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Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat comes a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health. Michael Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities--as From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat comes a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health. Michael Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities--as well as food manufacturers--already know: that food, in some cases, is even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Our bodies are hardwired for sweets, so food giants have developed fifty-six types of sugar to add to their products, creating in us the expectation that everything should be cloying; we've evolved to prefer fast, convenient meals, hence our modern-day preference for ready-to-eat foods. Moss goes on to show how the processed food industry--including major companies like Nestlé, Mars, and Kellogg's--has tried not only to evade this troubling discovery about the addictiveness of food but to actually exploit it. For instance, in response to recent dieting trends, food manufacturers have simply turned junk food into junk diets, filling grocery stores with "diet" foods that are hardly distinguishable from the products that got us into trouble in the first place. As obesity rates continue to climb, manufacturers are now claiming to add ingredients that can effortlessly cure our compulsive eating habits. An account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis, Moss lays out all that the food industry is doing to exploit and deepen our addictions, and shows us why what we eat has never mattered more.


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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat comes a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health. Michael Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities--as From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat comes a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health. Michael Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities--as well as food manufacturers--already know: that food, in some cases, is even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Our bodies are hardwired for sweets, so food giants have developed fifty-six types of sugar to add to their products, creating in us the expectation that everything should be cloying; we've evolved to prefer fast, convenient meals, hence our modern-day preference for ready-to-eat foods. Moss goes on to show how the processed food industry--including major companies like Nestlé, Mars, and Kellogg's--has tried not only to evade this troubling discovery about the addictiveness of food but to actually exploit it. For instance, in response to recent dieting trends, food manufacturers have simply turned junk food into junk diets, filling grocery stores with "diet" foods that are hardly distinguishable from the products that got us into trouble in the first place. As obesity rates continue to climb, manufacturers are now claiming to add ingredients that can effortlessly cure our compulsive eating habits. An account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis, Moss lays out all that the food industry is doing to exploit and deepen our addictions, and shows us why what we eat has never mattered more.

30 review for Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra X living life blissfully,not through books!

