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Salt Sugar Fat summary

How the Food Giants Hooked Us

4.2 (137 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss is an eye-opening investigation into the processed food industry. The book explores how companies use science and marketing to make their products addictive, while contributing to America's obesity epidemic.

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    Salt Sugar Fat
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    After World War II, processed convenience foods replaced the ideal of the home-cooked meal.

    In post-World War II America, change was afoot: Women who had traditionally stayed at home to cook and clean while their husbands worked began to take jobs of their own. This meant that they suddenly had less time for the arduous process of preparing home-cooked meals.

    At the same time, the increasing prevalence of televisions in American homes meant that there was another disincentive for spending more time in the kitchen, as you might miss great shows like Lassie.

    Sensing the opportunity in this shift, food companies began to produce more heavily processed convenience foods designed to be quick and easy to prepare.

    One of the first companies to do this was General Foods, which introduced Jell-O instant pudding in the 1950s to immediate success. A slew of other time-saving foods and products followed, as consumers were increasingly willing to trade a bit of their wealth for more free time.

    Of course, the ideal of the home-cooked meal was hard to shake, not least because 25,000 home economics teachers in high schools in America were still advocating it and teaching students how to make it.

    To overcome this resistance to processed foods, the food companies recruited their own home economics teachers to advocate processed foods by holding their own cooking contests and giving cooking lessons to mothers and teachers.

    The most famous example of such a teacher is the entirely fictional “Betty Crocker” character invented by an advertising manager. Her catchy slogans, signature cookbooks and showrooms illustrating the ease of heat-and-serve meals contributed significantly to the shift of American food ideals toward the factory-processed foods that dominate supermarket aisles today.

    The impact on American diets was particularly great due to the immense power of the three favorite ingredients of the processed-food industry: salt, sugar and fat.

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    What is Salt Sugar Fat about?

    Salt Sugar Fat examines the rise of the processed-food industry in America and globally, and why it has been fueled by the liberal use of salt, sugar and fat. These three ingredients are near irresistible to us humans, but their overuse also comes with devastating health effects.

    Salt Sugar Fat Review

    Salt Sugar Fat (2013) delves into the world of processed food and exposes the tactics used by the food industry to make their products addictive. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It reveals the shocking manipulation techniques employed by food companies to make us crave their products, providing a wake-up call to modern eating habits.
    • Through extensive research and interviews, the book offers insightful and eye-opening stories that give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the food industry.
    • Carefully researched and thought-provoking, it offers a balanced exploration of the consequences of our food choices, prompting readers to reconsider their relationship with processed food.

    Who should read Salt Sugar Fat?

    • Anyone who wants to eat more healthily
    • Anyone interested in why processed foods are so popular today

    About the Author

    Michael Moss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has written for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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    Salt Sugar Fat FAQs 

    What is the main message of Salt Sugar Fat?

    The main message of Salt Sugar Fat is the manipulative tactics used by the food industry to make us crave unhealthy foods.

    How long does it take to read Salt Sugar Fat?

    It takes several hours to read Salt Sugar Fat, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Salt Sugar Fat a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Salt Sugar Fat is a revealing book that uncovers the secrets of the food industry. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Salt Sugar Fat?

    Michael Moss is the author of Salt Sugar Fat.

    What to read after Salt Sugar Fat?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Salt Sugar Fat, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden and Stephen T. Sinatra
    • Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung
    • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
    • Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken
    • Hooked by Michael Moss
    • The Mindful Body by Ellen J. Langer
    • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter
    • Yoga for Better Sleep by Mark Stephens
    • The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey
    • How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie