Eating clean in the days of ‘Salt, Sugar, fat’
Eating a clean and health diet is one of our 2013 family goals. We have strived to prepare more home-cooked meals and have brought more fresh ingredients since the beginning of the year. I’ve been actively seeking new recipes to try and have been looking for more information about food and diet.
I was immediatley interested when I chanced on a recent radio interview with the author, Michael Moss, who has written a new book about the inner workings of the processed food industry. The book deals specifically with the reasons that these companies use three key additives – salt, sugar and fat – in the processed food they create and market.
The term processed foods sounds somewhat sinister, but some of the ways that food is processed such as pasteurization or freezing are quite beneficial to people for both health reasons and convenience. The primary goal in most processing of foods is creation of a food product that is near ready to eat and is stable on the shelf or in our homes for a long period of time. This particular goal and the goal of making tasty processed foods according to Mr. Moss is where the problem begins.
In the book, Moss interviews food scientists in many of the large processed food companies. These scientists are tasked with making tasty food products that apeal to a large group of people. Moss describes the use of the three key additives to mask odd or bitter flavors that develop during manufacturing and to hook consumers on taste.
Moss argues that company pressures to create new appealing snacks, grow market share and improve profitability often result in unhealthy foods that contribute to the U.S. and global obesity epidemic.
The interview concluded with the debate about what steps can be taken to reduce these activities and make healthier foods. The debate no doubt will continue between different philosophies of strict government regulation and independence of consumer choice.
I’ve downloaded the eBook and look forward to learning more and examining different viewpoints. In the meantime, my family and I will continue to see fresh ingredients and discover new recipes.
As a self-described ‘techie,’ Joel Steelman, M.D., has a keen interest in the wise use of technology to improve medical care. Since 2001, he has helped implement electronic medical recordkeeping in two endocrine practices. He still loves to write, and he is a regular contributor to the Physician Perspective page on the Cook Children’s Web site.