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The Case Against Sugar

The Case Against Sugar

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by Gary Taubes

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From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening exposé that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions;


From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening exposé that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans' history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Dan Barber
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's writing is both inflammatory and copiously researched…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.
Publishers Weekly
The latest offering from health journalist Taubes (Why We Get Fat) prosecutes the case against sugar, in particular sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. His hypothesis is that “sugar is the dietary trigger of obesity and diabetes” and of related illnesses like heart disease. The author traces the history of sugar, delves into its biochemistry, explores false starts in the research into sugar’s health effects, and examines current developments in knowledge of chemistry and metabolism to bring home his point. Recognizing that condemning sugar is “the nutritional equivalent of stealing Christmas,” Taubes begins with an examination of whether sugar is addictive. (Short answer—yes, and it’s in cigarettes!) Fittingly, he ends with a discussion of how little is too much. (Short answer—probably very little.) Reiterating a point he makes throughout about the limits of research, the author concludes that “the evidence against sugar is not definitive, compelling though I may personally find it to be.” His study is itself compelling, as well as meticulously explained and researched. Readers will hate to love this book, since it will cause them to thoroughly rethink the place of sugar in their diets. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Taubes’s writing is both inflammatory and copiously researched. It is also well timed... Hard-charging (and I’ll add game-changing)." —Dan Barber, The New York Times

"[A] blitz of a book... Mr. Taubes’s argument is so persuasive that, after reading The Case Against Sugar, this functioning chocoholic cut out the Snacking Bark and stopped eating cakes and white bread... The Case Against Sugar should be a powerful weapon against future misinformation." —Eugenia Bone, The Wall Street Journal

"Compelling... Perhaps at long last, sugar is getting its just desserts." —The Economist

"Taubes builds his case through lawyerly layering of rich detail... Extraordinary and refreshing." —The Atlantic

"Taubes sifts through centuries’ worth of data... Practically everything one wants to know about sugar—its history, its geography, the addiction it causes—is here. In the end, each of us is confronted with a choice. Continue consuming sugar at our current level and suffer the ill effects. Or reduce, if not eliminate, it from our diet, thereby improving our odds of living a long, healthy life." —The Seattle Times

"I can't think of another journalist who has had quite as profound an influence on the conversation about nutrition." —Michael Pollan

“Staggering… Taubes’s brilliant and accessible science writing has won him many fans.” —Booklist, starred review

"[Taubes] delivers another convincing book... Fascinating and illuminating.” —Library Journal

“[Taubes’s work is] compelling, as well as meticulously explained and researched. Readers will hate to love this book, since it will cause them to thoroughly rethink the place of sugar in their diets.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Taubes] helps us understand how to make better decisions regarding sugar as individuals and as a nation.” —Library Journal

“The obesity epidemic is an ever-growing threat to the overall health of our nation. In making the case against sugar, Gary Taubes details the often insidious efforts by the sugar industry to hide how harmful it is, just as the tobacco companies once did.  This is required reading for not only every parent, but every American.” —Katie Couric

“No one in this country has worked harder on or better understood the role of sugar in our diet than Gary Taubes. As a journalist, an investigator, a scientist, and an advocate, he is without peer. (Plus, he knows how to write.) The Case Against Sugar is not only a terrific history but a forward-thinking document that can help us think more intelligently about how (and how not) to eat.” —Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything Fast

“Once again, the brilliant Gary Taubes manages to make a complex scientific subject easy to understand. The Case Against Sugar is a riveting history of ideas, a clear analysis of evidence, and an utterly persuasive argument that sugar is the new tobacco. Taubes methodically explains why sugar—not sloth, not fat—accounts for our unprecedented levels of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Taubes answers every counter-argument as he exposes bad research, reveals conflicts of interest, and explodes myths.” —Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“I am grateful beyond words for Gary Taubes's courageous and meticulous documentation of the health dangers of sugar. No one has hit the political and economic forces behind this 'acceptable' addiction as clearly and unflinchingly. The information in this book will, quite literally, save your life if you apply it." —Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

“If you ever doubted that sugar is the root cause of our obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemic, then look no further than The Case Against Sugar. This deeply researched, well-reasoned exploration of the history and biology of sugar would convince any supreme court of nutrition that it is sugar, not fat, that should be indicted and limited.  Doctors, scientists, policymakers, and concerned eaters would do well to heed Gary Taubes’s advice.” —Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The Blood Sugar Solution

The Case Against Sugar is just that. It’s a carefully reasoned, persuasive account of how doubts about sugar in the modern diet were systematically overlooked for over a century. Gary Taubes has become an important voice in the debate surrounding nutrition. He once again presents a compelling argument that will challenge our knowledge about the connection between food and health—it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the impact of the ingredients we eat.” —Nathan Myhrvold, lead author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

Library Journal
Taubes (cofounder, Nutrition Science Initiative; Why We Get Fat) delivers another convincing book exploring the negative health issues surrounding sugar consumption. To create this fascinating and illuminating read, the author carefully juxtaposes historical events against the growth of the sugar industry and the limitations and misconceptions of nutritional and medical science. We learn how the sugar industry that supported research shaped the public's view of the ingredient's nutritional value and actively lobbied against any reports that held their product in a negative light. Taubes then turns the focus on how the growth of Western diseases parallels the adoption of sugar into the Western diet. Unfortunately, the author does not offer any plan of action, ending the final chapter with the statement that everyone must decide what is best for themselves. VERDICT This accessible book will be of particular interest to historians and health-conscious readers. Individuals seeking practical help in curtailing sugar in their diets would benefit from books such as Richard Jacoby's Sugar Crush. [See Prepub Alert, 6/13/16.]—Crystal Renfro, Kennesaw State Univ., Marietta, GA
Kirkus Reviews
The award-winning journalist once again takes up the cudgel in defense of health.In his latest book, Taubes (Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, 2010, etc.) makes the provocative contention that sugar, rather than fat, is the primary cause of obesity and a major culprit in a spectrum of chronic diseases. While it is now recognized that a drastic increase in the consumption of sugar and refined starches correlates to a dramatic rise of obesity in populations that adopt a Western diet, the author argues that nutritionists have yet to pinpoint its significance. He points out that obesity is a marker for the overconsumption of carbohydrates responsible for the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The problem, he writes, is not the number but the kind of calories consumed—nor is it necessarily a diet high in saturated fats. Taubes compares sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup to “toxins…that do their damage over years and decades, and perhaps even from generation to generation.” Furthermore, diabetics and obese people are “more likely to have fatty liver disease” as well as other degenerative diseases due to elevated carbohydrate intake. For this reason, Taubes is dismissive of advice (from Michael Pollan, among others) that urges an across-the-board reduction in the total amount of calories we consume. The author buttresses his provocative contention with population studies showing the increase of chronic disease in populations that subsist on a Western diet. An example is the increase since 1960 of chronic disease among the indigenous population of a New Zealand protectorate that substituted a carbohydrate-rich diet for the saturated fats they formerly consumed. Taubes makes a convincing, well-documented case against the modern carbohydrate-rich diet. Limiting their intake is an important factor in longevity, not merely as a matter of weight control. An important book that merits—and will likely receive—broad circulation and discussion.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

GARY TAUBES is cofounder of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI). He's an award-winning science and health journalist, the author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, and a former staff writer for Discover and correspondent for the journal Science. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Esquire, and has been included in numerous Best of anthologies, including The Best of the Best American Science Writing (2010). He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers. He is also the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. He lives in Oakland, California.

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The Case Against Sugar 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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