Are You a “Heavy User” of Salty, Sugary, Fatty Foods? Let Michael Moss Open Your Eyes

Diet check-up:  Are you hooked on too much salt sugar and fat?

Join the Conversation: Are you a “heavy user” of salty, sugary or fatty foods? 

salt sugar and fatAre you hooked on salty, sugary or fatty processed foods?

If you wonder why certain packaged food products call out to you often, you must read the brilliant, eye-opening book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us from Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Moss, an investigatve reporter for The New York Times.

Lately, while researching and writing my next book, I haven’t been able to put down the fascinating Salt Sugar Fat.. (Mostly, I’ve been listening to the book via CDs while en route to the gym, Whole Foods or bvusiness meetings. This book was so compelling that I’m now listening to all 12 CDs again.)

Frankly, I’m in awe of Moss and his investigative prowess. Over a period of three-and-a-half years, he interviewed hundreds of industry insiders, who revealed jaw-dropping, inside information about what our favorite food companies do to land space on grocery store shelves, crush the competition, boost the bottom line, please Wall Street, and influence our buying habits so we can’t pass up on foods with salt, sugar and fat.

For those of you, who find yourself frequently buying and eating certain processed chips, cookies or cereals, Moss sheds light on why this may be happening.

The captivating processed food substances you find on supermarket shelves “are knowingly designed—engineered is the better word—to maximize their allure,” Moss writes.

Michael-Moss_credit-Tony-Ce._V374823686_ (2)“Their packaging is tailored to excite our kids,” he continues.

“Their advertising uses every psychological trick to overcome any logical arguments we might have for passing the product by.”

Plus, their “taste is so powerful,” he writes, “we remember it from the last time we walked down the aisle and succumbed, snatching them up. And above all else, their formulas are calculated and perfected by scientists who know very well what they are doing.”

Indeed, those of you, who struggle to peel off pounds and hate that you can’t quit over-consuming your favorite sweet soft drinks, salty chips, or fatty cookies, you need to know that food scientists are actually using cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” and enhance the “mouthfeel” of your preferred foods so they’ll sell more, Moss explains.

Oh Goodness! Food Companies Call Big Buyers of Processed Foods “Heavy Users”

Perhaps one of the more scary revelations Moss makes in Salt, Sugar Fat is how the food industry regards its ardent customers.

In their board rooms and science labs, food industry insiders call you, their loyal buyers, “heavy users.”

No, I’m not talking about drugs, but, in light of recent food addiction research, that shows how the brain lights up on sugar as it does on cocaine, the term “user” is certainly apt.

And you wonder why your most intense, all-consuming, wild cravings for unnatural, packaged, sugary, salty, fatty foodstuffs swoop in on you often as if they were ravenous vultures waiting for their next dead prey to disembowel?

Sorry for the gross imagery, but as a former sugar-addicted journalist, my goal is not only to educate you, but to help you become strong, alert, and determined to lift your choose-healthy-food muscles when you’re at your favorite supermarket, as well as at drug stores, movie theaters and even hospitals..

By the way, just as I was about to put this post up on this Sugar Shock Blog, I discovered — while catching up on Dr. Oz Show episodes — that yesterday, Moss was featured in an awesome episode, Supermarket Secrets: How They Fool You Into Buying Foods That Make You Fat.

Watch The Dr. Oz Show episode with Moss now.

And bear in mind, as Moss told Dr. Oz, that “when you walk into the store, there are traps.”

With that in mind, it’s best to be prepared with “that shopping list, commit yourself to stick with it, shop when you’re full, shop with a clear mind,” Moss urges.

Let Michael Moss open your eyes now by buying his intriguing book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.

Join the Conversation: Are you a “heavy user” of salty, sugary or fatty foods?

Children Are Likely Watching Junk Food Ads on Nickelodeon

Fat kid watching TV 6a00d834520ed269e20105361768fc970c-320wi Whenever children watch the popular children's network Nickelodeon, nearly 80 percent of food ads they see are promoting foods of poor nutritional quality,
according to an analysis conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

This is only "a modest and not quite statistically significant drop
from 2005, when CSPI researchers found that about 90 percent of food
ads on Nick were for junk food," CSPI announced.

The watchdog organization points out that between the two studies (in 2005 and 2009), the
food industry instituted a self-regulatory program through the Council
of Better Business Bureaus, the Children’s Food and Beverage
Advertising Initiative
(CFBAI).

Cookie crisp - gm ccok cisp Listen to what else CSPI discovered with advertising from food companies that
participate in the "self-regulatory program."

Of 452 foods and
beverages that companies claim are acceptable to market to children, 267, or nearly 60 percent, do NOT meet CSPI's recommended
nutrition standards for food marketing to children, such as General
Mills' Cookie Crisp
and Reese’s Puffs cereals, Kellogg Apple Jacks and
Cocoa Krispies cereals, Kellogg Rice Krispies Treats, Campbell's
Goldfish crackers and SpaghettiOs, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and
many Unilever Popsicles.

