Exclusive - Michael Moss Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  03/26/13
  •  | Views: 71,630

In this exclusive, unedited interview, "Salt Sugar Fat" author Michael Moss explains the science behind making the perfect processed snack food. (7:28)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK MY GUEST TONIGHT PULITZER WINNING REPORTER.

HE WRITES FOR THE "NEW YORK TIMES" HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED "SALT SUGAR FAT." PLEASE WELCOME HIM TO THE PROGRAM.

SIR --

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKSES FOR HAVING ME HERE.

>> Jon: FIRST OF ALL I READ THE BOOK AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

[ LAUGHTER ]

"SALT SUGAR FAT." THE STORY OF HOW THE FOOD CONGLOMERATES HAVE HOOKED US ON THESE SUBSTANCES IS INCREDIBLY UNAPPETIZING.

IT'S SO SCIENTIFIC, HIS NO IDEA.

>> IT WAS, I TELL YOU, JON, FOR ME IT WAS LIKE BEING INSIDE A DETECTIVE STORY, WRITING AND RESEARCHING.

JUST LISTENING TO THEM TALK ABOUT THE WAY, THE PRECISION WHICH WITH THEY FORMULATE THEIR FOOD.

THE LEGEND OF INDUSTRY HOWARD MOSKAWITZ WALKED US THROUGH A DEVELOPMENT OF A SODA FLAVOR FOR

DR. PEPPER AND TO FIND THE MOST PERFECTLY SWEET FORMULA.

TAKE 61 VERSIONS, EACH SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER, 6,000 CONSUMER TASTE TESTS, DID IT IN

THE COMPUTER, DID THE MATH ANALYSIS AND CAME UP WITH THE PRECISE AMOUNT OF SUGAR WHICH HE

CALLS THE BLISS POINT, GUARANTEED TO SEND US OVER THE MOON, SEND THE PRODUCT FLYING

OFF THE SHELF.

>> Jon: IT'S A DISTOPPIC, YOU GET THE -- DYSTOPIC, YOU GET THE IDEA OF GUYS BACK -- IN WHITE

COATS IN THE BACK LET'S GET A DROP OF SOMA THAT SHOULD WIN THEM.

>> I DON'T SEE IT AS AN EVIL EMPIRE THAT WAS OUT TO GIVE US ILL.

THEY ARE LIKE LOOK NONE OF INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTS INCLUDING SODA OR MY FAVORITE POTATO CHIPS

CAUSE THE PROBLEM HERE.

THE PROBLEM LIES IN THEIR COLLECTIVE FIELD.

WHAT COMPANIES DO MAKE MORE MONEY BY SELLING MORE PRODUCTS.

>> Jon: THIS IS NOT A BOOK OF DEMONIZATION.

IT'S A BOOK OF HOW COMPETITION AND CHEAP FOOD.

YOU LIKEN IT TO CHEAP ENERGY.

>> THIS IS THE HOLY GRAIL.

THEY KNOW WHEN THEY USE THE THREE INGREDIENTS IN THE RIGHT AMOUNT THEY HAVE WINNERS.

THE FIERCE COMPETITION.

EVEN WHEN THE COMPANIES TRY TO DO THE RIGHT THING BY CONSUMER HEALTH, AND THEY HAVE.

THE COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING THEY GET PUSHED BACK BY WALL STREET.

WHERE IS THE PROFIT?

>> Jon: RIGHT.

YOU TALKED ABOUT SOUP.

HERE IS SOMETHING FLAVORFUL BUT THERE'S A LOT OF SALT IN IT, SODIUM.

THEY TEST THE FORMULATIONS AND MAKE IT TASTE JUST AS GOOD --

>> ONE THE HEALTHY LINES AS THEY CALL IT THEY CUT BACK ON A LITTLE BIT.

IT TOOK A HICCUP FROM WALL STREET AND THEY PUT IT BACK N.

THEY ARE LOOKING AT COMPETITION IN THE SOUP AISLE AND THE COMPETITORS ARE NOT DOING IT.

>> Jon: HOW DOES REAL FOOD COMPETE?