    Pre-prepared foods, snacks and candies are, as far as government regulation is concerned, Just like with the drugs trade with the not-yet-illegal drugs, government regulation is always challenged by new research and new products. Doesn't matter what you ban, use PR against, insist on full disclosure, the urge and virtue of making money in a capitalist society and our own sheep-like behaviour will ensure that we will go on eating unhealthy food we enjoy and begging the government to be our nanny Pre-prepared foods, snacks and candies are, as far as government regulation is concerned, Just like with the drugs trade with the not-yet-illegal drugs, government regulation is always challenged by new research and new products. Doesn't matter what you ban, use PR against, insist on full disclosure, the urge and virtue of making money in a capitalist society and our own sheep-like behaviour will ensure that we will go on eating unhealthy food we enjoy and begging the government to be our nanny and regulate the naughty companies who tempt us beyond all endurance. Except for those self-disciplined people who can make a chocolate bar last a month, one square at a time. (I do not know any of these people personally, but I have heard of them). There are only two things that can conquer this unhealthy, obesity-making state of affairs: a gene or homone treatment so that those of us put on weight will cease to do so and this is probably a long way off. Or learning self-control which is here with us right now. But it's very difficult and most of us will wait for the treatment and continue munching on crisps, chips, Mars bars, and sugary sweet breakfast cereals with our pancakes, maple syrup and morning doughnut. It occurs to me that teaching self control from kindergarten age might work. ____________________ Notes on reading This is a bad-news book. Two points - one is that if you are fat, you are going to be fat, and if you have a gastric band or other stomach-size limiting operation, you are almost certainly going to be fat again at some point. The ability to control one's food intake lies in the brain and has a related hormone, grelin. This has been known (and ignored) for a long time. I have a huge appetite and am bigger than my son, we might eat the same meals but he eats less, doesn't need to finish the bar of chocolate and can go through the day without snacking. I can't. So I'm 20lb overweight. Humans have more fat because we evolved to have long pregnancies and downtime raising babies, the fat is our the energy resource for that time. As such, fat itself is an organ and will fight losing weight, will do it's best - by lowering metabolism - to retain and regain fat. It will use less and store more, for example, after a successful diet. Our own bodies are against us! The other point is that all food products are designed to make you want more of them and to eat them more often. The design, marketing and entire business of snack foods and sodas is designed to get you hooked. Some are even designed to get very young children hooked - McDonald's et al with their toys. Oreo little packets with their tiny little cookies designed 'for little hands to hold'. Any legal action against the big companies like Nabisco and Pepsico to force them to declare nutrition, to stop using transfats, to actually make their products less desirable in the interest of people's health is never going to work. No company is going to accept a downturn in profits, they are always going to look at legal technicalities and to stay one step ahead in product development. Now they are using neuroscience.... Their business is to get the consumer addicted to their product and the technicalities are usually about what is addiction, habituation and just plain free will. Not all of us are ignorant about nutrition and not habituated to any particular food, but will still choose to eat badly because we like it. Should we be protected from ourselves? But does it matter if the thin are destined to be thin and the fat,fat?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    ~~~An eye-opening and fascinating look at how the processed food industry hooks us... and keeps us hooked~~~ If you've ever eaten a peanut butter M&M, you know the thrilling sensation they give: The invigoration as the sugary coating meets your taste buds, the satisfying crunch as you bite into it, followed by the burst of saltiness as the creamy insides melt on your tongue, mixing salty and sweet, crunchy and smooth. I don't know anyone who can stop at just one. I used to eat bags of those thing ~~~An eye-opening and fascinating look at how the processed food industry hooks us... and keeps us hooked~~~ If you've ever eaten a peanut butter M&M, you know the thrilling sensation they give: The invigoration as the sugary coating meets your taste buds, the satisfying crunch as you bite into it, followed by the burst of saltiness as the creamy insides melt on your tongue, mixing salty and sweet, crunchy and smooth. I don't know anyone who can stop at just one. I used to eat bags of those things. Every couple weeks, Walgreens would have them on sale, and I'd traipse across the road and load up my basket, a modern day hunter gatherer thrilled to find this cheap and tasty source of calories. I bought so many of them that the employees knew to expect me. I ate those M&Ms throughout the day. I ate them before bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night, several times, and toss a handful into my mouth. I couldn't stop eating them and knew I shouldn't be, but like everyone with an addiction, my brain found a way to rationalize and insist it wasn't a problem. I'm so thin, maybe they'll help me gain weight, my brain suggested. I must need something in them or I wouldn't crave them, it then assured me. I don't eat meat, or fast food, or anything greasy, it continued; a bit of sugar won't hurt. I can stop whenever I want! Looking back now, I see I had an addiction. My overconsumption of those peanut buttery, saccharine bites of fat and salt and sugar makes sense in the light of evolution, but it wasn't a good thing. In Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions, author Michael Moss breaks down the nature of addiction, showing how and why our brains get addicted. He discusses our brain chemistry and the hormones it releases when we eat, do drugs, smoke tobacco -- or any other thing we get addicted to, including those M&Ms. He shows how we evolved to crave calories and how our brains reward us when we eat a lot of fat or sugar. Natural selection favored those of our ancestors who enjoyed high caloric foods when they were limited.  Eating extra calories helped them survive in a world where food might at any time become scarce. Now, with cheap calories almost always within hand's reach, our evolved love of sweets, salts, and fats is killing us.  After looking into the nature of addiction, Mr. Moss turns to the fast- and processed food industries, exposing how they exploit our emotions and instincts. They know how to hook us by taking control of our senses - our ability to smell as we eat, the manner in which our eyes delight at colorful packaging, the way sugar reaches and ignites the brain in half a second.  It was fascinating to learn their tricks of the trade.... and infuriating! Mr Moss tells how they study psychology to figure out how to make the most sales. How they use fMRI scans to learn the exact amounts of sugar that will give our brains the most reward and thus keep us coming back for more. How the food industry funds studies to "prove" their products are good for us (no wonder there is so much conflicting information on whether or not eggs or Corn Flakes or low-fat ice cream is good for us). How they design nutrition labels to confuse us and how they pretend to make our foods healthier when we demand it. (Hint: that Velveeta Light you ate with lunch had only ten fewer calories per serving than the regular.) This is my favourite type of book to read, with facts galore. I made 52 highlights, and shared at least twice as much with my partner as I was reading. There is so much I could share but if you're interested in this topic, you should read the book.  You will learn things like: • How our stomachs have taste receptors that recognize sweetness and how our guts signal to our brains whether we should keep eating or stop.  • How both rats and human babies make the same facial expressions upon tasting something sweet or sour. • How the more we eat of a certain food, the more our brains crave it. • How an estimated three-fourths of our food contains added sugar and the average American eats seventy-three pounds of it a year. • How epigenetics might play a role in whether or not someone is driven to overeat and how much their body stores food as fat. Mr Moss shares the history of fast and processed foods as well as the latest research on obesity. He interviewed scientists and people in the food industry and brought together everything he learned about food and food addiction in this interesting and informative book. And lest you think you are at the mercy of your genes and the food industry's slick tricks, I want to assure you that it's possible to break food addiction.  Those peanut butter M&Ms I used to scarf down by the bagful and didn't think I could live without? Imagining them now makes my mouth twist in disgust. A few years ago my partner and I decided to switch to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. Though I craved (that's putting it lightly) M&Ms and other candy for a couple weeks, my brain eventually stopped demanding them.  A month or two after changing the way we ate, I saw an ad for M&Ms and decided I wanted needed them. I was shocked to discover I not only didn't like them anymore, I thought they were revolting. It might be difficult but we can take control of our habits and change the way we eat. Having more information about our food and our proclivity to overeat and become addicted makes it easier. Hooked is an entertaining way to get that information.  ************************************* (For those of you who saw my original gripe/review - I was wrong. It's embarrassing to admit but I don't want anyone being put off this book because I claimed the author's description of the hypothalamus was incorrect. It turns out he was right, and I'm thankful he reached out to let me know or I would have missed out on reading this excellent book. The hypothalamus is the size of an almond (not a pea as I thought) and some do describe it as almond-shaped. Others describe it as conical (which is what I thought) or diamond-shaped. It is awkwardly-shaped, defying an easy description. My apologies to the author and to all of you for not doing my homework (tip: Don't accept Google's first answer, especially if it conforms to what you already think). Facts are important and, much as I hate being wrong, it's better to learn that I am rather than letting my ego cling to misinformation.) 

