In his book, “Salt, Sugar, and Fat”, Michael Moss makes a compelling argument that the overly processed nature of the food that we eat from major corporations in the form of junk food and other such products is one of the main reasons behind the obesity epidemic within America today. Moor states “The blood gets especially besieged when processed food is ingested, flooding the system with its heavy loads of salt, sugar, and fat”, this he explains results in greater levels of fat product which creates the problem of obesity (Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us, 52).
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He points to data showcasing the high caloric values found in such foods which enable a person to consume more calories than they otherwise would have been able to. This he argues leads to caloric excess within the body leading towards increased storage of fat. Not only that, but Moss also delves into the excessive use of salt, sugar, and fat within such foods which he says further worsens the caloric excess. He explains that not all calories are created equally with some types of calories actually promoting the creation of fat. Salt for instance, in the form of sodium in most junk food packaging, actively contributes towards increased rates of high blood pressure; however, it is used prolifically by companies in order to mask unappealing flavors and to act as a natural preservative.
In the case of sugar, the endorphins released upon its consumption can actually be considered addictive and results in the desire to consume more of it despite the fact that excessive consumption results in greater levels of fat creation. Lastly, the sheer amount of fat in modern-day junk foods suppresses the feeling that a person is full and actually induces active cravings which makes them eat more despite already have eaten sufficiently to meet their daily calorie needs.
When taking all these factors into consideration, a connection can be made wherein Moss implies that the start of America’s obesity problem began when overly processed items from corporations started making it onto the store shelves of local grocery stores.
The Age of the Junk Food Culture
Junk food in the form of chips, dips, burgers, fries, sodas, candies and ice cream have become such a part of America’s culture that the most prevalent cultural distinction for American today is that of the “Junk Food” culture. In nearly every town, city and state groceries, shopping malls and fast food restaurants carry some form of junk food that is rapidly consumed by a voracious public that enjoys the taste and convenience of such products. Unfortunately, this cultural distinction is actually slowly killing the American population due to resulting effects such food types have one the body. The recommended daily allowance of nutritional calories that a body should have in a single day as recommended by the American Medical Association is roughly 2,500 to 3,000 calories a day (Brown, 10).
The problem with junk food is that due to their convenience and serving size most people aren’t away that on average they consume more than 3,000 calories a day from the various forms of junk food they eat. An average adult male in the U.S. should consume only 65 grams of fat and 2,500 calories in a single day yet a burger and fries combo meal with a large coke available at the local McDonald’s is equivalent to more than 50 grams of fat and 1500 calories within a single sitting (Datar & Nicosia, 312-337). This would not be a problem should that be the only large meal they eat throughout the day however this meal is supplemented by various chips, sodas and various other unhealthy options throughout the day which brings the total calorie count to 4,000 calories or more.
Brown, Julia. “Americans Give In To Junkfood, Plans Aim To Find Out Why.” Managed Healthcare Executive 22.6 (2012): 10. Web.
Datar, Ashlesha, and Nancy Nicosia. “Junk Food In Schools And Childhood Obesity.” Journal Of Policy Analysis & Management 31.2 (2012): 312-337. Web.
“Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us.” Publishers Weekly 260.1 (2013): 52. Web.