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HOOKED by Michael Moss


Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions

by Michael Moss

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-8129-9729-3
Publisher: Random House

A hard-hitting follow-up to Salt Sugar Fat (2013).

Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Moss is a powerhouse when it comes to research and analysis, and much like his contemporary Michael Lewis, he possesses the ability to maintain a solid narrative arc. Characteristically, the author opens his deep dive back into the processed food industry with a story about a Brooklyn schoolgirl whose craving for McDonald’s led to morbid obesity during adolescence. In addition to examining the chemistry of food, appetite, and addiction (highly prevalent), Moss breaks down the complex and contentious arguments at the intersection of the food industry and the law. More disturbingly, he explores the often devious and potentially dangerous ways that manufacturers manipulate foods to trigger addictive behavior, spark sense memories of foods from our childhoods, and treat addiction and dependence as a corporate strategy—much like the tobacco industry. The author covers much of the same ground as his previous book, but readers will be engaged and shocked by the sheer velocity of the process for changing foods to boost consumption. “In a sense, we’ve become unwitting allies to the processed food industry, and not just by falling for their marketing tricks,” he writes. “We’ve allowed them to tap into and take advantage of all the biology we inherited from our forebears, including our love for variety and the cheapest source of calories, as well as the dramatic shifts in our work and family life that have played right into the companies’ hands. When we changed the way we ate, they changed their food to exploit that.” From maltodextrin to trans fats to a diet industry largely owned and controlled by the same companies manufacturing unhealthy, processed foods, Moss takes a second shot at corporate villains and once again finds a soulless industry hard at work.

Another cleareyed inquiry into the companies that feed us, hook us, and leave us wanting more.