It’s Not Your Fault Entirely

Salt Sugar FatDon’t get me wrong: I’m a firm believer about holding yourself accountable and taking charge of your health.  That said, if you are currently overweight right now, it’s not entirely your fault, and I’m not even talking about family upbringing or genetics.

In the book “Salt Sugar Fat,” Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times,  details how the Big Food industry went to great lengths to get people hooked on food, much in the same ways that cigarette companies got people hooked on nicotine.

The way to maximize profits was to find that consumer “bliss point” and the fastest way to do that was to add salt, sugar and fat to food products.  I use the term “products” because it doesn’t even seem like food after a while.  CEO’s, scientists, marketing people and researchers worked in conjunction to get people to buy more processed food while minimizing their guilt about it and getting their brain chemistry hooked, all the while knowing that it was causing obesity and increasing obesity-related diseases.

Moss writes about a secret meeting held in 1999 by the Big Food CEO’s where obesity was discussed and several leaders acknowledged their role in it and wanted to take steps to correct the situation.  But then they decided profit was more important and that was that.  The obesity epidemic obviously grew since 1999.

New York Times Magazine
New York Times Magazine

There are lots of instances where my blood began to boil as I continued to read, but what really angered me was when kids became the target of food science and marketing.

In 1985 Oscar Mayer was having a sales dip because people discovered the link between red meat and cholesterol.  The Vice President in charge of Development had to work around this sales issue, so he studied mothers and discovered what a hardship the morning was for them: getting the kids dressed, having to make lunches and then get everyone off to school and work on time.  So he created Lunchables.  It of course sold bologna as the key ingredient and then crackers because it had to be able to sit in a warehouse for two months before it sold.  When Oscar Mayer merged with Kraft, processed cheese became a no-brainer ingredient.  Sales were great!  Mom’s thought they were providing a convenient and healthy lunch for their kids.

But the packaging was expensive.  Parent company Philip Morris funded it and then came up with an obvious profit solution.  When in doubt, add sugar!  So desserts were added to Lunchables.  Snickers, M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were added.  The former C.E.O. of Philip Morris joked about an article that said, “‘If you take apart Lunchables the healthiest item in it is the napkin.'”

LunchablesTo be fair, they did try to package Lunchables with healthier foods but they did not sell as well, because junk food tastes better.

If you really want to get angry, read the book “Salt Sugar Fat” or read an excerpt from it in the New York Times article here:  “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.”

If you really want to get even, reclaim your power and eat clean.  Stick to the perimeter of the store and buy fresh fruits and veggies and cook your own meals, avoiding all that added sugar, salt and fat.  It takes your taste buds a little time to adjust (10 days according to the article) but eventually your cravings for the bad stuff will calm down.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lisa 🙂

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. Her book, “She’s Losing It!” is available at (and has a 5-star review rating!)

Available at (c) 2015 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

This article was originally published under (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.



14 thoughts on “It’s Not Your Fault Entirely

  1. It takes a little time to adjust, but cutting out salt and processed food makes you feel so much better. I just can’t do the sodium anymore and am working to pass this on to my family. Teens tend to fight it, but they’ll thank you later.

    1. Agreed! When I eat at restaurants now I can instantly taste the salt. Before, not only did I not taste it in the cooking, I added salt to everything, sometimes without event tasting it.

  2. Whole foods are soooooo much better. I used to eat lots of processed foods because they are convenient to make, premade lasagna that you just heat up, kraft dinner, mini pizzas all that stuff. It all tastes like crap once you really learn how to cook a few good things!

  3. I agree I guess beign on a budget helped me I had o make my own “lunchables and on weekends i made a lazagna,meatloaf and few other things the kidsliked for dinner and had it ready for the week this way I put a little better stuff for the kids. Great article

  4. This is unfortunately what the food industry do and we as parents should do everything in our power, to educate our kids, be an example and teach them the clean eating ways.

  5. It is amazing how much science is involved. I mean, groups of people are paid to sit around and figure out the exact amounts of salt, sugar, fats, carbs, etc. to get people hooked on it. Some research has shown that food can be just as addicting as hard drugs like meth and heroin! The best thing to do is go cold turkey against it. You will be miserable for a few days. Feel sick, lethargic, etc. But after the third day or so you feel like a whole new person!

  6. Will definitely be getting a copy of that book, sounds interesting! I try to make as much of my own food as possible! When I do eat out or eat something that is processed, I find it very salty, fatty and sugary, always feel better with healthy, fresh food!

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