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thats another story

    Say no to pumpkin spice This book asks can food be addictive.  The most telling quote was by a researcher Dana Small, "It`s not so much that food is addictive, but rather that we by nature are drawn to eating, and the companies have changed the food." The first part of this book did a good job showing extreme cases of addiction and how humans have evolved.  The second half of this book for me is where the magic happens.  The processed food companies are working day and night not just to make a bet Say no to pumpkin spice This book asks can food be addictive.  The most telling quote was by a researcher Dana Small, "It`s not so much that food is addictive, but rather that we by nature are drawn to eating, and the companies have changed the food." The first part of this book did a good job showing extreme cases of addiction and how humans have evolved.  The second half of this book for me is where the magic happens.  The processed food companies are working day and night not just to make a better product but to create foods that humans can`t stop eating.  I think it can be easy to forget that.  Its easy to know on an intellectual level that processed food is unhealthy and created in a way to be cheap and tasty, not necessarily nutritious or even filling.  Even knowing that, hearing about specific details in the creation of processed foods can be a eye opener: "In our kitchen cabinets, pumpkin spice is made of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and maybe ginger.  Not so in processed food.  Its pumpkin spice is simulated through deployment of as many as eighty elements." I think most people are aware that processed food is bad for you and that most companies selling anything are focused on selling a product, not so much what happens after.  Reading this book can put that at the forefront of all of minds. The only person who has the best interest of your family at heart is you.  Just because processed food is sold doesn`t mean we should buy it. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on personal responsibility. How accountable should food corporations be for selling creating products that have the potential to cause this much harm?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    This book might top my list for 2021. Author Michael Moss is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. If you haven’t read his game changing 2013 book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, start there and come back to this one. As you may infer from the title, Salt Sugar Fat is a deep dive into how the food industry pumped up (you guessed it) the salt, sugar and fat content of processed foods, making them them artificially reinforcing and subsequently not only awful for you, but extremely hard This book might top my list for 2021. Author Michael Moss is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. If you haven’t read his game changing 2013 book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, start there and come back to this one. As you may infer from the title, Salt Sugar Fat is a deep dive into how the food industry pumped up (you guessed it) the salt, sugar and fat content of processed foods, making them them artificially reinforcing and subsequently not only awful for you, but extremely hard to resist. Hooked expands on this theme by exposing how recent insights into addiction science have further enabled the makers of processed foods to hack our brains, and make junk food LITERALLY addictive. Not figuratively, but very very literally addictive. What we call ‘addiction’ is most effectively conceptualized as a malfunction of our otherwise adaptive, evolutionarily conditioned motivational system and learning capabilities. Context sensitive motivational and behavioral adaptation enabled our ancestors to survive and reproduce in conditions of abrupt change, intense competition and extreme scarcity. Unfortunately these same motivational and learning processes can become hijacked and pathological with prolonged and repeated exposure to reinforcing stimuli of extreme salience, novelty and convenience. Chemically enhancing food products to be ridiculously stimulating, super cheap, and easily available in endless variety means that they operate on our brains in much the same way as drugs of abuse liability. Before you dismiss this claim. Imagine quitting processed foods and snacks. No more Chunky Monkeys, no more Frappuccinos, no more Cinnabons, no more Chips, no more Sodas, no exceptions!!!! You can include all those artificially sweetened diet foods too. Because they may be as bad or even be worse in terms of addiction liability. Anyhow. If all of this conjures lonely, painful feelings you’d rather avoid, than you’re starting to feel me. If you’re still not convinced, than go ahead, try it out bro, quit you’re yakin and stop snakin. Then comeback and talk to me in a week or two. Some of y’all (lucky people) could do it no problem. Most of y’all (normal people) will have some amount (probably a lot) of difficulty, but you could also do it. But some of us (unlucky bastards) couldn’t do it even if our lives depended on it. And by the way. Our lives totally depend on it. One of the crazy convincing arguments Moss makes is embedded in his retelling of the Philip Morris acquisition of Kraft Foods corporation in 1985. To make a long story short. Philip Morris funded research on addiction and essentially utilized it to make their snacks act like crack. And obesity (defined as 35 pounds or more overweight) progressively skyrocketed to their current epidemic proportions (about 40% of US adults). This is a really engaging, really informative book. If it sounds at all interesting. Definitely pick it up. But be warned. You may not be able to put it down. Five Cupcakes 🧁 🧁🧁 🧁🧁

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is Nonfiction Science on food addiction and it is by no accident that this is happening. And not just in the the US. Foods have been specifically designed for this. First, I found this book highly entertaining. I listened to the audio and Scott Brick did the narration and I loved it. This was a fun "listen". Sobering, but entertaining too. Now, I did feel like I had to read between the lines at times with this one, as well as trying to hear what wasn't being said. But the author made many v This is Nonfiction Science on food addiction and it is by no accident that this is happening. And not just in the the US. Foods have been specifically designed for this. First, I found this book highly entertaining. I listened to the audio and Scott Brick did the narration and I loved it. This was a fun "listen". Sobering, but entertaining too. Now, I did feel like I had to read between the lines at times with this one, as well as trying to hear what wasn't being said. But the author made many valid points. I really liked this one. So 4 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    kathy

    Basically the same information as his previous book: Salt Sugar Fat as well as Marion Nestle's: Unsavory Truth: How the Food Industry Skews the Science of What We Eat. Suing fast food chains and blaming obesity on food choices which are designed to keep you buying and eating negates the free will individuals possess to walk past the vending machine, to walk 30 minutes a day and to rely on basic intelligence . Food Giant chemists exploit our vulnerabilities and make us feel hardwired to grab the Basically the same information as his previous book: Salt Sugar Fat as well as Marion Nestle's: Unsavory Truth: How the Food Industry Skews the Science of What We Eat. Suing fast food chains and blaming obesity on food choices which are designed to keep you buying and eating negates the free will individuals possess to walk past the vending machine, to walk 30 minutes a day and to rely on basic intelligence . Food Giant chemists exploit our vulnerabilities and make us feel hardwired to grab the chip or cookie or beer but my feeling is that we use the word 'addiction' too quickly thereby avoiding responsibility for our choices in food.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    I was surprised how good this was and enjoyed a different take on food addiction. Food is meant to nourish us and keep us full so our bodies and organs function properly. However, the manufacturers of processed food (including fast food) do a fantastic job of making unhealthy food appealing, alluring and the only option. How? Labeling, marketing, mascots of companies; just for a few examples. It is scary to think food addiction to the wrong items is just as harmful as drug and alcohol abuse. Thi I was surprised how good this was and enjoyed a different take on food addiction. Food is meant to nourish us and keep us full so our bodies and organs function properly. However, the manufacturers of processed food (including fast food) do a fantastic job of making unhealthy food appealing, alluring and the only option. How? Labeling, marketing, mascots of companies; just for a few examples. It is scary to think food addiction to the wrong items is just as harmful as drug and alcohol abuse. This author definitely did some solid research. And can we talk about the cover? Very appealing. Definitely recommend this book if you are into reading about food addiction or wanting to make a positive change in your body. Thanks to Netgalley, Michael Moss, and Random House Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Available: 3/2/21

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "Hooked" by Michael Moss is an expose about how the food industry uses research and careful marketing schemes to get us addicted to food. This book highlights how sugar and processed foods are just as addictive as tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, which is scary considering that most people are exposed to fast, easy, and processed food at a much younger age. This book also provides a really interesting analysis about the evolution of eating habits since the beginning of human life and how the food in "Hooked" by Michael Moss is an expose about how the food industry uses research and careful marketing schemes to get us addicted to food. This book highlights how sugar and processed foods are just as addictive as tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, which is scary considering that most people are exposed to fast, easy, and processed food at a much younger age. This book also provides a really interesting analysis about the evolution of eating habits since the beginning of human life and how the food industry shapes our food habits in the current day. "Hooked" definitely made me think about grabbing that second handful of candy! This book is scary but important.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Srikanth

