Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food (Democracy Now!)
MICHAEL MOSS: …I managed to come across a trove of internal documents that enabled me to get insiders to talk. And when they did, what it showed was that salt, sugar, fat are the three pillars, the Holy Grail, if you will, on which the food industry survives. And through their research, they know that when they hit the perfect amounts of each of those ingredients, they’ll send us over the moon, products will fly off the shelves, we’ll eat more, we’ll buy more—and being companies, of course, that they will make more money.
AMY GOODMAN: Name names, and talk about examples of the weaponizing of salt, sugar and fat.
MICHAEL MOSS: One of the senior—one of the legendary senior scientists for the food industry, Howard Moskowitz, walked me through his creation recently of a new soda for Dr. Pepper, a new flavor line. And it was amazing how much effort went into that—you know, a regression analysis, high mathematics. He would take dozens and dozens of formulas, just slightly altered, to find what he calls the “bliss point” for sweetness in the sugar. And you can do this own experiment at home. Take a cup of coffee, keep adding sugar until you reach the point that you like it the most, and then when you add more sugar, you actually like it less. Well, the food industry knows that, and they spend huge amounts of effort finding the perfect spot, not just for sugar, but for fat and salt, as well.
Pandora’s Lunchbox: Pulling Back the Curtain on How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal (Democracy Now!)
AMY GOODMAN: Well, that’s a very important question. Now, of course, the processed food industry, the gross sales are enormous, but you may have redefined “gross” sales. Let’s talk about some of the experiments the scientist Melanie Warner conducted. Talk a little about chicken tenders.
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, I’m not much of a scientist, but a number of years ago, when I started covering the food industry, I became curious about expiration dates that are printed on packages. Pretty much you to go into the supermarket, and every package in the store will have an expiration date on it. And I wondered: Well, what will happen? What do these expiration dates mean, and what will happen after this date has come and gone? Some of these dates are actually quite far out; they’ll be six to nine months or even more.
So I started collecting a number of food products, and I saved them in my office. And then I would open them after the expiration dates had passed, sometimes long after the expiration dates had passed because I had forgotten about them. And what I found out over time—I collected all kinds of products: cereal, cookies, Pop-Tarts, fast-food meals, frozen dinners, I mean, you name it. I have all kinds of gross stuff in my office at this point.
And what I found—there were a few exceptions—but what I found was that most of this food did not decompose or mold or go bad, even after long, long periods of time. I mean, I started this seven, eight years ago, and I still have slices of cheese that are perfectly orange, processed cheese.
Guns vs. Butter: American Attitudes on Defense Spending (Witness to Transformation)
The problem with these exercises is that most citizens do not have contact with defense spending data, and so these exercises do not reflect their uninformed “let’s have it all” preferences. Nonetheless, the findings are intriguing because they suggest that there is some political room to go after defense spending. We believe that American interests in East Asia warrant a robust military presence in the region. We also believe that this can be accomplished in the context of a gradual moderation of overall defense spending, particularly as the region looks more closely at its own defense needs in light of the potential challenges posed by China and North Korea. However the average American citizen—and of both parties—is potentially comfortable with more extensive cuts.
Keystone Approved (Lawyers, Guns, and Money)
How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets? (ProPublica)
The Blowback Inherent to Network Analysis Kill Lists (emptywheel)
Bob Woodward embodies US political culture in a single outburst (Glenn Greenwald)
Putting a Corker in Hofe-Baked Nuclear Straw Men (Nukes of Hazard)
Hauling in the U.S.-DPRK Rebound: Two Chinese Perspectives (Sino-NK)
Fighting Creeping Creationism (Bill Moyers)
So, I’m off to eat Cheez-Its and read about Quaker sex in 17th Century America!