Author: Michael Moss
If you never ever ever want to set your foot in the processed food aisle go read this book! I’m actually not kidding once you read this book, you would think twice before buying any of those convenience foods like pasta sauce or yummy cookies like oreo.
The book is almost divided in three sections, one section each for sugar, salt and fat. For each ingredient, the author has done research on what roles they play in making processed food tasty and have a long shelf life. When you read it you left aghast at how many teaspoons of sugar one single oreo cookie has or how much percentage of sodium is there in the bottle of pasta sauce. Or when people call it junk food, it is really that – junk. The author goes over how things changed, what brought about these changes and where we’re headed. It turns out that people are becoming more and more aware because of which companies have had to introduce low-cal, low-salt and/or low-sugar products.
The book is filled with lots of facts. I just wish it wasn’t as thick as it is. At some point I felt like tearing my hair, banging my head and screaming “I get it! I get it!”. A lot of it was interesting – to see how the changes were brought about, what the companies were thinking, what the government was doing (or not doing) and where did all that put the consumer.
One thing was clear from the book, end of the day it is our attitude towards “convenience” that pushed us to the market of processed foods; and we’re so blinded by it that we don’t care to look at the ingredients to see what we’re eating. That brings to my mind Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”. One of the rules in that book was to not buy anything which had an ingredient you couldn’t pronounce. If one were to follow that, only 1% of the processed foods would remain in your cart.
It’s hard to put a bottomline on this one. I enjoyed reading most of it and gained a lot of insight. However I would’ve loved it had it been a little shorter.