Sunday, June 16, 2013

Salt Sugar Fat: The Unholy Trinity

Stop!


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Before you fill up that shopping cart, read this book...



In Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss takes us inside the labs where food scientists use cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He unearths marketing campaigns designed—in a technique adapted from tobacco companies—to redirect concerns about the health risks of their products: Dial back on one ingredient, pump up the other two, and tout the new line as “fat-free” or “low-salt.” He talks to concerned executives who confess that they could never produce truly healthy alternatives to their products even if serious regulation became a reality. Simply put: The industry itself would cease to exist without salt, sugar, and fat. Just as millions of “heavy users”—as the companies refer to their most ardent customers—are addicted to this seductive trio, so too are the companies that peddle them. You will never look at a nutrition label the same way again.

The author shows us the ruthless tactics that food company giants employ to cash in on our cravings. Snack food, for example, is aggressively marketed to lower income families and children.



Yet when food company executives were asked if they feed their products to their own children, the answer was "no."

Some of you Bitches are struggling with weight loss. If you're wondering why the pounds aren't coming off, you might be surprised to find out why. Food companies are going all out to make sure you crave their foods by adding additional salt, sugar and fat to many of the foods you think are good choices nutritionally. Not only is it a deterrent to weight loss, it's a health hazard.


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But let's say you don't eat junk food. Think you're making a smart choice with yogurt or spaghetti sauce? Yoplait contains twice as much sugar per serving as Lucky Charms! Half a cup of Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce has as much sugar as three Oreo cookies AND a third of the daily salt intake recommended for most Americans.

Mistress MJ, who thought she was a wise consumer, had her eyes opened by this book. We hope you will too.

So put down that cupcake and read Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.


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As Michael Moss says, If nothing else, this book is intended as a wake-up call to the issue and tactics at play in the food industry, to the fact that we are not helpless in facing them down. We have choices, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping, and I saw this book, on its most basic level, as a tool for defending ourselves when we walk through those doors.

42 comments:

  1. I have "a friend" who desperately wishes they would bring back Hostess Ding Dongs®.

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  2. Eeugh! I don't eat a lot of processed food, but when I go shopping for some, I always go for the standard recipe (no "lite", "low fat", "sugar-free", "low-salt" etc) and check the ingredients to make sure half the periodic table's not part of it. I've always reasoned that if the manufacturers are taking something out, they have to replace it with something else, and that something else is almost always worse than what its replacing.
    Another annoying thing are the claims splashed all over certain products. For instance, boiled sweets (candy) or fruit jellies are primarily sugar, which is fine - I'm aware of that and don't eat a lot. But what consumers don't need is the "fat-free" claim plastered over the packet, making out that the product is somehow good for you as it has no fat. Well, of course it has no fat! They're sweets! The less well-informed see the claim and eat them with gusto because "Yay! No fat!" But what about all that sugar...?
    We all need salt, sugar and fat, but not in the quantities that are hidden in a lot of processed food.

    Thank you, MJ. I daren't read the book as I'm liable to get on the highest horse possible and give myselves a heart attack. Or slowly starve to death...

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    1. MR. DeVICE: Don’t starve yourself (or selves, in your case)…you’re so slim now that you’d disappear!

      You practically have to be a scientist to make sense of the labels.

      As for that “fat free” claim, Michael Moss says, “When they say low fat, it’s often loaded with sugar to make up for the reduction in fat. Or likewise, low salt is often loaded with sugar and fat to make up for the low salt. When they splash the phrase, “added calcium” on the front, that’s often a signal that the thing is loaded in all three of the pillars.” Pillars being salt, sugar and fat.

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  3. Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine are the three major components of my DNA... Jx

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    1. JON: So you only go shopping for the staples.

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  4. Finally Norma's coughed up the recipe for her famous salty dingdong....

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    1. PRINNY: I think what Norma coughed up was a hairball.

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    2. well i certainly wouldn't cough
      up any of that precious cake!

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  5. My grandad ate nothing but pies all his life and he lived to be 58 stone. However, he died age 49. I've just looked this book up on the kindle £10.99! I'll pass on this one. If your interested, Taken By The Vorinovs by Jack Brighton is a cracking read and it's free!

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    1. MITZI: I’m reading the description for the book you recommend and it says…

      There was nothing more manly in this part of the world than fucking another man and asserting your dominance by shafting his ass...

      Alexi has a weapon that all the young men in Mastrovia crave. He has the stamina of a bull and a pair of balls to match, and the most beautiful, virile, biggest cock in the land!

      A cracking read, indeed!

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  6. you live long enough (and my middle name is lived long enough and you discover that you really cannot trust anyone that is selling ANYTHING.

    their goal is to sell.

    that's why we adore it here.

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    1. NORMA: Are you sure we can’t interest you in anything from the Infomaniac Shopping Network?

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    2. i just adore the smoke mj blows up my ass.

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    3. Here ya go, Norma.

      WALLY: What’s Norma selling?

