Expand your knowledge of the food industry (Book review)

I think I started reading Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (by Michael Moss) more than six months ago. The book is focused on helping the average consumer understand how the food industry makes strategies and decisions that are designed to ensure the success of their products. Hey, that’s kind of how business runs, so it shouldn’t surprise us. But, the data in this is shocking, just plain shocking.

It’s a challenging read, and that’s why it took me so long to get through it. I read each section (Salt, Sugar and Fat) steadily, but I took long breaks between each one. It’s just a lot to digest (pun, lol) and the book cites a lot of scientific studies, etc so you have to stay focused. But, if the food industry interests you, you’ll probably like this book, even if you just read excerpts or skim it.

All sections define the expansive level of research the food giants use to ensure you keep coming back for their products. I had no idea that they had discovered what they call the “bliss point” for each of their products.  Bliss point is the level of sugar they need in a particular product to ensure you are addicted (yes, I said addicted to) and keep eating it. For each product they need to get the right level since they vary.

I learned that similar research goes into the fat and salt content in foods. The examples and the stories shared in the book keep you reading. There are also many examples of how lobbyists are affecting the food regulations in what I would consider a negative way for consumers. You’ll also get a chance to learn more about how acquisitions and mergers over years mean that the majority of our food is in the hands of what I consider a very small number of overall companies.

I’ll admit that if you are just looking for one book to learn more about “real food,” this probably isn’t the book. There are great “lighter” books out there. But if you want data and facts and an expanse of knowledge, consider this best seller.