The Sweetening of a Nation: The History, Politics and Health Effects of Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Award Year:
Gary Taubes
History of Medicine and Public Health, Food Policy
Over the last 150 years, Americans have increased their intake of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) dramatically, so that caloric sweeteners now comprise 20 to 25 percent of the calories we consume. While most experts agree that such large amounts of either sugar or HFCS are bad for our health and should be avoided, we still don't know if they can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Gary Taubes, M.S.E., M.A. seeks to learn more about the possible relationship between excess consumption of sweeteners and chronic health problems and about how special interests may have influenced research and policy development in this area. In The Sweetening of a Nation: The History, Politics, and Health-Effects of Sugar and HFCS, Mr. Taubes investigates not only past research on the health effects of sugar consumption, but how the Western diet became saturated with caloric sweeteners to begin with, and how industry and other special interests may have thwarted government efforts to rein in sugar consumption and limit scientific inquiry. Mr. Taubes' investigation should enhance the knowledge we need to develop a fuller range of policy options that protect Americans' health and more adequately address the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.