Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Food Baddies: Salt, Sugar and Fat

      On Thursday morning I listened to and interview on CBC with Michael Moss who has just written a book called "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. What  fascinating interview!

     Michael told how large food companies go to great lengths to put the right balance of salt,sugar and fat in their products so that we will literally become addicted to the product and there fore buy more of the item over and over again. 

    Salt enhances flavor so that we find the food pleasing to the taste and therefore eat more. Salt also causes high blood pressure, but do the large companies care? Nor one bit. 

    Sugar is used in an amazing number of products. Relish has sugar in it. He covers cereals which are pitched to kids and how the sugar content has steadily increased and why. Kids are growing. A sugar kick doesn't last long so the brain tells the kid you're growing, you have to eat some more. It's unbelievable how much sugar is loaded into cereals.   Sugar leads to diabetes and diabetes is a nasty that causes all kinds of other health problems.

     Fat also makes food more pleasant. Fat can lead to high cholesterol which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

    So people eat the three baddies and they first of all become obese and that leads to a very unhappy life style and huge health costs.

    What to do? Moss has all kinds of practical suggestions. However , the whole thing is a challenge. Just the other day a motion was made in the Canadian Parliament to require salt labeling to be more precise. Prime Minister Steven Harper voted against this motion as he thought it would cause companies difficulty. What rubbish!

    I am not innocent when it comes to salt, sugar and fat. I have been lucky. At school I developed a coke habit. Usually one a day but on a bad day maybe three. I also had a small bag of cheezies each day! When I retired I heard that sodas had 7 teaspoons of sugar in them. I stopped drinking pop immediately. I did eat a lot of chips. I loved chips. Now I rarely eat them. I don't have salt on the table and rarely put salt in things that I cook. 

    My wife was diagnosed with high cholesterol quite a while ago. We made an effort to change our diet and reduce fat. I benefited from that one.

    I still have some vices to face. I eat quite a bit of canned soup. It's loaded with salt. I can remember enjoying tomato soup and putting lots of salt and pepper on it. Yikes!

    I certainly enjoyed Moss's comments. They made me think again and I will try and cut down on these some more.

   It was interesting to see that Moss was interviewed by a number of programs. Papers covered him too. I guess that's what happens when you come out with a hot new book.