Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion Flash logoThe 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.

Salt, Sugar and Fat ( Random House) by Michael MossFashion Flash book review of the week.

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.

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