"While industry self-regulation is providing some useful
benchmarks, it's clearly not shielding children from junk food
advertising, on Nick and elsewhere," said CSPI nutrition policy
director Margo G. Wootan.

"It's a modest start, but not sufficient to
address children’s poor eating habits and the sky-high rates of
childhood obesity."

"Nickelodeon should be ashamed that it earns so much money from
carrying commercials that promote obesity, diabetes, and other health
problems in young children," Wootan said. "If media and food companies
don't do a better job exercising corporate responsibility when they
market foods to children, Congress and the FTC will need to step in to
protect kids’ health."

Wootan makes some valid points. Nick should be embarrassed by the fact that so many TV ads pitch junk foods that can lead to obesity, diabetes and more. 

It's time, I believe, for the government to step in to prevent junk food advertising to kids.

FDA Finds Fault With Diet Coke Plus’s “Misbranded” Label & Nutrition Claims

Dietcokeplus It's a given that diet soda isn't a healthy drink.

But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally woken up.

The governmental agency — which allows nutrient-lacking, potentially harmful diet drinks on the market in the first place — is now berating Coca-Cola's new Diet Coke Plus because it's "misbranded."

The governmental agency, which posted a warning letter on its website, finds fault with the soda company's use of the word "Plus" as part of its name and label. What's more, Diet Coke Plus doesn't meet the FDA's criteria to make a nutrient content claim.

I generally don't applaud FDA actions — after all, I'm nowhere near a fan of synthetic, nutrient-lacking diet drinks containing aspartame, Splenda, etc. — but this time I'm behind the FDA for its smart move to berate Diet Coke Plus for being marketed as "a good source of vitamins B3, B6, and B12 and the minerals zinc and magnesium."

It's about time the FDA called Coca-Cola to task for boldly claiming on its website that each 8-ounce serving of the soft drink "provides 15% of your RDI for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10% for zinc and magnesium."

Anyhow, I appreciate the FDA's stand that it's just not "appropriate to fortify snack foods such as carbonated beverages."

Let's call soft drinks what they are — nutrient lacking. Besides, can your body even process these so-called added nutrients?

In fact, one expert tells me that "the phosphoric acid and pH alone would prevent ANY absorption whatsoever" of these nutrients. Besides, the expert adds, "the vitamins or minerals are pure synthetics."

Coca-Cola now has has 15 days to correct its violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Thanks to WebMD, Scientific American and the OC Weekly for their interesting stories about this.

Incidentally, my diet soda days have long gone bye-bye, and after doing research about artificial sweeteners for my book SUGAR SHOCK!, I now religiously steer clear of the stuff. Just give me some water and some fresh vegetables and fruits and supplements if I want extra B vitamins and magnesium.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Dig Deeper Before Believing the New Corn Lobby Ads & Consuming the Stuff

Have you seen any of the TV spots, print and online banner ads that seek to convince us that high fructose corn syrup is fun to consume?

Before you believe the many new ads from the Corn Refiners Association – which is spending a reported $20 million to $30 million to convince us of its safety — I urge you to get facts from my recent Gab With The Gurus Radio Show, where I had the following guests:

Before, during or after you listen to the Gab With the Gurus Radio Show about high fructose corn syrup, I recommend that you:

Remember, you can listen at any time to the Gab  With the Gurus Radio Show about high fructose corn syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: See My Remarks on 3 Minute Ad Age

Wondering what to think about the new ads for high fructose corn syrup? Last week, Advertising Age interviewd me to get my thoughts about the subject. 

See their piece for 3 Minute Ad Age news story, A Sour View of Corn Refiners' Sweetener Ads, for which I was interviewed.

Special thanks to video producer Jill Bauerle for having the insights to do this story.

“How Many Licks” Sweepstakes

From Gerry Pugliese for Connie’s SUGAR SHOCK! Blog.

Lick your way to a sugar rush!

Don’t worry: I’m not urging you to do that. Rather, Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pops is giving you the chance to win $50,000 by answering Mr. Owl’s 38-year old question, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?"

Of course, any kid knows the answer, “A One…A.two-HOO…A three…” But I guess that’s the problem. I’d rather youngsters figure out how many bites it takes to get to the center of an apple.

Anyway, according to Slashfood, the prize for guessing the licks is 27 POUNDS of assorted Tootsie Roll goodies. Makes my teeth rot and puts me inso Sugar Shock! just thinking about it!

I’m not recommending you take action on this offer, but to get awestruck by this contest, check out the official entry form at AskMrOwl.com. And lest you get tempted, remember, sugar highs inevitably lead to sugar lows.