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Salt, Sugar and Fat

Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Updated December 16, 20152:48 PM

The food industry has processed lots of foods to hit that “bliss point” — that perfect amount of sweetness that would send eaters over the moon. In doing so, it’s added sweetness in plenty of unexpected places – like bread and pasta sauce, says investigative reporter Michael Moss.

It is no secret that the rise in obesity in America has something to do with food. But how much? And what role does the food industry as a whole play?

As part of Here & Now’s series this week on obesity, America on the Scale, host Jeremy Hobson spoke with investigative reporter Michael Moss of The New York Times.

Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

For Moss’s book, Salt Sugar Fat, he went inside the industry and spoke with food inventors and CEOs about how the industry has shaped what people eat and capitalized on how American eating habits have changed — for the worse and, maybe now, for the better. Highlights from their conversation follow, edited for brevity and clarity.

Interview Highlights

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Fat and Oil

triacylglycerolFat and oil are both triacylglycerols (a triacylglycerol is an ester formed from glycerol and three fatty acids). Fat is solid at room temperature and oil is liquid at room temperature.

To name an ester,
1. Identify the alcohol and carboxylic acid from which the ester is formed.

2. Name the alkyl group corresponding to the alcohol and add the name of the carboxylic acid with the -oic acid changed to -ate (e.g., propanol + ethanoic acid  propyl ethanoate).

© 1996-2007 Eric W. Weisstein

triacylglycerol – tri·ac·yl·glyc·er·ol (tr-sl-gls-rôl, -rl) n. A naturally occurring ester of three fatty acids and glycerol that is the chief constituent of fats and oils. Also called triglyceride.

The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.