In “Salt Sugar Fat," investigative reporter Michael Moss shows how executives and food scientists at Coca-Cola, Kraft, Frito-Lay and Nestle are well aware that sugary, fatty and salty foods light up the same pleasure centers in our brains that cocaine does. Though they avoid using the word “addictive,” they knowingly concoct “crave-able” foods that have a high “bliss point” of sugar and hefty “mouthfeels” of fat. At the same time, they employ insidious tactics to keep their “heavy users” using and to hook new consumers, especially children. If you had any doubt as to the food industry’s complicity in our obesity epidemic, it will evaporate when you read this astonishing book.
Moss shows us how ruthless these companies are at exploiting our built-in cravings for salt, sugar and fat, aggressively marketing junk food not just to children but to the poor. The class division becomes even more apparent when Moss asks food scientists and executives at these companies if they drink soda or feed their kids Cheetos and Lunchables (prepackaged trays of bologna, “cheese” and crackers). They don’t. When Moss sits down with Howard Moskowitz, the man who reinvented Dr Pepper, to taste his signature drink, Moskowitz demurs: “I’m not a soda drinker. It’s not good for your teeth.”
"Salt, Sugar, Fat" is an indictment of both big food and government, which has proved ineffective at protecting the public's health.
To read more, see my book review, which ran in the Washington Post on Sunday.