Last week, I started reading this amazing book by Michael Moss:

In the first 11 pages, I learned more than I could ever imagine possible. In fact, what I learned in the first 11 pages actually made my stomach hurt.

In case you aren’t familiar with Salt, Sugar, Fat, here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.

 

Right now, I’m reading about big bad sugar and the truth about sugar. Well, let me rephrase that. Sugar itself isn’t that bad; after all women should have about six teaspoons (24 grams) and men should have nine teaspoons (36 grams) each day (according to American Heart Association). Sugar is found naturally in many foods, mostly fruits and dairy. However, food manufacturers have made their own versions of sugar, and added it to everything. Most people eat way more that what’s recommended, mostly because the creation of things like high fructose corn syrup and the fact that they learned it helps preserve foods, so it’s added to mostly everything.

Moss explains why sugar is so tantalizing:

Let that soak in.

He is comparing sugar to cocaine. Cocaine, an insanely hard drug!

When I read this, all I could say was WOW (seriously people on the subway have to think I have serious problems as I get through this book). It made me realize why it’s so hard to give up those sugary treats. Moss talks a lot about how manufacturers are trying to find that “bliss point” — the point when we eat food and it’s just so good that we cannot stop. Sugar is a big factor in this equation.

The one food that reflects this the most is cereal. Apparently Americans used to eat a lot of meat for breakfast, and then the food manufacturers discovered cereal. And then they discovered that you can add sugar to cereal and make it even more appealing. The author talks about cereals that had up to 70% of sugar that were marketed to kids! That just boggles my mind.

I’ve never really thought about it before but this book seriously wants me to make a commitment to clean eating. So you’re probably wondering why I never thought it was an issue before? I’ve known that the ingredients — wait, let me rephrase… the chemicals that food manufacturers add to food is bad. But really, I don’t think we eat  a ton of process food. Soda here and there, but the majority of our foods are made from scratch. Condiments, chips and beverages are the foods that get me.

So I never thought I was eating “enough” food to really impact me. But, boy am I wrong! Seriously. Even these little ingredients like ketchup, mayo, etc. are FILLED with sugar, not to mention chemicals and sodium… oh, the sodium! I haven’t even gotten to that section but recently have been reading labels and it’s incredible how much sodium are in foods… in foods that you wouldn’t even think have any business having sodium.

And the reasoning behind this? Manufacturers took advantage of women working out of the home. To make them feel less guilty, they started producing these foods so they could still feed and care for their families without having to spend a significant amount of time.

Honestly, I think this is BS. Even though you’re working, it doesn’t mean you can’t make dinner. Sure, there are those days where you come home and it’s by far the last thing you want to do… but you can whip up a pretty good meal in 20-30 minutes. A meal that doesn’t have to include chemicals, sugar, salt… one that actually has nutrients.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn in this book (I’m only about 100 pages in). I never thought I would be so glued to a nonfiction book, but wow, it’s fabulous.

 

Do you think sugar is as addicting as cocaine?

Do you eat clean? Why or why not? 

What do you think about the “sugar crisis”? 



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