    I got interested in this book to find out more about addiction and how we get hooked to things, especially food, and if there are ways to break that addiction. After having read 'Salt, Sugar and Fat' by the same author, my expectations were set high, but I don't think I learned a whole lot from this new book as a lot of this information was known earlier. This book has lot of information about the experiments that were conducted and how the smell, sight or indication or hint of food releases ple I got interested in this book to find out more about addiction and how we get hooked to things, especially food, and if there are ways to break that addiction. After having read 'Salt, Sugar and Fat' by the same author, my expectations were set high, but I don't think I learned a whole lot from this new book as a lot of this information was known earlier. This book has lot of information about the experiments that were conducted and how the smell, sight or indication or hint of food releases pleasure hormones which lead us to behave in certain ways. Stress also leads us to binge on food. The book delves into how advertising induces us to get hooked onto processed foods. Overall, a good insight on addiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Srikanth

    I got interested in this book to find out more about addiction and how we get hooked to things, especially food, and if there are ways to break that addiction. After having read 'Salt, Sugar and Fat' by the same author, my expectations were set high, but I don't think I learned a whole lot from this new book as a lot of this information was known earlier. This book has lot of information about the experiments that were conducted and how the smell, sight or indication or hint of food releases ple I got interested in this book to find out more about addiction and how we get hooked to things, especially food, and if there are ways to break that addiction. After having read 'Salt, Sugar and Fat' by the same author, my expectations were set high, but I don't think I learned a whole lot from this new book as a lot of this information was known earlier. This book has lot of information about the experiments that were conducted and how the smell, sight or indication or hint of food releases pleasure hormones which lead us to behave in certain ways. Stress also leads us to binge on food. The book delves into how advertising induces us to get hooked onto processed foods. Overall, a good insight on addiction.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Freed

    This is an eye opening book on how food companies exploit and manipulate us, leading to health problems. Hooked is an engaging book, telling personal stories as well as facts about the food industry. Covid isn't the real killer here in the USA, Obesity is: leading to many different diseases from diabetes, heart disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and a host of other problems. Very well told! Thanks to NetGalley for gifting me this ARC. This is an eye opening book on how food companies exploit and manipulate us, leading to health problems. Hooked is an engaging book, telling personal stories as well as facts about the food industry. Covid isn't the real killer here in the USA, Obesity is: leading to many different diseases from diabetes, heart disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and a host of other problems. Very well told! Thanks to NetGalley for gifting me this ARC.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    Very informative. Also frightening to read in detail just how processed so much of our food is and what that means for our minds and bodies. I have to be more attentive to making food from scratch, reading those ingredient lists, and if I don’t know what something is... consider putting it back on the store shelf. One ingredient I’d never paid attention to before, maltodextrin, seems like it should be avoided. (There are more.) I’m glad I read this book and hope that the inspirations I have now t Very informative. Also frightening to read in detail just how processed so much of our food is and what that means for our minds and bodies. I have to be more attentive to making food from scratch, reading those ingredient lists, and if I don’t know what something is... consider putting it back on the store shelf. One ingredient I’d never paid attention to before, maltodextrin, seems like it should be avoided. (There are more.) I’m glad I read this book and hope that the inspirations I have now to be more attentive to ingredients and habits, stays with me long after this book has gathered a layer of dust on the shelf. The book reminded me that “snacking” is not normal or a healthy way to eat, and we’ve been falsely lead into this idea by the food industry that wants us to eat and eat and eat. The book explained that a study (or studies, I don’t recall) showed that people who snacked tend to eat over 600 extra calories a day. That is a lot!! The book didn’t have a “smoking-gun” type moment where the author found a memo from Kraft (or some other food giant) that said we are going to addict America (and the world) with this certain chemical that will make everyone eat and eat our chemical-ized unhealthy food. But, the book explains that this isn’t necessary. Unlike tobacco or alcohol, we all eat food, and we need to. We can’t like on a total abstinence option like those with alcohols and cigarette addiction are told to employ. It is a fundamental part of our being to crave food and get hungry. We are built “ripe for the pickin” by an industry that has created unnatural and addictive products in unnatural combinations and crunches and textures that over-stimulate our taste buds, brain, and other senses to eat and eat and eat. There are so many “aha” moments in this book. For example, the creation of “snack packs.” There is one called a Doy Pack, named after the woman who worked for one of these industrial food giants. It’s a package of snacks we’ve probably all bought. It has a bottom that splays out so it stands on its own. It is small enough to be held in one hand. The opening is wide enough for one hand to reach in and the goodies inside are bite-sized to pull out a few at a time. All of this was engineered to get us to snack on the go and eat, and eat mindlessly. People don’t eat one or two of these little snacks, they eat and eat and eat. And... this is not our fault! The food industry engineered this. They want us to sit there whether driving a car or watching tv or working on a computer and believe that 1) snacking when you are on the go or just busy is a normal thing to do and 2) this little delectable is an acceptable option. They have designed the packages and the commercials in colors and sounds to invoke food responses with us. They targeted us when we were young and most of us have developed pleasant memories that we now associate with these foods. McDonalds is a master at this, apparently. They worked to create a wonderful childhood experience with the happy meal, those crispy salty French fries. And now, as adults, just seeing a picture of the “Golden Arches” or a commercial of golden fries falling across the screen is enough to get our brains to relive the memories and crave it without hunger. When you read the book it’s the equivalent of pulling back the curtain and seeing the secrets. Isn’t awareness one of the first steps to solving a problem? Well, this book is a part of becoming aware. I’ve heard before that we should go to the grocery store and just buy around the perimeter, because the processed foods lurk in the middle. This book mentions this. The author also suggests not drinking anything with calories. My immediate question is, does that include milk??? But, aside from wanting milk for my morning coffee, seriously what is life without a beautiful frothy latte???? I get the point and it makes sense. I’m very glad I read this book. The writing is easy to read. I read page after page in one sitting without distraction - which based on how I read means I found the writing good and the subject interesting. Enjoy!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    I liked this a lot, enough to read it in a day, but I’m struggling to put my finger on what I didn’t love. I think it’s just that so much of it wasn’t new to me, and I read everything in this genre always hoping something in this will be as much of a beautifully written narrative illumination as Fast Food Nation. I’m also a bit bugged by the very casual use of “processed” food - in general, not in this book alone - because I know what people mean, but there are degrees of processing. Whole wheat I liked this a lot, enough to read it in a day, but I’m struggling to put my finger on what I didn’t love. I think it’s just that so much of it wasn’t new to me, and I read everything in this genre always hoping something in this will be as much of a beautifully written narrative illumination as Fast Food Nation. I’m also a bit bugged by the very casual use of “processed” food - in general, not in this book alone - because I know what people mean, but there are degrees of processing. Whole wheat pasta is a processed food, for example. Do we consider no-salt-added peeled, canned tomatoes processed? I would. You can roll your eyes and say OBVIOUSLY it’s all the ingredient-laden junky colorfully packaged stuff with a cartoon character selling it, but I think it can be quite confusing for people. From reading this you get the impression that the general public is just whiplashing back and forth as food company-funded studies churn out different findings and then react to avoid bad publicity or litigation. First it’s fat, then it’s sugar, then it’s fake sugar, back to fat but now trans fat, and so on. When in reality, which he does state very well here, for most people it’s all a lot more complicated than whatever the demon of the moment is and there’s a lot of evolutionary biology and psychology at play too (and to be fair trans fats are still pretty much just bad). Anyway, what’s processed is a minor point I guess but I always think there needs to be clearer delineation between highly processed foods (Cotton Candy Cap’n Crunch, a heave-inducing example used in this book) and understanding what good things processing has done for the global food supply. It’s not realistic to get most people to only eat things that have been yanked from the ground or grow on trees, so we need to get a bit more realistic about our relationship with processing. (I’ll get off my soapbox now.) I still haven’t read his other book but I’m hoping it goes more into salt, this one was very sugar-focused and I felt like most of that is well known, or maybe I read too much of this stuff, having been a former disordered eater for a decade or so myself. But the big basic takeaway is that some foods can be addictive, some people are more susceptible than others, and there are a lot of nasty gnarly factors involved, mostly involving money from Big Food’s side and human biology and psychology from consumers. It’s kind of a bummer but I think a worthwhile read for anyone who feels obsessed with food or diet or the like. There’s some good info here and slowing down, learning to cook, and avoiding anything that jacks up your pleasure and reward mechanism will fix it. He says it more eloquently than that but that’s the gist.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robin Steinberg

