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Sugar Blues

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,472 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
It's a prime ingredient in countless substances from cereal to soup, from cola to coffee. Consumed at the rate of one hundred pounds for every American every year, it's as addictive as nicotine -- and as poisonous. It's sugar. And "Sugar Blues", inspired by the crusade of Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson, is the classic, bestselling expose that unmasks our generation's ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 17th 1986 by Grand Central Life & Style
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 13, 2016 Aron rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those interested in the history of sugar
I would really only recommend this book to someone interested in the history of sugar's refinement and its integration into societies. For that, this book is excellent (or at least appears to be - more on that shortly). Beyond a history lesson though, it falls seriously short. The author is clearly a fanatic, as evidenced by his blaming everything from mental illnesses to the Bubonic plague to freckles on sugar consumption.

I read this book based on a recommendation and the fact that I'm somewhat
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This book was first published in 1975. And if one wants to know the gist of what it tries to convey all he has to to is to turn to pages 59 to 60 thereof where the author quotes an even older work, that of the Japanese natural healer named Sakurazawa who, in his work entitled "You Are All Sanpaku" said:

"Western medicine and science have only just begun to sound alarm signals over the fantastic increase in its per capita sugar consumption, in the United States especially. Their researches and war
Nov 30, 2014 Chak rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who hate sugar
Recommended to Chak by: Michael, the proofreader at Ally & Gargano
This is a revolutionary book and by that, I mean it is a book for revolutionaries. Completely over the top, way off the deep end, and so far out there that only a person pre-convinced of its premise (refined sugar is the root of all evil in the world, throughout history) can take it seriously. I am one of those people. I love, love, love this book and will probably read it ten more times before I die, but seriously, it's completely insane and actually does trace the evils in the world through ...more
Bob Redmond
Nov 20, 2010 Bob Redmond rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-farms
This book, written in 1975, gives a historical, social, and nutritional survey of sugar, and concludes that it is one of the most unhealthy and pernicious substances around. It's written in a conversational style not out of place for the mid-70s, but that doesn't mean it is without rigor. While Duffy's breezy style initially made me think this was merely pop-culture fare, 35 years of trends since he published it only reinforce what he was saying. My own research also confirms his facts.

This is s
Jun 24, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
This book is fueling my fight. It basically says that sugar is responsible for every personal physical or emotional problem in the U.S. I am sold. Some memorable quotes:

We want to have our health and eat our sugarcake too.

"Let us go to the ignorant savage, consider his way of eating and be wise," Harvard professor Earnest Hooten said in Apes, Men and Morons. "Let us cease pretending that toothbrushes and toothpaste are anymore important than shoebrushes and shoe polish. It is store food that has
Oct 18, 2009 Gina rated it liked it
Dufty's sprawling, inflammatory writ of a rant is disorganized and preachy, with a colloquial tone, liberal manipulation of fact, and touch of fanaticism that tempts the reader to dismiss it entirely.

BUT, it is also a punishing and deserved slap in the face for our socially-selected ignorance about sugar. The historical, economic, and chemical truths about sugar refinement and it's effects on us, the over-consumers, were old news at the time of this book's publication in the mid-70s. Yet somehow
Emily Mellow
Jan 15, 2012 Emily Mellow rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure if this book would have much new info for me, since it's from the early 80's, but it's actually really great. It's an very informative history of sugar: how the sugar industry increased the slave trade; how no one had cavities in all these traditional cultures that lived off plants and meats and milk, until sugar was introduced into their world; how abundant cavities are in the most sugar-laden cultures; how everything else gets the blame for disease but when any scientists point ...more
Eveline Chao
This was a bizarre exercise in viewing the entirety of history through a random lens. In this case the writer explains that everything from the fall of entire empires to schizophrenia were all caused by sugar. I would say it's worth reading, though, if only cause it's always good to be reminded: sugar bad. Healthy stuff good. The end.
Jan 17, 2016 Nessabella rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough if you suffer from a chronic health ailment of any kind. While the language is a bit dated (he wrote this in 1975), the overall message endures. People abuse sugar, and sugar can lead to many chronic or fatal illnesses that are 100% avoidable, and reversible.
While I approached this book predisposed to agree with the author (I am a certified health coach), I appreciate the extensive research he provides regarding the complex history of what came to be the refin
Sep 17, 2009 Lois rated it liked it
This book basically outlines the history of sugar and some roles it is thought to have played in some fairly significant historical events. I would classify it more as historical than nutritional. If you are wanting to cut back or eliminate sugar but are lacking the motivation...this book will do it. For me, I personally find that I am much more emotionally stable if I stay away from the this book has helped strengthen my resolve.
Jul 13, 2016 Esra rated it really liked it
must read for health
Aug 22, 2008 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sugar eaters <- or like pretty much everyone
Recommended to Jason by: Tyler Self
This is one man’s saga to explain every single feature about sugar that ought to ensure you never touch the stuff again. It would seem that a whole slew of the world’s problems can be traced to one source of strife: sugar. It is the cheapest fuel to pick up the white man’s burden. Because it is manufactured in such a way that provides an abundant amount of caloric energy for little cost, and its services as a refined crop have so much use in preservation of food—it would seem to be a miracle. ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Katie rated it did not like it
Recommended to Katie by: NIna Trujillo

