Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Michael Moss

Book cover

This was a “TV book” for me and I wholly enjoyed it. Having already read excerpts of it printed in the NYT magazine a while back, I felt like a lot of it was familiar, but that was fine. Moss is a very engaging writer of the magazine-feature school, though he inserts himself into the narrative much less than, say, Elizabeth Gilbert. On the whole, the book was actually a lot more balanced than I expected. Moss’s message is perfectly clear–the huge amounts of added salt, sugar, and fat in processed foods are a severe public health problem–but the book is no smear job. Many of the food-industry people are presented in a sympathetic light; certainly those who have “left the fold,” but even those who haven’t. Moss creates a deft narrative inversion by portraying the processed food companies as themselves being addicted to SS&F–unable to find a way forward that doesn’t involve those problematic ingredients, even in the somewhat rare cases when they manifest an authentic interest in doing so.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars