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Book review: Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar

The book answers why is the role of sugar in our falling health still so underrated and why are people still ignorant about the adverse impact of sugar on our health.

books Updated: Mar 16, 2018 19:10 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
The author exposes the influence of the food industry which has lobbied for sugar’s ubiquity and the extent that the industry has corrupted essential scientific research.
The author exposes the influence of the food industry which has lobbied for sugar’s ubiquity and the extent that the industry has corrupted essential scientific research.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Why is Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar a relevant read? How about this: more than half a billion adults and 40 million children globally are obese. Not only is diabetes a growing epidemic worldwide, but cases of other non communicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and even certain types of cancers are also going up exponentially. And the likely sole culprit, explains Taubes, is sugar.

Why is the role of sugar in our falling health still so underrated; why are people still ignorant about the adverse impact of sugar on our health and answer to many more such questions can be found in the book.

The author’s note beautifully explains the reason behind putting the book together. “The purpose of this book is to present the case against sugar—both sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup—as the principal cause of the chronic diseases that are most likely to kill us, or at least accelerate our demise, in the twenty-first century. Its goal is to explain why these sugars are the most likely suspects, and how we arrived at the current situation…”

“If this were a criminal case, The Case Against Sugar would be the argument for prosecution.”

“In 2012, the latest year for which the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have provided estimates, one in every seven to eight adults in the United States had diabetes— 12 to 14 percent, depending on the criteria used to diagnose it. Another 30 percent are predicted to get diabetes at some point during their lives. Almost two million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes in 2012— one case every 15 to 16 seconds.”

“The great proportion of this tidal wave of diabetics— perhaps 95 percent— have what is now known as type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease, as Sushruta would have said over two thousand years ago,, that associates with overweight and obesity.”

He exposes the powerful influence of the food industry which has lobbied for sugar’s ubiquity - the Sugar Association even today promoting ‘sugar’s goodness’ - and the extent that the industry has corrupted essential scientific research.

“The sugar industry played a key role in the general exoneration of sugar that took place in the 1970s… Health organizations, including the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, have also found the argument convenient, having spent the last 50 years blaming dietary fat for our ills while letting sugar off the hook.”

The book is divided in 11 chapters and the epilogue answers the most pertinent question— “How Little Is Still Too Much?”

The Case Against Sugar
Gary Taubes
₹399 (paperback)
Portobello Books