While Sarah will have you covered on NYC’s sugar history at April’s MSG, I thought I’d give you some further reading if your scientific curiosity was piqued. I’ll be making follow-up posts on HFCS vs sugar and the hilarious history of artificial sweeteners, but figured you all might want to get a jump on it!
Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies was an amazing piece on the evildoings of sugar companies, starting way back in the 40’s (at least). Put together for Mother Jones by Gary Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens, Gary also did an AMA on Reddit full of factoid and opinions.
“Is Sugar Toxic?” was an attention-grabbing NYT piece also by Gary Taubes, but not nearly as interesting as the Mother Jones article. It’s a take on Sugar: The Bitter Truth, a 90-minute lecture by pediatrician and anti-obesity advocate Robert Lustig.
Lustig argues that fructose - found in both sugar and HFCS - is a poison that’s slowly killing us, saying it’s basically “alcohol without the buzz.” It’s worth the watch.
Lustig’s argument has caught on in the past few years, but you can see some of the criticisms on Alan Aragon’s blog under The Bitter Truth about Fructose Alarmism. The best part is that in a later post Alan actually provides a recap the discussion in the comments, where even Dr. Lustig makes an appearance!
Mark Bittman joined the fray with “It’s the Sugar, Folks,” which along with the Mother Jones articles found a little healthy criticism.
If you’d like to skip straight to the summaries, Lifehacker has a decent roundup of the current thinking on sugar.
If you’d like to watch giants of the industry battle it out, The Sugar Association and “Big HFCS” also have sites.
On Food and Cooking is of course the bible of food science, but it only has a very very small section on the artificial stuff. David E. Newton’s Food Chemistry might have a name that’d peg it as a textbook, but I found it to be a very very very easy read, and full of great information.
Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda by Carolyn de la Pena is a great look at, obviously, the story behind the artficial sweeteners. I found it pretty late in the game, though, so I only managed to read it on Google Books.