Are you being fooled?

Yesterday morning, while getting news from Democracy Now, an independent news media outlet, I heard about a great new book called “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss. Today, I couldn´t write about anything else but that book.

The book tells you the story of how food corporations “destroy” food in order to get better financial results, because a lower quality food (if it is food) is much cheaper. So we are a part of a legal scandal without even knowing about it. Even if some of us know about the consequences of eating processed food there is not much choice in the supermarkets, especially in the US.

An average American eats 33 pounds of cheese every year. That stands for 3,100 grams of saturated fat and 60,000 calories per year which is about 165 calories per day coming only from cheese. Why do we eat so much cheese? Is it really the best part of your daily meal? And we all know that these are not French cheeses that you would have at the end of your meal with a little bit of red wine. The answer is that the government subsidies the industry of processed food. The two more subsidized produces are corn, which is used to produced high fructose corn syrup (all processed food has it) and meat. Why the government does not subsidies lettuce or tomatoes. Well no big corporations buy it in such big quantities.

As a result of this $1 trillion-a-year industry, one-in-three adults, and one-in-five children, are now clinically obese. Which is in some ways also good for the government, because it generates more cash flow. These obese people are having an infinite number of health problems, so a lot of doctors get paid. The biggest problem is that the majority of obese people are actually poor and don’t have much money for a proper treatment. Because the processed food industry is subsidized the big corporations can set a low price on their products, so as a result healthy food is expensive and unhealthy food is cheap. How many times have you seen this sign: 2 Burgers for 3$! Have you ever seen: 2 Salads for 4$?!

Another very interesting part of the book was the comparison of the processed food industry to the tobacco industry. The easiest connection is the word ‘unhealthy’. But there is even a more shocking fact. No CEO of a big food company eats its produce! So the CEO of General Mills would not eat a chocolate bar produced by his own firm, just as the CEO of Philip Morris would not smoke a cigarette. As the CEO of a tobacco company I guess you can be a non-smoker, but as a CEO of a food company not eating your own food product says something very serious to the public.

There are very thoroughly conducted scientific studies that find the amount of salt and sugar currently present in our processed foods to be highly addictive. Of course, there are different kinds of sugars and it is much worse to consume artificial ones than natural ones. For example, it is proven that a Diet Coke drinker will buy the product more often than a normal Coke drinker because of their physical addiction to the sugar. If you go to a supermarket, let’s say to the cereal aisle you will notice that the cereals with more sugar are on the eye level. If you actually want to get cereals that have less sugar you will either have to kneel or ask a taller person for some help in reaching it.

All this information was quite shocking for me, because an average human being is being fooled without even knowing it. And the worst part of it is that the majority of us will never know about it and less more people start discussing these scary new findings. Please spread this message so that we can make a difference in this world and fix our broken food system!!

1. Democracy Now!

posted by Piotr Wielezynski