cover image The Case Against Sugar

The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes. Knopf, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-307-70164-0

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.)