Salt Sugar Fat
The man who brought us “pink slime” is out with a new book on the triple-threat evils of salt, sugar and fat, reports David Kamp in The New York Times (3/17/13). Michael Moss gained notice with a 2009 Times article in which he reported on the use of “a hamburger-meat extender” made by “taking the trimmings from the outermost part of a cow — once thought to be too fatty and too prone for contamination for human consumption … and whirling these trimmings in a centrifuge to separate the protein from the fat,” and then “treated with gaseous ammonia to ensure that it’s not a habitat for E. coli and other pathogens.”
In Salt Sugar Fat, Michael chronicles “the insidious ways in which big food companies, over time, have sneaked more and more of the bad stuff into our diets, to the point where we now consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day and three times as much cheese as our forebears did in 1970.” He “describes how consultants and food scientists calibrate products — ‘optimize’ them, in industry-speak — to maximize cravings.” With sugar, for example, the goal is to find the “bliss point” — just enough sugar to make the consumer “shiver with bliss,” but not a grain more. That’s because too much sugar exceeds the bliss point, and the likely result is lost sales.
Fat, however, is another story, because, according to Adam Drewnowski of University of Washington, “there is no known bliss point for fat … his test subjects, plied with a drinkable concoction of milk, cream and sugar, kept on chugging ever fattier samples without crying uncle.” As a result, according to Michael, “America is in the process of getting cheese-bombed.” This is enabled, in part, because cheese “is still perceived as wholesome and dietarily innocuous,” as compared to say, whole milk. Michael acknowledges that “most of us can’t simply stop eating processed foods,” offering sympathy, but perhaps falling short of a “bliss point” of a practical solution.