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Hooked on Sugar, Salt and Fat? You Are Not the Only One, Book Reveals How Big Companies Get us Addicted

Update Date: Mar 17, 2013 08:02 PM EDT

Salt, sugar and fat. Ever wondered why you can't put down that bag of chips after taking your first, second, third bite? A new book with three years of extensive investigative research reveals that large food companies engineer food to hit consumers "bliss points", similar to the sensation a drug addict feels after taking a dose of his drug of choice.

These three ingredients are added to packaged foods in such large quantities that consumers have become addicted to them and our tastes have changed to prefer foods with higher doses of these ingredients. Reporter Michael Moss recently released a food industry exposé: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. In it, Moss notes that processed foods are a $1 trillion dollar a year business with over 60,000 products on supermarket shelves.

Americans no doubt struggle with this as evidenced by the growing obesity epidemic, but so does the processed foods industry. Moss is an investigative reporter for The New York Times and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his reporting on the meat industry.

Moss interviewed several former former junk food company executives and consultants to discuss their tactics on how they get consumers hooked.  The book claims that manufacturers have spent years carefully combining the ideal levels of salt and sugar to make them perfectly addictive.  

Processed food giants like Kraft, General Foods and Nestlé continue to get more customers buying their salty, sugary, fatty processed foods that have proven so profitable for them and so harmful to us. They target especially vulnerable demographics: impressionable children and low-income, low-information shoppers who lack the means and knowledge to make healthier food choices.

"We're not born liking salt," says its author Michael Moss. "It doesn't happen until we're six months old. So, it looks like the processed food industry is controlling our cravings.

"And studies show that kids who are fed processed food from a very young age develop huge salt cravings."

"Take more than a little salt, or sugar, or fat out of processed food, and there is nothing left. Or, worse, what is left are the inexorable consequences of food processing, repulsive tastes that are bitter and astringent," he adds.

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