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S01E11 – Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Muslim Life Hackers


Channel: Muslim Life Hackers


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Episode Notes

Mifrah discusses the insights she took from the book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. Prepare to be surprised! :)

About the Book:
In this No. New York Time Bestseller, Michael Moss reveals how the processed food industry uses salt, sugar, and fat to make you addicted to their products; it’s link to the emerging obesity epidemic and most importantly, how you can fight back. You can find link to this book in our show notes below.

In This Episode, you will learn:
– How processed food entered mainstream diet
– Why Salt, Sugar & Fat are key ingredients used by the food industry
– Insights about processed foods, you never knew you never knew.

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Episode Transcript ©


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Episode 11 Welcome to the Muslim life hackers podcast, the weekly podcast providing you with tips and tricks on how to hack your life and maximize its potential. And now for your hosts Mithra maroof and Mahima lake.

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As we said, the crisis see that so much. I slowly come with some life hack is Guess what? It's Episode 11. And in today's episode, my friend is going to be talking about the book, The New York Times bestselling called sugar. No it sorry, salt, sugar fat, how the food giants hooked us, like a tongue twister. It's a book by Michael moss. And it reveals how companies use salt, sugar and fat to

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do that all links and resources in today's episode can be found in our show notes at missing life. hackers.com forward slash 11. That's number 11. Okay, so we've read this book sounds pretty intense. What did you learn from it? Where do I start where he lives a lot of things. But I'm going to keep it as concise as possible. I don't want to bore anyone but at the same time, and make sure I give you the key details that I got from this book. So well, pretty much this book explained how it was called, it's called salt, sugar fat, how the food giants hooked us. So it's it speaks about how companies use these three ingredients to make us addicted to their foods. And like the author speaks

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about the rise of processed food industry. And it's linked to the emerging obesity epidemic. And we do know with obesity, how when we consume more food, and then we become overweight and become like we fall into obesity and obesity opens the door to so many health problems. Yeah, true. And just how you and I are living in the West. And I know that even my mom like she's she come from Afghanistan, and like she's she emigrated to Australia. And she even reflects upon this point with me. And it's quite astonishing. Because she says, you know, like when I was your age, you know, we used to be so fit, we used to be so active. You know, I don't know what's wrong with you kids. And it's quite an

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interesting point that she's making, like, What is it? What difference is that obviously, like the country is different, but think about it. Like, it's like the food that we eat. It's cool. I remember how your mom was telling about how to go for like long walks over the mount. I'm just like, wow. Yeah, so tell us a bit more.

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Yeah, here.

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So, so pretty much the author goes through the history of processed food industry. And it's so it's linked to obesity that we see all around us. And in a nutshell, with regards to how the history goes, once upon a time, the good day, so your mom spoke about as well. We used to be eating, we used to be consuming homemade food. And what happened was this, this was the way life was so you would cook food at home to that. And that's it. If you were healthy best foods were usually from like local resources, maybe the farmer down the road and whatever. Yeah. And then what happened at this point was once convenience foods came in, for example, things that can be just like ready make stuff

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for example, you have like biscuits, there's like cake mixes, just put them all in, stir it up, and you've got a cake. And when when they were first introduced, people resisted the idea of eating food out for walks. Because they're like, you know, how can we substitute natural homemade food, it's just not natural. And then, so they kept resisting and pushing it away. But then eventually the, you know, with everything, and with marketing, you find a way through, they managed to find a way through into the mainstream and got accepted. And today, it's a part of our lives. crisis. Truth is part of fad diets.

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cake mixes that you're talking about whenever I'm like, I'm gonna make a cake, you know, which keeps me should I get? You know, it doesn't even occur to me that I can make a cake from scratch. It has to come from a box, right? That's just how I'm thinking these days. Yeah, it's like, how I remember before watching a documentary by Jamie Ali, and he was like kids, and he said he asked kids what Which way do potato chips come from? Yeah. And they couldn't eat vegetable.

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It was like that disconnected with nature.

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So pretty shocking there. Yeah, it is pretty shocking, because like, we're not talking about the history. It wasn't it was less than 100 years ago, if people were eating natural foods enough if you come so part of our lives that kids don't even know whether we're

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here so. So pretty much what what has happened is that now purchase food has become a part of our lives. You see food, food joints, which mean the food companies, they actually want to figure out how they can make their food sell more because yeah, we see we know the more they sell, the more profits they could get. But this comes at a price. You see Michael moss. He explains in his book, how behind these feed companies, they actually have laboratory setup and they find out crazy scientists sitting behind me in labs. Yes, sir.

