but think of the characters in Mad Men
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Several years ago I developed a candida infection; my doctor urged me to give up all sugar products for at least three months.

Easier said than done. It didn’t take me long to realize that nearly everything in the grocery aisles contained sugar. And now I know why.

Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, has written a brilliant book that doesn’t scold, lecture, or patronize. Rather, it reveals the reasons why one out of four American children are at risk for diabetes and why
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
In a nutshell: the food industry cares more about money than human health and well-being.

Not in a nutshell: in his detailed and well-written book Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Moss shows how the food industry has hooked Americans on salt, sugar, and fat. He exposes how scientists calculate the "bliss point" of sugar to seduce consumers into craving more, how companies reconfigure the chemical structure of fat to enhance its taste, and how the industry incorporates salt
Otis Chandler
A fascinating in-depth and well researched look at the processed food industry. I recommend this for anyone who buys food at a grocery or convenience store (aka everyone). I read this book hoping to learn more about processed foods and how to avoid them, and I definitely got what I was looking for. Before reading this I was trying to avoid processed foods, and this book has helped increase that resolve, as well as educated me more on how to do it. It is absolutely amazing and frightening how man ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Where I got the book: my local library.

Food is weird. At least, it is nowadays. Humans like variety; variety in food makes them eat more. Put science and industry at the service of variety, and you get:

Be still my British heart.

There are tens of thousands of different products in the average grocery store. One thing I learned from this fascinating book is that a successful strategy to increase sales is by line extensions, where, for example, you take a bestselling product like Oreos and come up
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people that eat

“We rarely get in the situation where our body and brain are depleted of nutrients and are actually in need of replenishment. Rather, he discovered, we are driven to eat by other forces in our lives. Some of these are emotional needs, while others reflect the pillars of processed food: first and foremost taste, followed by aroma, appearance, and texture.“

If you eat food, you should read this book. Sugar Salt Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us caused a very conflicted reaction in me, because alth

By now it’s pretty much common knowledge that processed food is horrible for one’s health. Salt, Sugar, Fat goes into that, but what author Michael Moss was really concerned with were the inner workings of the processed food industry and how it’s lured and fooled consumers. Salt, Sugar, Fat is part business history and part science. It’s also a warning and gigantic wake-up call.

The industry is smarter than the consumer. It knows humans are wired to love sugar and fat from birth
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: food awareness and motivation searchers
Recommended to 7jane by: ONTD (LJ community)
There is now more obesity around the world than ever, and it all can be best blamed on these three things: salt, sugar and fat. Each of them is tackled separately in this book. The book is US-centric, yet it's quite easy to apply to other countries, some through brands that are international (Coca-Cola and such), and some through country-centric versions. Plus there are of course all those fast food chains.

This book talks about the food companies, how they put profit before health - some a bit
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The Hook - Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hook Us has been on my radar since its publication. Since my retirement my eating habits have slipped. Fortunately I haven’t gained any weight and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels remain stable. I felt it was time to take my daily diet back. No better place to start than here.

The Line – Like potato chips that you can’t resist, it’s hard to choose one line that stands out when there’s so much to choose from.

”Salt, sugar, and fat are the fo
Aaron Arnold
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013, science
This is one of those Rorschach books, with parts that will resonate differently with you depending on your prior views of the processed food industry. Looking around at reviews of this book, I found basically two different reactions to Moss' research and analysis, both pro- and anti-industry. I'll go over both of them, because, to paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in the food industry, but it is very interested in you, and an accurate understanding of what it does and how it works is ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I hope everyone who is curious about processed food reads this book and shares it with their friends and family. This book describes the way the food industry, consumers, and the American economy came to rely so heavily on salt, sugar and fat. It's not as much a cabal or a conspiracy on the part of government and corporations, as it is a matter of very human, systemic factors that keep American food producers making and aggressively marketing "food" that is essentially engineered to addict. And ...more
Go into a typical American grocery store, and you won't find that they stock much food. The real food lines the edges: produce, meat and seafood, dairy. If you want real food that was produced locally and sustainably, with care paid to proper animal-husbandry practices, you're probably out of luck entirely. The interior of the store is filled with food products: mostly nutrient-poor corn and soy based "foods" engineered to make you keep reaching for just one more. These products are heavily mark ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandonded
I read the first third of the book, "Sugar," and I just could not continue to put myself through this torture. It takes a special writer to craft a piece of nonfiction that is not only informative, but engaging. Michael Moss is not that author, at least not in this book. It is evident that he did his research and spent a lot of time gathering his facts over the years, and that may be part of the problem. He seemed so invested in the time he spent, that he included too much information in the boo ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-of-2013
Wow, wow, wow. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. I feel I have been forcing this book into conversations I've had with people all week. I literally cannot shut up about it. It is one of the most interesting, engaging non-fiction books I've read in years.