    3.5 Stars. Hooked is a well-researched, easy-to-read examination of the processed food industry and the deliberate, calculated, ever-evolving work by billion-dollar corporations to create and market food products that aren’t just enticing but psychologically and physically addictive. Author Michael Moss has dedicated much of his career as an investigative journalist to uncovering the unsettling truths about processed food. Knowledge is power, and I do find it empowering to know the lengths to wh 3.5 Stars. Hooked is a well-researched, easy-to-read examination of the processed food industry and the deliberate, calculated, ever-evolving work by billion-dollar corporations to create and market food products that aren’t just enticing but psychologically and physically addictive. Author Michael Moss has dedicated much of his career as an investigative journalist to uncovering the unsettling truths about processed food. Knowledge is power, and I do find it empowering to know the lengths to which food manufacturers will go to create foods that have just the right balance of fat, salt and sugar to make the human brain find them irresistible. There are plenty of interesting tidbits in here that will be hard to forget. For example, in the Chapter entitled “Variety Seekers,” Moss discussed the work of flavor houses, which are laboratories (mostly in New Jersey, apparently) where teams of chemists create compounds that have just the right smell, flavor, and texture to make a packaged food (or even non-food product, like mouthwash or kitty litter) to be most appealing to the human senses. According to Moss, the pumpkin spice flavoring that shows up in seemingly every packaged product each fall is composed of more than 80 ingredients like cyclotenes for a toasted, maple-like smell and lactones for a buttery-milky aroma and sulfural for a caramel, egg custard flavor, and pyrazines for a nutty, caramel experience. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention any natural ingredients like nutmeg, cinnamon, or vanilla in there – not that these ingredients might be included in a pumpkin spice product, too, but it is clear that most of what is included under the standard label “natural and artificial flavorings” are chemicals created in labs by flavor scientists. This is just one example of dozens in Hooked that is eye-opening, and I feel empowered to know more about what happens behind the scenes in the creation of the packaged foods we are all accustomed to consuming. My biggest complaint with the book is that Moss dedicates only 4 pages out of more than 200 to solutions for removing unhealthy and addictive processed foods from our diets. His best tips include transferring packaged foods from their carefully designed, colorful packaging into plain containers to make them less appealing, and to stop drinking caloric beverages. I would have liked for him to spend more time on how to use the knowledge he gives the reader to create healthier lifestyles, but perhaps he is saving that information for a future book. In any case, I was glad to read this book and get the reminder that the healthiest foods for human consumption are the least processed ones.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Hooked is a thought provoking (and at times distressing) expository look at the food industry and its effects on our eating habits by Michael Moss. Due out 2nd March 2021 from Random House, it's 304 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Hooked is a thought provoking (and at times distressing) expository look at the food industry and its effects on our eating habits by Michael Moss. Due out 2nd March 2021 from Random House, it's 304 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. The author has a casual academic style of writing; accessible and careful, but not overly convoluted or impenetrably difficult to read. He manages to convey a wealth of information without being pedantic or preachy. He writes clearly and concisely with a logical progression and a clear threads to follow which interweave the reality of the modern model of food production and processing, backed by a plethora of sources. Where actual contemporaneous sources shade into speculation, he says so clearly and unambiguously. I found myself shocked at several points in the narrative. I was unaware of the connection between major agribusiness and tobacco (I shouldn't have been - it seems obvious in retrospect). I've been harping on processed food and food safety and security for *years*. I've combated it in part by growing as much of our food as practical, and trying to choose our other foods responsibly. I was also unaware of the psychological conditioning which happens subtly and inexorably. This book definitely gave me a lot of information to think about. The author/publisher have also included chapter notes and a solid bibliography for further reading. Five stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Well referenced and footnoted book that (for a book for lay people) goes fairly deep into neurochemistry especially of addiction, food science and psychology. There were a couple of times where I was thinking that a diagram of the brain or map of neurochemistry would have been helpful for those of us who understand things better when we see them. Easily fixed by reading with search engine for graphics close at hand, but that requires some discipline. The footnotes aren't included in the text so I Well referenced and footnoted book that (for a book for lay people) goes fairly deep into neurochemistry especially of addiction, food science and psychology. There were a couple of times where I was thinking that a diagram of the brain or map of neurochemistry would have been helpful for those of us who understand things better when we see them. Easily fixed by reading with search engine for graphics close at hand, but that requires some discipline. The footnotes aren't included in the text so I found it helpful to refer to them regularly to put the text into context. For example, descriptions of the results of fMRI seemed to suggest that they were a type of truth serum that could tell see through the lies that study participants would tell about their responses to addictive substances. The footnote put these comments into a bit more context. It was difficult for me to understand the author's perspective on the food industry. While it is concerning that the same companies that sell tobacco also sell food and more recently also sell diet foods and weight loss programs, consumers have to take some responsibility for what they consume. At one point the author is critical of food labeling because it does not have similar language to what is found on tobacco products (cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health) by noting that there is no clue provided in processed food that eating too much sugar may also be hazardous to your health. The changing palette of salt, sugar and fat in processed food was fascinating as was the origin story of Kerrygold butter. I will redouble my efforts to read labels carefully and try to minimize use of highly processed foods in my diet and I'm experimenting with color filters and greyscale to reduce the lure of my phone.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Helga Cohen

