A pediatrician details the dangers of sugar in our diets and urges action in this debut consumer health book.
Eisenberg was in his late 40s when he had an epiphany about the problems associated with added sugar in the American diet. One of four children in his pediatric practice was considered obese; the author himself was mostly fit but also dealing with high blood pressure thanks in part to his love of sweets. So, after finally reading the “generations of books and articles citing the adverse effects of sugar,” Eisenberg became a “ ‘born again’ eater,” cutting his intake of added sugar to less than 25 grams a day. In this book, he recounts the rise of the sugar trade from ancient times, tells how and why food companies began adding sugar to products, and discusses the many diseases linked to sugar consumption, including diabetes, obesity, and depression. He asserts that the public has been misled by low-fat (but often high-sugar) foods and suggests several policy changes, including subsidies to encourage healthier food choices. Most of all, he calls for change at the individual level, providing an overview of a “quitting” plan, including tips to fight cravings (such as distracting one’s taste buds with cinnamon) and suggesting alternate satisfying foods, including legumes. Eisenberg brings an appealing Everyman tone to this narrative, acknowledging that sugar became popular because it tastes good and that he was addicted to it himself. He also offers his authority as a doctor, of course, and explains how sugar does damage to the body in accessible layperson terms, even while citing medical studies. Although much of the information here isn’t exactly news, this clear, engaging narrative, complete with a provocative title and clever chapter titles (“Raising Cane,” etc.), is an easy-to-digest read and an effective wake-up call.
Passionate, well-reasoned advocacy to curb sugar insanity.