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The Crack Magazine


The Case Against Sugar

You may wonder how someone could write an entire book of “sugar is bad”, but the multitude of surprising contexts in which it is explored in Gary Taube’s The Case Against Sugar transforms a trivial teaspoon of everyday life into something much more serious. Perhaps one of the most striking examples of this is the revelation that tobacco companies put sugar in cigarettes. Taubes explains that the lungs accept acidic substances more easily than alkaline ones, therefore sugar adds the acidicity that allows us to draw cigarette smoke into our lungs. This means that sugar plays a large role in causing the risks of addiction and lung cancer that cigarettes pose.

In this groundbreaking exposé, Taubes, an American science and health journalist, also uncovers the ignored trends of high sugar consumption and high diabetes rates, the comparable bodily reactions to sugar and class A drugs and how research is manipulated by the sugar industry, who often pays for it, and their lobbyists, meaning we continue to consume more sugar each year whilst being oblivious to many of its risks. Taubes also reminds us of its colonial history, too often refined out of sugar’s narrative.

The book focuses on two types of sugar: sucrose, the white crystals that we scoop into our cuppas, and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a major component of soft drinks, processed foods and breakfast cereals. Despite previously being accused, often by those with vested interests, of promoting views that contrast with widely accepted views about obesity, and often causing a stir with his support for low carb diets, Taubes offers some undeniably compelling arguments in The Case Against Sugar. His commitment towards taking on all who dare to defend sugar is quite admirable.

Whether or not you’re seriously considering purging your cupboards of their sugary sins, The Case Against Sugar is a gripping cross-examination of a substance that has slipped into our diet relatively unchallenged...until now.

Leanna Thomson