Monday, March 25, 2013

Suicide by Sugar


The news headlines take turns blaming one food after another for society's health problems. This last week it was salt. In years past it was eggs and butter. Sometimes its sugar or the new favorite wheat. It would be easy to say all these people are delusional or just plain wrong. The more that I've read about food and nutrition, the more I can see that its not so simple. It would also be foolish to make dietary decisions on one person's authority. Still, none of these studies or nutrition experts are necessarily wrong. Salt is a problem and so is sugar. Eggs and butter can cause some problems in excess. The average person is left to wonder what food path to follow with so much conflicting information.

Nancy Appleton makes her case against sugar in her book Suicide by Sugar. According to her, all of our modern day health problems such as diabetes and obesity can be blamed on excess sugar consumption. She goes as far as listing 140 separate health conditions that have documented sugar being a contributing factor. To her credit her documentation is extensive - 17 pages of references. She makes a pretty convincing argument against sugar and recommends that we should all eliminate it from our diet.

A section of the book is devoted to specific health conditions with a more firm causal relationship. Specifically she looks at diabetes, hypoglycemia and epilepsy. Unfortunately she doesn't explore the conditions nor their connection to sugar in as much depth as I had hoped.

The final part of the book details how to change your diet. The dietary recommendations have a great deal of similarity between a Paleo or a healthy gluten free diet made up of mostly vegetables, fruit, and lean meats. With these recommendations she is not far removed from her nutrition peers.

The book is an interesting read though she hammers in her point of view with statements like, "Sugar is bad." on nearly every page. I don't think she is wrong in her diet recommendations, but the presentation relays the impression of a vast conspiracy to dupe Americans into becoming addicted to sugar. Even if some of that is true, it leaves the reader with a dubious feeling. Finally, the book is a promotion piece designed to sell test kits for what she believes will reveal a body's homeostatis.

Book rating: 3 stars. Yes, dump/reduce sugar consumption, but please don't beat me over the head about it.

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

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