The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration

Sarah Everts. Norton, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-393-63567-6
Everts, a professor of journalism at Carleton University, argues in her fascinating debut that “sweat may be sticky, stinky, and gross,” but it’s one of humans’ most crucial and least understood bodily functions. Blocking sweat and its “smelly consequences” is a big business, she writes: worldwide, $75 billion dollars is spent annually on antiperspirants. To bust sweat taboos, Everts unpacks the function and chemical makeup of sweat, explains that perspiration is “evolution’s special heat-loss solution for humans,” and takes readers on a globe-trotting tour of oddities; she participates in a smell-dating event in Moscow, and attends the world sauna theater championship in the Netherlands. Her tone is conversational and accessible, even as she describes cutting-edge science on pheromones in sweat, the potential for using perspiration as an early diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s, and the chemistry of antiperspirants. Everts has an easy hand with demystifying myths associated with sweat, such as the mistaken belief that it can be used as a detoxifying strategy or that sports drinks, such as Gatorade, are valuable aids to athletes looking to replenish salt levels. Packed full of information and unexpected tidbits, this is hard to put down. (July)
Reviewed on : 03/19/2021
Release date: 07/13/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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