    In this extremely interesting book, Michael Moss provides a riveting view of the food industry. He gave insight into people’s cravings and appetites. It was not a book with tips on how to eat more healthfully but an expose about the Food Industry using scientific research and data supported marketing ploys aimed at getting Americans addicted to highly processed food filled with salt, fat sugar and additives. It highlights how these foods are just as addictive as tobacco, drugs and alcohol. This In this extremely interesting book, Michael Moss provides a riveting view of the food industry. He gave insight into people’s cravings and appetites. It was not a book with tips on how to eat more healthfully but an expose about the Food Industry using scientific research and data supported marketing ploys aimed at getting Americans addicted to highly processed food filled with salt, fat sugar and additives. It highlights how these foods are just as addictive as tobacco, drugs and alcohol. This is truly scary as it exposes the very young to these addictive foods. This book explains how these same companies who push tobacco, tries to control our food habits and own the companies that sell diet products that “help” you diet to lose weight that their own companies caused you to gain in the first place. The processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts and the emotions we associate with food. Moss provides an interesting analysis about evolution of eating habits since the beginning of mankind. He explores the genetics of why some people can eat whatever they want and not gain weight, while other people can take one bite and gain weight. I found it fascinating reading when he explores the legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health. The author cites how the use of price, ease of food purchase, taste (salt, sugar and fat) are ways major food producers control human eating habits. They spend millions to perfect marketing programs to keep humans hooked. I found this to be an important book about the food we eat and the industry that produces it. The author’s case is full of scientific data and opinions, but the manipulators have not been convicted. It is an excellent read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roslyn K

    There was something particularly surreal and disturbing about reading the majority of this book in a grocery store. I work as a grocery stock clerk and I mostly read this on my breaks or when I had down time covering the liquor store attached to the grocery store. I would read about the tricks the food industry uses to draw us in and keep us hooked, and then I'd go back to work and watch a man and his small daughter pick out four packs of family-sized Oreos in different flavors for each member o There was something particularly surreal and disturbing about reading the majority of this book in a grocery store. I work as a grocery stock clerk and I mostly read this on my breaks or when I had down time covering the liquor store attached to the grocery store. I would read about the tricks the food industry uses to draw us in and keep us hooked, and then I'd go back to work and watch a man and his small daughter pick out four packs of family-sized Oreos in different flavors for each member of the family. Walking the aisles and noticing anew the bright packaging and all the big eye-catching "new look!" and "limited edition" and boasts of added protein or fiber was sobering. Recognizing the degree to which capitalism's demand for constant growth has motivated manufacturers to disregard the physical toll their products can have on us is disheartening and infuriating. Especially because, for so many of us, we simply don't have the time and resources necessary to slow down and take the time to be more deliberate with our food choices. Until the foundational forces that leave many of us wotking multiple jobs and still struggling to make ends meet are dealt with, fast, convenient, and cheap foods are going to continue to be our go-to items. In the conclusion, Moss focuses on some solutions for individuals to take more control over their eating, but I would be very interested in seeing this topic treated more holistically, by examining not just how the food industry exploits our biological preference for speed and efficiency, but also the social forces that make it necessary for us to lean so heavily on those preferences.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Myles

    As I am constantly on the hunt for insight into my own eating pathologies, Michael Moss’ latest screed on the processed food manufacturers helped me out with a few new tidbits of flavoring research: 1) The food companies learned that our earliest memories of eating can trigger deep-seated cravings, perhaps even tastes and flavors to which we are unwittingly addicted. 2) Scientists have not yet unravelled the mystery connection between taste and the brain. It may in fact be that all artificial swee As I am constantly on the hunt for insight into my own eating pathologies, Michael Moss’ latest screed on the processed food manufacturers helped me out with a few new tidbits of flavoring research: 1) The food companies learned that our earliest memories of eating can trigger deep-seated cravings, perhaps even tastes and flavors to which we are unwittingly addicted. 2) Scientists have not yet unravelled the mystery connection between taste and the brain. It may in fact be that all artificial sweeteners play havoc with the brain and cause us to return, ultimately, to real sweeteners. 3) And this I think I’ve actually known for some time, that there is no killer diet that works for everyone, not even boosts of protein to staunch the addiction to carbohydrates. 4) That speed kills. I must pay more attention to the volume of high glycemic foods in my diet like potatoes and highly processed grains. The speed with they convert carbs into sugar in the blood can’t be good for my metabolism. For a reminder of what is high and what is not on the glycemic scale: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseas... 5) They’re still doing it to us: using salt, sugar, and fat to up our purchases of processed food, including the supposedly “diet” foods so WATCH OUT!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom Brennan

