The host of Fashion Flash this week is Deb of Fabulous After 40. I was a fan of Fabulous After 40 long before we statred to blog together in Fashion Flash. Looking great at any occasion is not a matter of money, weight or age. Fashion is in the details and Fabulous After 40 drills down to offer advice that you can take with you into the dressing room. Last week Deb offered styling tips for short waisted women. This certainly applies to me and I finally realized why I liked pants and shirts without waistbands and why I never like to tuck in my top. I’m not weird– its the best choice when you’re short waisted.
Meticulously researchd and annotated, Salt, Sugar and Fat looks at the way giant food companies have increased these ingredients in their products to attract and hold consumers. It uses examples from well known brands such as Capri Sun and 100 calorie Oreo packs to illustrate the troubling marketing techniques. It is definately disturbing to read how brands like Kraft and Kellogg knowingy raised the levels of salt, sugar and fat despite awareness of the health consequences for this dangerous trinity of ingredients.
Pulitzer prize winning author and New York Times reporter Michael Moss blames this type of processed food for the rising epidemic of obesity, and diabetes and the economic cost of the current health crisis at $300 billion/year. Just a quick walk through a super market shows the length and breath of the food industry on our eating habits. But it is certainly not the whole story.
Home cooked meals from many countries are also packed with salt, fat and sugar. For example, the average Thanksgiving Day dinner is more than 4000 calories ( without seconds) and has truely frightening levels of salt, fat and sugar. Beloved comfort food like macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pies, fried chicken or brownies has just as many calories if you make it at home from scratch, eat it in a restaurant or buy it from a supermarket. Its an uncomfortable truth that traditional recipes used in homes and restaurants have unacceptable levels of calores, fat, sugar and salt.
Open almost any cookbook or women’s magzine and you will find equally unhealthy recipes. And then there is the FoodNetwork, a health challenge category of its own. Before there was Paula Deen, there was Emeril who smirked every time he added butter to the cheers of his studio audience. Then there is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, seemingly focused on unending search for the most unhealthy meal in America.
And when it comes to salt, The Food Network chefs seem to be in the pay of the salt lobby. Just for fun, turn on almost any show and count the number of times a chef adds salt to a dish. On the cooking contests like Top Chef and Chopped, the most common criticism is that the dish is underseasoned– which means not enough salt in chef speak.
Salt, Sugar and Fat makes a powerful case on the problems of processed food in our diets, buts its only one piece of the obesity puzzle. I would love to see Michael Moss use his world class skills as an investigative reporter to examine the role the “foodie” industry of restaurant critics, celebrity chefs and cookbook publishers in the tidal wave of health problems from our diet.