Book Review: Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Salt Sugar Fat’s revelation that the food giants have been using psychological tricks in their marketing based on Freud’s research from the 1920’s and 30’s was a surprise to me. In some ways, it’s a comfort to know that the intense lure of processed food is due to more than just good advertising.

The fact that the products themselves have additives that are cheap for the manufacturer (salt, sugar and fat in their many iterations) that produce huge profits for them because they literally are highly addictive and make consumers who eat or drink the products want more is astounding. I especially love in the end how the author states that he asks the company heads about their personal habits and how they avoid the products that their respective companies produce.

Reading about the Hot Pockets, Peptamen and Optifast produced a visceral reaction for me. Our daughter has been ill since last year. Doctors inserted a nasojejeunal feeding tube in her and she has had formula being provided through that since January 2014 for her primary form of nourishment since then.

It has essentially caused her to have a shrunken stomach and not be able to eat food. The fact that a company would willingly plan to sell one product knowing how bad it is (over 600 ingredients!) expecting it to possibly induce the need for gastric bypass surgery, and then have products at the ready to sell for when that gastric bypass is done, seems criminal to me.

I’m sure some would say it’s just good planning and profit. I think it’s sick, but I say that as a parent witnessing a child who is struggling to be well who was eating healthily and is being subject to consuming what her doctors deem to be “perfect” nutrition manufactured by Abbott Labs. Our situation aside, the bottom line is we need to be educated; we need to take responsibility and not be controlled by the tricks of the trade.

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