    Interesting, if not enlightening. What Moss does well here is prove to us once again that so much of how we eat in 21st century America is not normal. It is invented, designed and built specifically to addict us to calorie consumption that will make certain corporations money. What we have come to see as normal is in reality radically different from how most of the world has historically eaten. And there are reasons for it, reasons that include an understanding of how our body craves certain thi Interesting, if not enlightening. What Moss does well here is prove to us once again that so much of how we eat in 21st century America is not normal. It is invented, designed and built specifically to addict us to calorie consumption that will make certain corporations money. What we have come to see as normal is in reality radically different from how most of the world has historically eaten. And there are reasons for it, reasons that include an understanding of how our body craves certain things and an exploitation of those cravings. At the same time, Moss also goes too far. Often, he seems not so much to be dispensing facts and information as seeking to enlist us in his crusade. Processed food is the enemy! Pick up your pitchfork with me and attack! It is a sense one gets the further they make their way through a book, and an unsettling sense. If Moss is really on a crusade rather than simply telling us what he discovered as an investigative journalist then what does that say for how I should view his writing? So Hooked is a mixed bag. But mostly a good bag, because it forces us to reckon with how we eat, why we eat that way, and what is happening to us as a result. And for that, it ought to be praised and read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roy Murry

    HOOKED Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants exploit our Addictions MICHAEL MOSS Review by Author Roy Murry HOOKED is an explosive read that will have your brain spinning. There are no conclusions into why humans are addicted to food, alcohol, or drugs, only expert opinions. Mr. Moss gives an excellent case that the major food producers manipulate their products' formulas to control human consumption and sales. However, the center of human addictions to food cannot ultimately indict them. As he no HOOKED Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants exploit our Addictions MICHAEL MOSS Review by Author Roy Murry HOOKED is an explosive read that will have your brain spinning. There are no conclusions into why humans are addicted to food, alcohol, or drugs, only expert opinions. Mr. Moss gives an excellent case that the major food producers manipulate their products' formulas to control human consumption and sales. However, the center of human addictions to food cannot ultimately indict them. As he notes, paraphrased: Humans have been unwitting conspirators in letting them exploit all the ways that we're drawn to their food. We have a choice as to what we eat, whether it's processed food, i.e., a jar of spaghetti sauce, or cooking it from scratch, as I do. Mr. Moss cites the use of price, ease of purchase, taste (Salt, Sugar, and Fat) are the ways major food producers control human eating habits. They spend millions to perfect that marketing program to keep humans HOOKED on their product lines. His case is solid but does not convict those manipulators, in my opinion. HOOKED is full of opinions, as with what you put in your mouth. HOOKED is a book for THE INQUISITIVE MIND. It is an excellent read that the reader will use and think about it for days.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Selin

    We are interesting creatures whose biology has not evolved fast enough to outrun technology. As much as I have read about how our brain and bodies function, it’s still so difficult to fight against my body and brain. I’ll continue to try, though...and fail, and try again. For instance, next to me is a mostly empty sleeve of Thin Mints. Don’t eat while engaged with reading; it will lead to mindless eating. Yet that’s exactly what I chose to do while finishing this book! Derrrrr.... I have tracked We are interesting creatures whose biology has not evolved fast enough to outrun technology. As much as I have read about how our brain and bodies function, it’s still so difficult to fight against my body and brain. I’ll continue to try, though...and fail, and try again. For instance, next to me is a mostly empty sleeve of Thin Mints. Don’t eat while engaged with reading; it will lead to mindless eating. Yet that’s exactly what I chose to do while finishing this book! Derrrrr.... I have tracked those empty calories with an app; I’m aware and owning up to my monkey brain. This book is a good reminder to shop the perimeter of grocery stores (which I mainly do), cook from scratch as much as you can, do not trust marketing and fads, and that the food industry will adapt as necessary to keep profits soaring but with only that in mind. If they truly cared about health, most would go out of business. The complexity humans, culture, politics and the incomplete knowledge of physiology will continue to protect big food from any responsibility to decreasing world health. Best of luck out there, folks! The struggle is real.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna Chu

    The problem is not only unhealthy food is a lack of healthy affordable alternative. As much as I enjoyed this book and it brought some interesting research to light, it doesn’t provide any feasible solutions. Also, it seems to only shame companies and paint government as ‘a good guy’ who just doesn’t have enough control anymore in this fight against processed food or obesity. While we forget that many people who are consuming highly processed, or fast and unhealthy food are in vast majority poor The problem is not only unhealthy food is a lack of healthy affordable alternative. As much as I enjoyed this book and it brought some interesting research to light, it doesn’t provide any feasible solutions. Also, it seems to only shame companies and paint government as ‘a good guy’ who just doesn’t have enough control anymore in this fight against processed food or obesity. While we forget that many people who are consuming highly processed, or fast and unhealthy food are in vast majority poor. Because as mentioned in the book — these products are significantly cheaper. Not everyone eats it because they are addicted, but a lot of us can’t afford high quality ingredients anymore. That’s the real issue with food. And what about time it saves? How about working full time and also taking care of the chores while cooking 3 meals a day for an entire family out of solely fresh ingredients... It all sounds amazing in theory but it fails the reality check. So three stars for shiny research and an interesting insight.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jihyuk Bok

    It was a pleasure to read the book, “Hooked” and it became clear to me how big food companies had exploited our eating habits on behalf of their profit. The same author from “Salt, Sugar, Fat”, questioned that so many health problems we are facing nowadays, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, are really liable to personal responsibility where most food companies are promoting their processing foods vigorously. Even if we had known the strategies they would use, it would have been impossible to resis It was a pleasure to read the book, “Hooked” and it became clear to me how big food companies had exploited our eating habits on behalf of their profit. The same author from “Salt, Sugar, Fat”, questioned that so many health problems we are facing nowadays, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, are really liable to personal responsibility where most food companies are promoting their processing foods vigorously. Even if we had known the strategies they would use, it would have been impossible to resist their products because they would use the deepest weakness in our biology which derived from evolution had taken by more than tens of thousand years; Desire for the most efficient energy source. The same desire that thrived us as the most successful species on the earth, is hunting us in modern times not just because the foods are more than just enough but also that the same foods are designed to exploit us using this desire. Almost 20 years ago, tobacco manufacturers refused to admit that their products were addictive, saying that it would be funny that if someone insists that candy or chocolate are addictive, too. But now I realize they spoke the truth all the time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew LaPine

