Sweetness and light Sugar may not be the malevelent demon many people think it is


sugarBefore I read Christopher Emsden’s book Sweetness and Light: Why the demonization of sugar does not make sense I had no idea that the statistical correlation of air pollution and the epidemic of “diabesity” was stronger than the correlation with sugar. Or that among the indigenous people of Canada, those who still spoke their tribal language have far lower incidence of type 2 diabetes and obesity than those who have mostly lost their language.

Does that let sugar off the hook as a dietary demon? There’s no doubt that as a potent source of calories, sugar can be a problem. But as a specifically toxic substance, as many authors have claimed? Emsden makes a good case that there is more to blame for society’s dietary woes than pure, white and deadly sugar.

Personally, I’m not convinced there’s anything worse about sugar than that it packs a lot of calories into a small volume – but then so does peanut butter, even without added sugar.


  1. Order Sweetness and Light from Amazon.
  2. The media’s latest sugar binge began recently with an article by Ian Leslie in The Guardian.
  3. Katherine Docimo Pett, aka Nutrition Wonk, followed up with a lengthy response. You may find Marion Nestle’s summary easier going. Or you may want even more meat, from Nutrevolve or Sheila Kealey.
  4. Banner artwork by Lucy Clink.

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