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"Salt, sugar and fat. How the food giants hooked us". On a book.

Popularity 9Viewed 15015 times 2016-8-30 01:14 |Personal category:Food|System category:Others| fast food, Kellogg, Kraft, junk food, Coca Cola

How much do we actually know about the food we are buying? 

Half a year ago I came across a book called "Salt, Sugar and Fat. How the Food Giants Hooked Us". But finished it only recently. I am far from a being a fan of junk food, over-salty, or over-sweet stuff, and honestly this food doesn't appeal to me at all. Maybe it is related to the fact that I grew up in Russia and at that time we were not so exposed to the foreign, especially made in America foods. We knew Coca Cola, Pepsi, juice powder and Cheetos, but this stuff was not so cheap or available to buy it every day and we were discouraged to buy them in large quantities. We didn't know the word "obesity" and it even could not occur to us that "obese" was not an insult but a norma of life for some people. I had a sweet tooth though when I was a kid and overdid with sugar. We always had sweets and especially on holidays they were served as a dessert along with a cake. Russians like eating sweets when they drink tea. Even with my passion to desserts I still can't relate myself to the people Michale Moss was writing about, those consumers who could not say "no" when it came to junk food.

What I found interesting in the book was that the author didn't focus on diets, necessity to exercise, sleep well at night and all other things we all are pretty aware of. The aim was not to teach people how to live but instead, after having made a huge research, interviewed more than 100 people in the food industry, and being a part of this mechanism in the past, Moss reveals the ugly of the food business. It puts all the facts in front of us and offers a choice: to buy or not to buy. However, the answer was known at the very beginning. Moss mentions the well-known food conglomerates like Kellogg, Kraft, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and some other and tells how skillfully the consumers can be taken in when it comes to choosing what to put in the food trolley in the supermarket. We feel this taste of a chocolate, the crispy chips, sweet porridges and corn flakes because it was all put on test by groups of scientists who made experiments to reveal what kind of taste will be most appealing to us. It involves brain, of course. Apart from scientific researches, it was also due to successful marketing strategies and plans that people prefer to buy food that literally kills them than something else. 

In this companies' money race, the most vulnerable victims are kids. They can't tell good from bad and love everything that makes them feel good. Commercials of fast food particularly targeted kids and played on the fact that mothers can't exercise a full control of what their children eat because they spent all day at work. Mothers themselves buy chocolates bars and corn flakes for their kids, guided by a powerful brainwashing that actually, these products were not unhealthy, on the contrary, it was encouraged to give them to kids, because fat and sugar provide energy, so they are good, right?

The book also tells how companies concealed harmful ingredients on the food packages, put inexistent or contained in tiny portions vitamins and calcium and encouraged in any way to consume more. 

Giving a credit to some food companies, they made attempts to fight the trend, but consumers, who already worked a habit of eating too salty, too fatting and too sweet products, didn't react to the changes. So the companies returned to the old policy. Surprisingly, such behavior was strongly backed up by the government. 

Well, money is money. And where there is money, there is power and the greed to get more of both. Michael Moss only wanted to tell us the ugly truth about what the whole food business is made of and that we need to think twice before choosing this or that product. He also mentioned that scientists discovered, obesity can be incurable. People who were fat before and lost some weight quite likely will gain it again. The author compared addiction to sweet, salt and fat with the drug addiction. 

I would definitely recommend reading this book not only to those who struggle in the battle with his addiction to fast food but also people living healthily. It casts light on many things, including how vulnerable we can be in front of corporations and their powerful and accurate marketing strategies. 




(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (16 comments)

Reply Report AndrewCraven 2016-8-30 10:47
Thanks for sharing with us this fresh idea from the book. We need to take more care of our health, especially when the food companies and government are bond togethor for money which exploits from our irresistible  appetite towards sweet or over salty food.
Reply Report anastasiasuli 2016-8-30 10:51
AndrewCraven: Thanks for sharing with us this fresh idea from the book. We need to take more care of our health, especially when the food companies and government a ...
It is especially cruel that first of all they target kids...
Reply Report AndrewCraven 2016-8-30 14:39
anastasiasuli: It is especially cruel that first of all they target kids...
yeah it is profiable for them to set kids in addiction to junk food, keeping them with the habit in their entire lives. At least they need years to conciously quit the habit.
Reply Report anastasiasuli 2016-8-30 19:14
AndrewCraven: yeah it is profiable for them to set kids in addiction to junk food, keeping them with the habit in their entire lives. At least they need years to co ...
And habits die hard. When they grow up they might still keep the habit... Poor kids, and parents are also sometimes not educated enough about the consequences of that, so they let their kids go with it...
Reply Report dulia 2016-8-31 11:19
Read your article, benefit a lot,Junk food is delicious, but it is bad for health
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-8-31 17:03
thanks for sharing such a good topic, old friend, we have highlighted it.
Reply Report anastasiasuli 2016-8-31 17:58
Thanks, CD :>
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-9-2 17:27
I notice that my comment was deleted, even though it challenged parents to take responsibility for saying 'no' to processed food.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-9-2 17:34
seems like a good choice for Chinese ..
Reply Report anastasiasuli 2016-9-3 13:12
BlondeAmber: I notice that my comment was deleted, even though it challenged parents to take responsibility for saying 'no' to processed food.
Was it deleted? Sorry I missed that :) But yes, the problem with fast food is very serious nowadays.
Reply Report anastasiasuli 2016-9-3 13:12
BlondeAmber: I notice that my comment was deleted, even though it challenged parents to take responsibility for saying 'no' to processed food.
Was it deleted? Sorry I missed that :) But yes, the problem with fast food is very serious nowadays.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-9-3 13:19
anastasiasuli: Was it deleted? Sorry I missed that :) But yes, the problem with fast food is very serious nowadays.
Fast food is not the only processed food.
Any food that you buy in a shop that is not fruit,vegetables or meat is processed and likely to contain too much salt, sugar or potentially toxic chemicals, especially in China where food regulation enforcement is poor.
Reply Report Ratfink 2016-9-3 23:45
The information contained in the book has been known about for decades, however, the fast food and major processed food manufacturers have run massive campaigns since the 1960s to promote various food additives, for example, sugar, various fats (trans fats for example) and other ingredients that are not good for the human body.  Their methods of operation are absolutely disgusting, the use of paid for research that skews and obscures the truth, using lobbying to keep alternative safer products off the market and in some cases outright lying, bribery and so on.  The more you open this can of worms the larger the stench.
Reply Report Motika 2016-9-4 07:23
Did he bring out the chemical abuse ? That also hook us on some food  
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-9-6 22:10
If you knowingly buy processed foods that contain high levels of salt, sugar and various food additives, more fool you.
You have a choice, you can prepare food yourself and control the ingredients that go into it, or you can buy processed food manufactured by companies that are interested only in profit, not your health or well being.
Reply Report RonJaDa 2016-11-5 07:31
Thanks for sharing this important topic.

When I cook I tend to use between one third to one half of the sugar that the recipe calls for.  If it tastes like it is missing something I look for another ingredient I can add  like berries to round out the flavor.

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