Ever wonder how Coke and Pepsi came to be enemies? How a grocery store is strategically designed to pray on innocent shoppers? How General Foods literally put their own people in Home Ec classes around America to promote conv
Miriam Downey
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
You can find my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

My granddaughter aged 20 months, sits in her highchair. Her lunch is some strawberries, some carrots, and a hotdog with cheese in the middle. She pokes a few strawberries in her mouth and drops all the carrots on the floor. Then she eats one slice of the hotdog with cheese. With a smile on her face, she looks at me and says, "Umm, delicious!" In an instant, the hotdog slices are gone. Another child lost to "salt, sugar, a
Bam cooks the books ;-)
'It's simply not in the nature of these [food] companies to care about the consumer in an empathic way. Making money is the sole reason they exist--or so says Wall Street.'

So if you are concerned about your health or what is in the food you and your family eat, this is a great place to start to educate yourself about the amount of sugar, fat and salt that is in processed foods and why they are used.

Over the past year, I began worrying about the amount of the unpronounceable chemicals that are i
Elizabeth Moeller
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 eatin ...more
Mario Tomic
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book you're gonna think twice about eating a fast food place or a convenience store. What you will learn from this books will be dozens of tricks and marketing techniques big food companies have used over the years and continue to use today to make us eat more processed food. It's all split into 3 parts covering the use of: sugar, fat and salt in that order. The whole book is really a massive eye opener, it will bring you to a new level of awareness when you go on your next la ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book does not vilify food manufacturers, nor does it make excuses for them: what it does is make one realize what one is up against every time one enters a grocery or convenience store or looks at a vending machine. In sections devoted to the role of salt (and sodium), sugar and fat in processed foods, Moss lays out the series of techniques that food scientists, advertisers, package designers, financial officers and sellers use to discover, shape and give consumers exactly what they want. M ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The first thing I want to say about Salt Sugar Fat is that it felt like it was rushed to market, and that a little more time spent editing it would have made it a better book. At least my Kindle edition is riddled with grammatical errors and typos (at least one of which is pretty significant--a reference to "congenital" heart failure rather than "congestive" heart failure, which is clearly what the author meant). The narrative is frustratingly repetitive, and we are introduced to several charact ...more
Teresa Lukey
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Salt, Sugar, Fat (the book-that is) is a healthy read about the unhealthy industry of processed foods. Although a little long-winded at times (the only reason for the 4-star rating, otherwise it would have received a 5-star rating)this book will be a healthy addition to your diet.

In my home I work really hard to make as much as possible from scratch, but I also work full-time and feel like I am literally going out of my mind trying to keep up at times. This book reinforces the importance of not
This was an absolutely fascinating read. There are many books on the state of our food supply, and many of them are equally interesting, but what differentiates this one from the rest of the pack is that it uses this Pulitzer prizewinning investigative reporter's skills to present a history of processed food in America. Michael Moss has gone *deep*, digging up sources from the big food processors, making freedom of information requests from the government and he has found an amazing story. Not o ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have always thought my eating habits were, if not great, not really terrible either. I don't drink pop, I rarely eat red meat, and I don't add much salt to my food. Turns out I've been wrong. The yogurt I eat has just as much sugar as the ice cream it was meant to replace; I replaced red meat with cheese, one of the worst offenders in the junk food catalogue, according to author, Michael Moss; and not adding salt to my food, in many cases, only means I'm not adding insult to the injury of the ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Now that I'm finished with the Sugar section I'm going to take a breather to process ( no pun intended) what I've read. I'd recommend this book to EVERYONE. It's not a diet book. Not a how to eat healthy book. It's more about the history of the processed food marketing business. Obviously most people know that much of the processed food we eat is not the healthiest choice, but for convenience and taste we use it. What is very eye opening to me is that those companies know exactly what they are d ...more
KJ Grow
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I fully admit to finishing this book with a bag of potato chips in my hands. But! I checked the ingredient list and limited myself to one serving. Thank you, Michael Moss, for a riveting, illuminating, horrifying, scandalous read. It's been a long time since I looked at a Hot Pocket, but I'll certainly never look at one the same way again (over 100 ingredients listed in the, what?).

A fascinating look at genius marketing tactics, the pressures of Wall Street, the processed food indu
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Does anyone know any good non fiction books? 12 80 Sep 05, 2015 12:44PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2010 and was a finalist for the prize in 2006 and 1999. He is also the recipient of a Loeb Award and an Overseas Press Club citation. Before coming to The New York Times, he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and The Atla

Articles featuring this book

Are we addicted to food? The Goodreads Choice Finalist in Best Food & Cookbooks investigates the secrets of the processed food industry in Salt...
12 likes · 8 comments
“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.” 24 likes
“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.” 8 likes
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