THE SUGAR TRAP: And How to Avoid It by Beatrice Trum Hunter

THE SUGAR TRAP: And How to Avoid It

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Meticulous and interesting detail on sugar's effects, where it lurks, and what aliases it uses--by a trusty natural-foods-and-nutrition advocate (The Great Nutrition Robbery, How Safe Is Food in Your Kitchen, etc.) who counts on the facts to wean readers from an addiction. Obesity, tooth decay, and possibly cancer result from heavy use of sugar, Hunter points out. But if you have a sweet tooth, don't reproach yourself: ""an inborn preference for sweets is believed to be an evolutionary adaptive mechanism guiding us to nutritious fruits and vegetables that are high in energy-rich carbohydrates""--and also keeping us away from toxic alkaloids present in many bitter plants. Our taste is now maladaptive, however, because chemistry has been able to divorce sweeteners from nutrition. In this connection, Hunter chronicles food industry efforts to find a sweeter sweetener all the way from refined sugars (cane, beet, corn), ""traditional sweeteners"" (raw and brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup), and new sweeteners (fructose, xylitol), to such familiar artificial sweeteners as cyclamates and saccharin and a host of ""future sweeteners"" with names like dihydrochalones and non-absorbable leashed polymers. From these substances, we get lots of calories but no nutritive value--or, in the case of artificial sweeteners, a dose of unknowns that may be carcinogenic. Hunter also covers the political aspect--what the government says, via the FDA and other agencies--and the latest research findings: notably, the possibility that artificial sweeteners may increase the craving for real sweets. ""We do not need more alternative sweeteners,"" Hunter concludes. ""We do need lower consumption of all sweeteners and of all types of food that require the addition of sweeteners."" Sound recommendations, persuasively supported.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin