Bet You Can't Eat Just One: Michael Moss On The Fast Food Wager You'll Lose
The potato chip epitomizes what Moss describes as the "holy trinity" of junk food ingredients. These crunchy snacks are soaked in salt, sugar, and fat—and food manufacturers have engineered them to contain the perfect ratio of these three substances in order to maximize crave-ability. Our urge to shovel an entire bag of chips into our mouths in a single sitting goes beyond the ingredients list, too. As Moss says, the shape, crunch-factor, and ease of which we move the food from hand to mouth all contribute to over-consumption. Scarier still, products that dissolve in your mouth send a trigger to your brain that the caloric intake of that product has dissolved as well. Food scientists call these "vanishing caloric density" products. And, sadly, they do still contribute to your caloric intake for the day—despite your brain being tricked into thinking otherwise.
Even admist findings like these, Moss is not explicitly anti-corporation. "I tend not to see the processed food industry as an 'evil empire' that sets out to make us intentionally obese or otherwise ill," Moss tells The Atlantic. "They can rightfully say that no single one of their products is responsible for the obesity [problem]—not even soda, not even potato chips." The problem, however, is that these companies are simply doing what companies are developed to do—turn a profit. Moss' intent with his book Salt Sugar Fat, his investigative reporting for The New York Times, and his eye-opening talks, is to educate the consumer on the foods they are eating. He provides an objective—and often startling—narrative about the food industry, explaining that knowledge is an empowering part of making healthier choices about the food that we eat every day.