Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What Not to Eat: ‘The Case Against Sugar’

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Dan Barber reviews an important book in the NY Times:

The Case Against Sugar
By Gary Taubes
365 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $26.95.

Say your child petitioned for permission to smoke a pack of cigarettes a week. Say his or her logic was that a pack a week is better than a pack a day. No dice, right?

O.K., now substitute sugar for cigarettes.

Comparing the dangers of inhaling cigarettes with chowing down on candy bars may sound like false equivalence, but Gary Taubes’s “The Case Against Sugar” will persuade you otherwise. Here is a book on sugar that sugarcoats nothing. The stuff kills.

Taubes begins with a kick in the teeth. Sugar is not only the root cause of today’s diabetes and obesity epidemics (had these been infectious diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have long ago declared an emergency), but also, according to Taubes, is probably related to heart disease, hypertension, many common cancers and Alzheimer’s.

Name a long-term, degenerative disease, and chances are Taubes will point you in the same direction.

In “The Case Against Sugar,” Taubes distills the carbohydrate argument further, zeroing in on sugar as the true villain. He implicates scientists, nutritionists and especially the sugar industry in what he claims amounts to a major cover-up.

Taubes’s writing is both inflammatory and copiously researched. It is also well timed. In September, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, uncovered documents showing that Big Sugar paid three Harvard scientists in the 1960s to play down the connection between sugar and heart disease and instead point the finger at saturated fat. Coca-Cola and candy makers made similar headlines for their forays into nutrition science, funding studies that discounted the link between sugar and obesity.

It’s tempting to predict that Taubes’s hard-charging (and I’ll add game-changing) book will diminish sugar’s dominance, sealing the fate that no ingredient could evade after such public relations disasters. But the history of sugar in this country suggests it won’t be that easy. Here is where Taubes is at his most persuasive, tracing sugar’s unique and intractable place in the American diet.

Start with World War II as an example, when . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 January 2017 at 2:25 pm

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