      ♫Love for sale
      appetizing young love for sale
      love thats fresh and still unspoiled
      love thats only slightly soiled
      love for sale♫

      Or so she claims.

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  7. Vegetables and doing my own cooking. Usually I avoid the prefab stuff.

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    1. MAGO: I hope they haven’t invented a prefab currywurst.

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  8. Well as you guessed, I'm with my gin blossom Jon on this one. And MJ, it's so refreshing to see your eyes wide opened by a book instead of the usual parts wide open by something else!

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    1. MISTRESS MADDIE: Don’t dig a hole you can’t get out of, missy.

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  9. Problem is: If I could afford a caviar and vodka diet then I could afford a caviar and vodka diet....

    You see my trouble?

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    1. WALLY: It’s unfortunate that fresh fruit, vegetables and whole foods are more expensive than the highly processed foods.

      You’re doing a good thing by growing your own food.

      And you can always drink from the Vodka Fountain here at Infomaniac.

      Delete
  10. I'm just glad vicodin doesn't have any of that nasty stuff in it.

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    1. PEENEE: Your body isn’t a temple.

      It’s an amusement park.

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  11. I saw a documentary about all this on BBC2 a short while back... basically the sugar industry has as much to answer for as the tobacco industry.
    Truly shocking what we will do to each other to make money, yet it goes on and on, over and over.
    Sx

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    1. MISS SCARLET: “Moss reveals that food company executives -- like the tobacco industry before them -- have long been acutely aware of and worried about the health hazards presented by their products. And yet, despite those concerns about their culpability, processed food giants like Kraft, General Foods and Nestlé continue to launch an all-out assault on the American palate to convert us to "heavy users" -- their term -- of the salty, sugary, fatty processed foods that have proven so profitable for them and so harmful to us. They target especially vulnerable demographics: impressionable children and low-income, low-information shoppers who lack the means and knowledge to make healthier food choices.

      Their scientists and marketing mavens tinker endlessly with chemical formulas, and create branding and packaging that entice us to consume excessive quantities of the highly processed, calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages that are slowly poisoning Americans on a scale that terrorists could only dream of. And they've been aided and abetted in this campaign by the tobacco industry, which responded to growing scrutiny about the hazards of its sole product by snapping up processed food companies in a bid to expand its portfolio and its profits. The same sleazy, disingenuous strategies that tobacco executives once used to confuse the public about the dangers of smoking are trotted out once again by the usual suspects, aka the Merchants of Doubt, to deceive the public about the perils of processed foods.”

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    2. JON: I was half expecting her to stub out her cigar in the hand of one of her safety gays.

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  12. Yep, that's a pretty good summary of the documentaries I watched. I found it totally depressing :-(
    I have been eating bland yet nutritious food for sometime now in the hope of avoiding the pitfalls. When I eat processed food I find it too salty or way too sweet... even restaurant food seems to be overloaded with sugar and salt. I have a boring diet, but hopefully I will avoid diabetes!
    Sx

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    1. Mistress MJ uses herbs and spices liberally in the cooking process and avoids adding salt.

      If the food still seems like it needs a little something extra, I'll add a pinch of salt to my food AFTER it's on the plate.

      Fortunately, I have low blood pressure so salt is not a concern but it's better not to ingest too much of it for various other reasons.

      I grow my own herbs to save money and because I like a variety of plants.

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  13. I also have low blood pressure! I go a bit mad with the garlic sometimes.
    Sx

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    1. Me too, Miss Scarlet.

      Garlic has been proven to lower blood pressure. ..which might partly account for our low blood pressure levels.

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    2. Garlic is great, especially the young that does not create the unwanted stink. Very nice in a soup or sauce.

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  14. I'm guessing 90% of a typical supermarket is made up of heavily processed or junk food. Also look at the sodium content, anything over 15% put back!

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    1. RILEY: From my own research, I'd have to agree with you about the typical supermarket.

      I love salt and so I have to make an effort to avoid grabbing salty snacks.

      I make homemade soup using a variety of herbs and spices and I don't find I need to add salt to improve the flavour.

      Now that I'm accustomed to the flavour of homemade soup, I find that restaurant soup or canned soup is MUCH too salty and I end up having to quench my thirst for the rest of the day if I've partaken of soup away from home.

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    2. There is an interesting "Stoff" called monosodium glutamat, msg. Basically you can throw it on shit and it will trick the user's brain into finding it a heavenly thing.
      As I understood it does not work the "Geschmacksnerven", the things in our mouths, but it works the synapses in the brain.
      Coll - eh?!

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    3. MAGO: MSG can cause migraine headaches...aka Chinese restaurant syndrome.

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  15. Amen, sister! Avoiding most processed stuff is how the Mr. and I have been reducing, and it absolutely works. The best part is that we're not hungry all the time - something that comes back, I find, whenever we slip and go for some junk.

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    1. MUSCATO: We'll have you tossing those caftans to the back of the closet in no time.

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