THE SAME WAY YOU TALK ABOUT IF WE ALL HAD SOLAR PANELS ON OUR HEADS WE WOULDN'T NEED CARS.

PEOPLE WON'T DO THAT AS LONG AS IT'S CHEAP AND EASY TO GET GS.

HOW CAN REAL AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND LIFESTYLES COMPETE IN ANYWAY?

>> THE PLAYING FIELD IS SO UNLEVEL.

THE SUBSIDIES GO TO THE HIGHLY PROCESSED FOOD.

ALMOST NONE GO TO THE FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.

ONE THING THAT THE WHITE HOUSE IS LOOKING AT WHICH IS LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD FROM THE ECONOMICS.

WHEN I GO TO --

>> Jon: STOP WITH THINGS THAT MAKE IT EASIER.

>> YEAH, EVEN WHEN WE GO IN WITH GOOD INTENTIONS TO BUY THE FOODS WE SHOULD THE COST IS --

>> Jon: BEYOND THE COST THERE'S CLEARLY A PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL REACTION THAT YOU HAVE.

A BLISS POINT, LIKE YOU SAY, THAT OCCURS.

YOU'RE RIGHT IF A BANANA AND AN APPLE ARE CHEAPER MAYBE I WOULDN'T EAT A YODEL BUT HOLY

(bleep) IT'S SO GOOD.

IN THE BACK OF YOUR ROOM WHAT IS IN THERE A GIANT BOWL OF WHAT?

>> YOU HAVE TO LOVE THE LANGUAGE.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE TERMS IS BANISHING CAN A -- CALORIC DENSITY.

THAT'S THE CHEETO.

I DON'T KNOW IF YOU NOTICED BUT IT MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH.

>> Jon: OH, I'VE NOTICED.

[LAUGHTER]

>> WHEN IT DOES THAT IT SENDS A SIGNAL TO THE BRAIN WHICH SAYS JON, MICHAEL, KEEP EATING

BECAUSE THE CALORIES HAVE VANISHED.

VANISHING CALL LORIC DENSITY.

>> Jon: I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS THAT.

I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS MY FRIEND.

[LAUGHTER]

I FOUND IT FASCINATING, TOO, THAT WITHIN NESTLE, ONE OF THE LARGER ONES, THEY ACTUALLY HAVE

A DIVISION WHICH IS RESEARCHING AND CREATING WAYS TO MITIGATE THE PROBLEMS THEIR OTHER

DIVISIONS ARE CREATING.

>> YES.

>> Jon: THE -- WHEN PEOPLE GET OBESE AND THEY HAVE THE GAS TRICK BYPASS SURGERY THEY ARE

CREATING PRODUCTS THAT YOU CAN FEED THEM WITH TUBES.

>> THEY ARE WORKING ALL ENDS.

AND THEY HAVE 700 OR MORE SCIENTISTS PLUGGING AWAY TRYING TO MAKE THE MOST HIGHLY

ATTRACTIVE FOOD, AND OTHER THE OTHER SIDE, TOO TRYING TO MAKE HEALTH PRODUCTS.

>> Jon: THEY ARE NICE PEOPLE, NOT LIKE EVIL GENIUSES IN WHITE LAB COATZ LIKE WE'LL DESTROY SOCIETY.

>> THEY ARE FUN TO HANG OUT WITH.

THEY ARE PEOPLE YOU WANT TO HAVE A BEER WITH.

BUT YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THEY DON'T EAT THEIR OWN PRODUCTS.

>> Jon: THAT'S NOT TRUE?

>> THAT IS TRUE.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING THINGS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL.

>> Jon: YEAH!

>> ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY GET TO A HEALTH PROBLEM.

THERE WAS A SENIOR SCIENTIST AT KRAFT WHO COULDN'T RUN ANYMORE AFTER HE BLEW OUT HIS KNEE.

HE STOPPED DRINKING ANYTHING BUT WATER.

AND POTATOES.

>> Jon: THE OTHER THING YOU CAN DO WHICH IS WHAT I'VE DONE WHICH IS GIVE UP.

CAN YOU STICK AROUND?

>>

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