Friday, April 12, 2013

Salt Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us

By Michael Moss
Reviewed by: Stephanie
4 out of 5 stars

I can honestly say I am one of the first people on the planet to have eaten a Chicken Mc Nugget.  

My dad is a mechanical engineer and a total genius.  Before I was born my dad had to find a job to support his family (they already had my older sister).   My parents wanted to stay near family, so dad started looking around in the Sandusky Ohio area……He got two job offers, one with NASA  (yes….NASA)  and one with Stein Associates, a brand new company that saw the need for mass food production…..processing it, if you will.    They needed someone to design breaders and fryers that ultimately went to companies like Mc Donald’s, Tyson, and Mrs. Pauls, and my dad was the man (Stein offered 10 cents more, NASA lost). They were the only ones out there doing this and had a monopoly on the industry.  If it’s been breaded and fried and you didn’t do this yourself,   thank my dad. 

Dad loved his job was good at it.  Really good, he has numerous patents and a Da Vinci Award (a big F’n deal).  For years he stood at the end of the line taste testing the food.  He brought it home for us as well….hey, anywhere you can save a buck with four kids to feed.   He traveled the planet working with various companies to get their production lines working.   Japan, The Soviet Union (where he was followed by KGB, he wanted to turn around and point out to them that they asked him to come, but he  was wise enough not to), England…..pretty much everywhere. 
All of the travel resulted in bad eating habits not to mention the ‘taste testing’ took its toll.   He gained weight and eventually became a type 2 diabetic, and has many other weight related health problems.

I don’t know if working at NASA would have been better for his health or wallet, but it would have been way cooler.  If I would have ended up with a skinny, healthy dad?…..even cooler.
In Salt, Sugar, Fat the author calls out these big food companies.   The CEO’s of companies like Kraft and Nabisco actually sat down one day after studies shown that Americans were getting fat, and it looked like it was their food that was causing the problem.  On the chart (they had) showed a steady rise in the average Americans weight after 1980, while before that date we chugged right along at a normal weight.  What changed?  We didn’t suddenly lose control, in mass, for no reason.  It was because of what was being done to the food…..don’t get me started on high fructuous corn syrup.   So, these asshat CEOs thought about the problem, thought about making a change, actually tried and failed at a few ideas, and in the end they said “fuck it, let’s just make money”.
The stuff they do to the processed food is done in such a way it actually causes a person to become addicted to certain foods.  It activates the same part of your brain as heroin does.   I can’t go into all the details about the subject; you’ll have to read the book for that.
Moral of the story, don’t eat processed foods if you can get away with it.  Don’t eat fast food like Chicken McNuggets.  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and avoid all the bad things that taste sooo good.

Review also appears on goodreads

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