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they're sick, they actually have people, they hire laboratories to find out what is the right mix, that can be added into the food. And to make it more addictive. Because once it becomes more addictive than the same, it's more, we we like it more we buy it more the company profits. And the thing he found that was there were three main ingredients that they kept using these ingredients was salt, sugar, and fat. And

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that's pretty crazy. Like, yes, scientists sit there and figure out, you know, what is the right amount of like salt, sugar fat to put in, get people hooked? Get them buying out boxes of cake mix and contribute to an obese society? Yeah, so there may be gaining the profits. But at the end of the day, we are the ones who are going to suffer, I guess a healthy long term. Yeah, that's a really great point, I guess, the point that we should take take from this is that we need to be aware of what we're consuming. It's not just that we blame the food giants out there. But you know, we need to make a conscious choice about all of this stuff that we see on shelves and supermarkets and

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wherever, yeah, and the first thing in order to help us make these conscious choices to empower ourselves with knowledge, so by by learning these things, then we can make a more informed decision about what foods we want to consume, and what foods we don't want to awesome. Sounds great. So with these ingredients that contain those salt, sugar, and fat, the site of liquid will actually have the laboratory set up to find the right mix, then there's actually numerous tests. And I'm just going to give you a quick overview on what what is like salt, sugar, and fat and what what what difference it makes to your foods and be pretty surprised as I was very surprised, but before he was the stuff in

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here, but before I get into deep detail with this, I just want to mention on citement that anything that we're discussing here is just for educational purposes. So if there's anything that in particular you find to help, that you're concerned about the best to go to a doctor and seek medical advice, medical advice, but for the rest of us who just want to learn about these things, be more conscious, be more aware. And this applies really to everybody in the world because the thing is that giant processed, like the food companies are not only the West now now they're making their way to the third world, third world countries. Everyone needs to learn about this. Definitely. Okay, so

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if I were to tell you about some numbers, okay. Okay. So just to start off sugar, you see the, with sugar, what companies look out for is they want to find out, like when a concern, they have a product, and they want to find out how much sugar should be added this product? Yeah. And the thing is, they find out what is a bliss point, like one thing that you will be accepted for, like a large amount of people would actually accept it as that to be the level. So it's not too much. That would be like a sugar overload. Yeah, or it's not like too little that it's like, you just want a bit more. Yeah, because we know that when when you could like would eat sugar, you just have that that

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few, you just feel good when you eat sugar and stuff. And so by adding sugar into their products, they think they're able to transfer that feel good feeling that we have associated with sugar into the food itself. So pretty much they actually have tests in which they'll have like part of UC house like they have the laboratory. So they have people coming in. And they'll give him like two samples of the food, one with more sugar with less sugar. And they'll ask him which one tasted better. Yeah. And they'll start like increasing the sugar increasing, increasing until they find that point. The point. I'm just imagining like little kids in cages like being fed like spoons of sugar. What's your

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Obviously, they don't really be fed the sugar itself. It's just like they add the product to the to the product and ask him. But speaking about children, though, he said that with different age groups, there's a preference on different sugar tolerance, like sugar tolerance, meaning how much sugar we can be able to take in. Yeah, so with children, they love more sugar, they prefer more sugar. That's why you find that with children's products. There's so much sugar added. Yeah, as opposed to the adult version for product. I remember speaking about kids, like my youngest is stuff and once she like to quit this job and tell her like she's only like a little little kid, and she

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had snapped this job and I was just sitting behind like a couch in the living room. And she just finished like this massive like, I was like 400 gram tub of Nutella and like I came into living in her face and just covered in chocolate. I'm like, What on earth is going on?

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Should I consume too much sugar? Yeah, and I guess that kind of goes hand in hand with the point you were just making with children prefer Marsha Marsha and Natalia that day so it's pretty sad.

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Okay, so me for how much sugar are we can see. Okay, so before I mentioned those amounts of cabinetry architecture, let me tell you how much we should be consuming. Okay. The recommended like as I didn't like, how much do the numbers that it's

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allowed to take? What should we be having? So pretty much the numbers ranged between five teaspoons to nine teaspoons. So there's like different amounts for different amounts, depending your gender and different amounts depending on how active your lifestyle is. But to give you a number of the typical, yeah. Okay, so now that we know the numbers we can have daily Yeah, let me look at what we are having. So for example, a coke can. Yeah. How did you switch to record? Well, I don't drink fizzy drinks. But like when I do have a super Coke, it feels like

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yeah, there's actually 90 spirits.

