Edible Read: How Sweet It Isn't
My first reaction to seeing this newly published book at Carmichael’s Bookstore was “Dear God, Please do not let my wife read this book.” After all, I come from a Northern European background where dessert is considered a fundamental component of any complete meal while my wife comes from a Mediterranean background and is of the illusion that one’s sweet tooth can be satisfied with … fruit! Any good Scandinavian knows that fruit is a salad, not dessert. The election season was stressful enough without now the risk of losing one’s momentary pleasurable escape between tweets.
Putting aside my initial bias, it quickly became clear that The Case Against Sugar is a highly thoughtful, well-researched, recommended read. Conventional thinking regarding many Western diseases suggests commonly perceived relationships— cigarette smoking and lung cancer; red meat and gout; salt and hypertension; high-fat diets and obesity— are incomplete. Gary Taubes provides extensive evidence that the true underlying if/then relationship between all these diseases is sugar.
Who knew it was the sugar content of flue-cured tobacco leaves that is the key to cigarette inhalation? This is opposed to the historically more popular cigar and pipe smoking where a natural coughing reaction prevented deep inhalation into the lungs. In fact, it would now behard to find a modern disease whose root causes do not involve sugar. For readers with an investigative appetite, the author provides much nourishment looking at Coca-Cola and large candy manufacturers who have, for many years, used shady nutritional science to mislead the conversation.
Documented in the book are numerous examples of important organizations like the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Department of Agriculture falling inline with faulty industry studies as they often do when money talks. So with sugar being pervasive throughout the food and beverage system, what ’s the answer? How much sugar is OK? How little is still too much? In fact,that is the title of the last chapter in the book: “How Little is Still Too Much?” I am not going to ruin the surprise and share the author’s viewpoint— you will just have to read the book for yourself— but I will say you might not be satisfied with his answer. And please, do not tell my wife.
You can find this book and more at Carmichael’s Bookstores in Louisville or Joseph-Beth in Lexington. These book stores represent locally owned retailers where the benefits of buying local can be experienced.