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One More 'Case Against Sugar'

A collection of brown and white sugar packets. (James Brooks/Flickr)
A collection of brown and white sugar packets. (James Brooks/Flickr)

Still coming to grips with sugar. Author Gary Taubes says we're still in denial.

We know too much sugar is a bad idea. But we are surrounded by sugar. American diets swim in it. Everyone knows how hard it can be to pull away. My guest today Gary Taubes says we are paying a terrible price. In obesity and diabetes, but also, he says, in heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's. Sugar, he says, may have prematurely killed more people than tobacco. This hour On Point, I'll pass on the cookies. We hear the case against sugar. — Tom Ashbrook


Gary Taubes, award-winning science writer. Author of the new book, "The Case Against Sugar." Also author of "Why We Get Fat" and "Good Calories, Bad Calories." (@garytaubes)

From Tom's Reading List

New York Times: What Not to Eat: 'The Case Against Sugar' — "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."

The Atlantic: The Sugar Wars — "How might we explain the soaring rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, not to mention lots of other ailments of modernity—asthma, gout, cancer, stroke, hypertension, and maybe even dementia? These conditions tend to show up together, both in populations and in individuals, Taubes explains. 'The detectives assigned to the case would start from the assumption that there was one prime suspect, one likely perpetrator, because the crimes ... are so closely related,' he writes. 'We should begin with the simplest possible hypothesis, and only if that can't explain what we observe should we consider more complicated explanations.' It's the lone-gunman theory of disease, and sugar once more stands accused."

New Yorker: A Big Tobacco Moment For The Sugar Industry — "It is true that there was no consensus in the sixties—and, indeed, there's no real consensus today—about exactly how much the consumption of either sugar or saturated fat contributes to coronary heart disease (though most health authorities these days suggest both may be important). But the fact that the science of the time was uncertain doesn't let the sugar industry off the hook for its influence-peddling, since what the Sugar Papers show is that the industry was essentially uninterested in science. Instead, it was interested in getting people to eat more sugar by painting sugar consumption as anodyne in its health effects and, just as important, by painting fat consumption as dangerous."

Read An Excerpt Of "The Case Against Sugar" By Gary Taubes


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