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Babies. Yeah. The funny thing is that with the so called fruit drinks today, like off have a fruit or whatever. Yeah, in some cases, these drinks actually may even contain almost as much as the soda or even more. Well, it's pretty freaky. Yeah. And then. So that's one thing. And then you've got breakfast cereals. And these are like the author's mentioning that this is like the biggest culprit because breakfast cereals, especially those that are aimed at children, their sugar percentage is so high, like, in some cases above 50% that they can they should even be classified as candy. That's crazy. Like just now let's move into a pension and be like no more

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than twice now and regional material that we consume it on a daily basis. And so that's why we should be really careful on what kind of cereals do come to house, especially with that much sugar. Yeah, especially the ones once the kids. So the interesting thing that I've had most out of all the different products was that pasta, you see pasta sauces, and regardless of if they're cheesy, chunky or light in flavor, you will see that after tomorrow, the biggest ingredient is sugar. It's pretty crazy. Yeah, it is. And so we see that from this, we're definitely getting more than five to nine teaspoons daily. In fact, definitely, Michael moss was saying how the average American and he

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throughout 30 school had a lot of facts about like food and dip it like depending on the American diet, because he's American himself. And he mentioned that an average american gets 22 teaspoons of sugar per person per day. So that's crazy. I'm just thinking I'm doing some math while you were saying that. And I'm just thinking like, two teaspoons of sugar in my coffee. And I have like a pasta for lunch. And then maybe like this is not gonna happen. But if I have like a Kemp cook.

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Yay, it is crazy. Okay, so now that we know about sugar, let's talk about that. The bu for a lot of people, so Okay, so fat is different to sugar in that we don't have a taste for it. So we don't know, if there's too much of it or too little. There's nothing like you know, with sugar, there's something like a sugar for this heart fat overload. Because the thing is, we we just feel its presence. And the more fat there is, the better it is. Because what the signs like when we when they go into developing the fruit product, what they look for is like the mouthfeel but it just has a field the product has a few okay. And what that does is that it does more than just enhance the

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taste. What it does is it allows the productivity of the grocery store shelf for days months, it gives the products more bulk and food texture. And it gives like tenderness and like that mouthfeel to crackers. So like for example, if I were to give you a productive chocolate Yeah. Is Have you noticed that

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it's never sharp on the edges. It's always something that has smooth edges. And you said something that the what the works with the chocolate cake. So you see how you go for like the higher range of chocolates? Yeah, you'd notice at the very smooth they'd like last circle. Yeah. And interesting. Yes, trip to chocolate is a comfort food. Yeah. And so the feel of the food plays a part in that. It's interesting that you know, as consumers, we think of food as just, you know, something that goes into our mouth. And you know, we eat a doughnut or whatever. But it's so many other things that are playing us the marketing, it's the shape of the food, it's the feel of it in our mouth. It's

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just so much that's being put into developing that food and eating it just reminds me of something that was said how did that that crunch of a cheap like when we when you actually eat it when you eat potato chips or something like that, that has so much like research behind it. That crunch that crunch, the weight comes into your mouth, the weight melts in your mouth, the signals it sends out so it's not a coincidence, but I feel like

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Okay, so now that we've covered sugar and fat, let's talk about salt. rifra Go for it. Okay, so salt is yummy, like sugar and fat is while while a little bit is essential for good health, excessive amounts can do just the opposite. And so when they develop an actual food product, what they look for is the flavor point. Okay, okay, so salt is a way for companies to add more flavor to food. Okay, this is pretty intuitive. Like to make like a dish, better tasting. You add salt to it. Yeah. So one of the

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Things that salt would do when you add it to a processed food it that it delays like bacteria, the bacteria coming in, it helps put the ingredients together Mix, mix the mixtures properly blended in properly. Also with salt. Unfortunately, there is no limit, you see, the increased salt intake actually increases our tastes for this particular Bureau. So the more salt we put, the more we get used to it. Yeah. And so our tolerance level goes up as our tolerance levels goes up. And that's why we can't find so much salt finding its way into our systems now. So you spoke about how a little bit is essential for our house like what is the excessive salt to us? Like, what's the flip side? Yeah,

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so what excessive salt does is that sodium, which is salt pulls like fluids from the body's tissues and into the blood, which then raises the blood, the blood volume, and compels the heart to pump more forcefully. And this results in high blood pressure or hypertension. It's not really good because it leads to heart disease and even heart failure. So who wants that? Right? Yes, it is pretty alarming. But you don't want think that there was a few things mentioned about salt that I just thought I'll put out there so you can think about it. Okay, put out there you have a few bit scary again. When the author was doing research about this, one of the soup companies gave him a

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taste of the beet soup without added salt. And he said that the salt had some bad taste and taste that was between bitter and metallic. Okay. And then another incident was that the author was given a chance to eat crackers without salt, because they actually made it for him. They're like, okay, here it is cheese crackers with no salt. And he said, it tastes so bad. He couldn't swallow it. Really?