    This is the follow-on to the acclaimed Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. In roughly two parts, the first part explores how we as humans get addicted - to food in particular, but to many things in general. The walk through is interesting and thought provoking. The author references the Yale Food Addition Scale but doesn't include it in the book. It's easily enough found online (with scoring instructions). The second part is the external side - how the "food giants" exploit our weakness This is the follow-on to the acclaimed Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. In roughly two parts, the first part explores how we as humans get addicted - to food in particular, but to many things in general. The walk through is interesting and thought provoking. The author references the Yale Food Addition Scale but doesn't include it in the book. It's easily enough found online (with scoring instructions). The second part is the external side - how the "food giants" exploit our weaknesses - for Salt, Sugar and Fat in particular. If you've recently read the prior book, then there is little new ground here. If you haven't read it, you'll probably be fascinated. Accordingly, I can only recommend it if you haven't recently read his earlier book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This was a depressing read. It laid out all the ways in which food companies are scheming to get you to buy more of the food they design to make you want more of it and the ways in which they evade accountability for the sugary, artificial crap they’ve modified. (Not really news.) If you’re unlucky enough to have been born with “thrifty genes,” or foolish enough to have become addicted to their sugary mess, you’re probably fat. (Also not news.) And guess what? All those very same companies have th This was a depressing read. It laid out all the ways in which food companies are scheming to get you to buy more of the food they design to make you want more of it and the ways in which they evade accountability for the sugary, artificial crap they’ve modified. (Not really news.) If you’re unlucky enough to have been born with “thrifty genes,” or foolish enough to have become addicted to their sugary mess, you’re probably fat. (Also not news.) And guess what? All those very same companies have their hands in all those trendy diet plans and are manufacturing those Slimfast shakes and Weight Watchers meals (Maybe not news, but should be.) If you manage to follow one of these plans to lose weight, like as not, you’ll gain it right back and more, because all those fat cells that you managed to shrink are still lying there, deflated, waiting.... Came away with nothing terribly new or useful beyond an increased desire to shop only around the edges of the supermarket.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Had read “Salt, Sugar, Fat” years ago, and still talk about it, or recommend it to people. This book mentions info from that book at times, not necessarily in a spoiler type way. This one is tough to review. I believe there’s quite a bit of useful information; however, my background and degrees is/are in psychology, and I have certifications related to exercise, nutrition, behavior etc. Additionally, I’m a complete nerd about all of the above, and read a LOT on each topic. As a result, there’s n Had read “Salt, Sugar, Fat” years ago, and still talk about it, or recommend it to people. This book mentions info from that book at times, not necessarily in a spoiler type way. This one is tough to review. I believe there’s quite a bit of useful information; however, my background and degrees is/are in psychology, and I have certifications related to exercise, nutrition, behavior etc. Additionally, I’m a complete nerd about all of the above, and read a LOT on each topic. As a result, there’s not much I personally learned from reading this book, but I can see how it would be helpful to the general population. And, that said, I did take some screen shots of interesting sections, so I’ll have to look back. It would be difficult to assign this a numerical rating for the reasons mentioned. Probably around a 3 for me, but 4 in general.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Reads like an epilogue to the superior Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us and feels rather duplicative. Raises the question of whether or not food can be addicting and then doesn't really answer it, but provides a lot of biological and evolutionary science about how and why we eat too much. Not as much muckraking against Big Food as in Salt Sugar Fat, other than the fact that the industry has pushed to pass state laws prohibiting individuals suing them. The bottom line is, don't eat p Reads like an epilogue to the superior Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us and feels rather duplicative. Raises the question of whether or not food can be addicting and then doesn't really answer it, but provides a lot of biological and evolutionary science about how and why we eat too much. Not as much muckraking against Big Food as in Salt Sugar Fat, other than the fact that the industry has pushed to pass state laws prohibiting individuals suing them. The bottom line is, don't eat processed foods if you can help it, and beware of food companies touting the next big breakthrough in "healthy" foods.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Felicity

    Oh my goodness, fast food is so much worse than I ever dreamed. They figured out how to make cheese in one day and how to make bread rise in 10 minutes. They put sugar in everything--well we knew that. And experiment with adding more sugar taste but less sugar so we will buy and eat more of these "lower sugar" foods. The food companies have learned everything about how to addict us from the tobacco companies and they are now all merged together anyway into the same companies. So they make it fas Oh my goodness, fast food is so much worse than I ever dreamed. They figured out how to make cheese in one day and how to make bread rise in 10 minutes. They put sugar in everything--well we knew that. And experiment with adding more sugar taste but less sugar so we will buy and eat more of these "lower sugar" foods. The food companies have learned everything about how to addict us from the tobacco companies and they are now all merged together anyway into the same companies. So they make it fast and sell it fast and we buy it fast. Apparently no matter how much money we have we love our food to be cheap. And then we eat it fast without noticing ourselves eating while we watch tv and then we need buy more and eat more fast, fast, fast. I have known all this for a long time but not to this degree. I am getting a much better understanding of what the slow food movement means.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book is well researched but gets too deep into the background, as if to fill out material into book length. Half the book is about addiction and evolution before the author got into the food industry manipulating food. The material would make a fascinating magazine article but contained too much boring fluff for a book. In fact, the NYT story about the book was much more interesting. These are some of the same criticisms I had with his previous book. The premise here is that big food compan This book is well researched but gets too deep into the background, as if to fill out material into book length. Half the book is about addiction and evolution before the author got into the food industry manipulating food. The material would make a fascinating magazine article but contained too much boring fluff for a book. In fact, the NYT story about the book was much more interesting. These are some of the same criticisms I had with his previous book. The premise here is that big food companies (I did learn that PepsiCo, Nestlé, Kraft Heinz, Coca-Cola, and Mars basically own every other processed food label in the stores) manipulate their products to be low-cost, convenient, and irresistible. What people can’t resist is variety, low prices, and convenience. I’m hard pressed to believe this is true addiction as much as habit formation so he didn’t sway me on that.

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