Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us traces how these ingredients worked their way into our food in ever-larger amounts, not by accident but as part of a concerted effort by food companies to make their products as irresistible and addictive as possible. Moss profiles the food scientists whom corporations like Kellogg and Kraft pay to formulate exact combinations of ingredients that target consumers’ “bliss point”: where food is as tasty as possible without being so satisfying that we stop wanting more. Think junk food like Cheez-Its, movie-theater popcorn, and Oreos: You can kill a whole bag of the stuff without even noticing.
Moss reveals how fundamental these ingredients have become to the processed-food industry’s entire model: how sugar intensifies our cravings; how market oto fat and sugar work together to make products vastly more tasty than either ingredient could alone; how fat plays up a given food’s most desirable traits (such as smooth texture) while masking others (like the acidity of sour cream), and how salt smothers the chemical tinge that would otherwise make most junk food inedible. Salt, sugar, and fat also make possible the long shelf life and easy preparation that inspired the term “convenience food” and sold it to a new generation of working moms.
We got a chance to chat with Moss when he stopped by the Grist office last week. Here are some highlights from our conversation.