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too weird. So I think yeah, this is very scary. Scary world.

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Okay, cool. Yeah, definitely. It's a scary one. But I guess one thing we should do is just be more informed about things.

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Alright, so now that you know about salt, sugar and fat, you know, scary facts and how much we should be consuming and whatnot. Like, how's that health affected by all of this? I mean, we know all the knowledge and like, what all this, like, what, how much work goes into food and producing these these products for the consumers? How, how is this actually affecting What's going on? I mean, there's like a range of health issues that comes as a result of us consuming these foods. And so some of the things we discussed earlier was obesity. And then once obesity comes in, that is connected to so many other health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and there's like so many

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different things that come as a result of that. So pretty much if you were to put it in simple terms, that helped means that, you know, you were unable to completely make use of our lives, we can't go and pursue our dreams, because our bodies will won't be able to help us with they will fail us. And that's something that we should know. Like, whenever these these diseases or whatever comes in mela, protect us from this. It's a really big test. And it really severely hinders the way you lead life. Definitely. I think, like, we have the knowledge. And it's it's up to us implemented. I mean, we know that, I guess like it's just kind of like human nature, we know that something is bad

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for us. But maybe we don't take it too seriously. And then later on in our life, it affects our health, and it just follows through and you know, you have regret, I'm sure. So if there was a take home message, what would have been for this podcast? I mean, there's, I guess it's easy to hear about a whole podcast thing. That was scary, that was scary, as in, you know, continue eating

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a packet of cheese, so just go like that. So that's I mean, that's, that's not who we are. As humans, we don't change overnight. And obviously change will take time. But one thing that we need to always keep in mind is that we can't blame the food industry for what they do, because it simply simply put the food industry itself it would cease to exist, it would stop like there will be no demand for if there was no salt, sugar and fat. So and also there was a survey that was carried out and once the reason that people said the excuse for failure was that I don't want to give up other foods or like So even as much as you know food industries want to cut down on the salt, sugar

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government's make it do that. Ultimately, we have to take care of ourselves. Yeah. And if I were to take a very important reminder, it just goes goes back to what we're taught in our religion in which Allah Spano Allah tells us yeah, are you Hannah's pulumi Matthew or the Hillel. And it's pretty much the verse goes, Oh mankind eat from whatever is on the earth that is Hello, which is local, and by which is good. And we obviously know what Hello means, but by you also means things that are good, wholesome, and there are, you know, good things for our body. And this is something you should, you should Yeah, this is something we need to keep in mind that ultimately our bodies are a trust that's

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given to us by Allah subhanaw taala and we need to do do our utmost best to take care of it. Yeah, this is our bodies work.

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carries us through our ibadah and highlights of worship and everything so never never think that I if I get this or this happens to me then I can get medication it's you know nothing that happens to others it's not yeah we'll we'll we'll only realize this as we grow more and more older and we see that you know as we are you know with with age we realize these things and if we don't take precaution now then we'll have to suffer for the long term consequences and they're not pretty because it's better to take precaution than to you know, have like what's called cure cure for me to say yeah, definitely

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give us an action point here an action point this action point is from the author himself he was saying how when you go to the supermarket pile the healthy stuff are normally at the at right at the bottom and the not so healthy stuff there at the eye level right where you can see it so take some time look down at what's what's below for example, pickup boats might be right at the bottom and whereas the you know, they're not so healthy stuff would be in the middle Okay, within your reach. So look out for that keep keep aware of that. Also check out the food labels, and then you missed the price very easy to just like very, very simple things, but inshallah they have profound effects.

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Alright, guys, that concludes and wraps up today's episode of this podcast. As mentioned earlier, as short as can be found at whistle left hackers.com forward slash 11 that's the number 11 Oh, sir. Hey, have you left a smashing through you? I hope you should. Because this also helps us tremendously. Get the word out about our podcast and bring benefit to a lot of others. And as especially for thank you if you do leave us a review before the 15th of March 14, which is the end of this week. Well anyway, as a special thank you for generating $1 for every charity charity that is dedicated to eliminating world hunger by feeding the poorest and most vulnerable people to get

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those of you Thanks, guys. Until next time, have a high take action.

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