Press Release

Writer’s Argument that Americans are “Hooked on Food” Lacks Substance

Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) criticized Michael Moss’ new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, which argues that food companies are making products that generate heroin-like addiction compulsion behaviors. Moss argues companies are working to “hook” Americans onto food by spending an extensive amount of time developing and testing food and drink products to find those that are well-received and affordable for the average American.

The notion of food addiction is not a new suggestion. Food control zealots have long argued that Americans have become helpless “McVictims.” But food addiction claims like Moss’ are completely bunk. Cambridge University researchers recently re-issued a warning not to regard “food addiction” as the cause of obesity, noting they found “no conclusive evidence” of food withdrawal and little reason to equate food and narcotics. One pro-food addiction researcher recently conceded that “nobody claims that food has [as] strong of an effect” as addictive drugs on the brain.

“While Michael Moss and others who sell books with hysterical themes would like Americans to think there is some grand conspiracy in labs to turn Americans into food junkies, the theory holds little weight,” said CCF Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson. “Activists know the notion of food addiction won’t hold water, but they use it to excuse lapses in personal responsibility. The logical follow on prescriptions include taxes and bans on common food and drinks.”

New studies would suggest the so-called obesity “epidemic” is leveling off. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Americans are eating 3.5 percent fewer calories from added sugar today than they were in 2000, and have cut their sugar intake by six teaspoons per day. Similarly, the number of calories from sugar-sweetened beverages has declined. Those are voluntary changes that ordinary people have made on their own without 12 step programs.

“Obesity is a complicated issue that won’t be solved by making those who are overweight out to be powerless victims,” continued Wilson. “Americans have always known the difference between a banana and a banana split.”

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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