Seriously. I didn't give this book an F for one reason - it helped me to eat (a little) less sugar than I used to - and to buy unrefined sugar (and flour) at the grocery store now. A little change like that may make a big difference. We'll have to find out.

I was recommended this book by a friend - she told me, "If you read this book, you'll never want to eat sugar again. This book teaches you how to eat correctly and how to get rid of sugar in your life." She was (kinda) partially right. It he
Aug 26, 2008 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: a health-nut friend :) (she INSISTED!)
I was surprised at how interested I was in a health-related book! This one did get me hooked and I genuinely looked forward to picking it up again each time. Perhaps because it was so sensational and historical. But the more I read of the conspiracy-like tone and material the more I raised my eyebrow. And after finishing the book I heard that the author's claim that sugar actually depletes the body of its nutrients is completely false, so that makes me wonder what else was untrue... To the ...more
Sep 05, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it
Fairly well written, at times eloquent, thought-provoking throughout. Some of his "facts" have since been disproven but none are sufficiently germane as to compromise his greater argument. He does make some overly bold and often outright tenuous assertions, but as they invite further discussion they can still be deemed appropriate to have been included at the time this was written. He does commit an absolutely atrocious butchery of Foucault in his analysis of mental illness, or the history ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Such an interesting book about the history of sugar, the effects of sugar on the body, and why we should just stop eating it. It's funny, cause I've already been on my way to doing so cause I started noticing I didn't like how I felt after I ate sugar (and the more I went without it, the worse effects there would be). Still, this motivates me to be even more thorough with my sugar avoidance. I'm grateful for natural sugar substitutes, that's for sure!

I would recommend this book, if I could tell
Oct 01, 2008 Annmarie marked it as to-read
Have you heard me say that "my mom thinks sugar is evil"? Now I know why I've thought that all these years. My mom read this book when it came out in 1976 and soon after took out the sugar from our home. I remember a little bit of that time and my brother likes to remind me of me liking Honey on my cereal. ??? I don't remember that. I eat it plain now - I can't imagine eating it with sugar or honey unless it's like plain oatmeal or something! (:
Well, over time my mom let sugar back in her house
Sep 25, 2012 Wendy rated it it was ok
This book has a couple of good places that talk about what sugar does to your body, and the history of sugar is very interesting.

That said, although I think Dufty takes an irreverent tone - perhaps because the topic is actually so serious -- he uses the racist slur "Coolie" a couple times. I can't tell if he uses that not from his own point of view, but from the point of view of white racist sugar-producers, but because it's not certain and used on more than one occasion, I find it very disturbi
M.J. McDermott
Apr 12, 2015 M.J. McDermott rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Finally read this classic from the 1970s. I most enjoyed the history of sugar, how the sugar trade formed government policies and contributed to slave trade in the Americas. In fact, the historical parts of this book were far more fascinating than the nutritional parts. It is clear the author was on a mission. It is alarming how harmful sugar is to the human diet and how it continues to plague our overweight and diabetes-ridden population. And it's gratifying to see that awareness has brought ...more
May 16, 2014 Teresa rated it it was ok
I heard about this book about 8 years ago and thought there was no way I could ever give up sugar and didn't want to know. Ignorance is bliss. But after having to go a few months without sugara few years ago for sinus problems and realizing how bad it is for you and in most things, I at least now try to limit it a lot more although not 100%. Since I read a lot of health and nutrition books I thought this would be interesting but it wasn't what I expected. It went into a lot of the history of it ...more
Susanna Schick
Feb 28, 2013 Susanna Schick rated it it was amazing
This book changed my LIFE! I was seriously addicted to sugar, like the little girl in that John Waters film with the dark circles under her eyes, only into adulthood. Would drown my sorrows in half a batch of brownie mix, then wonder why I was even more depressed. Quitting cane sugar (and HFCS) was one of the best things I've ever done. I had to stop completely for a few months, then found that if I ate something with sugar I'd want more, the craving would come back as surely as it does for any ...more
Sarah Jane
This book ended up being more of a history lesson rather than a science-related one, which is probably best because history doesn't change much, but science does. Considering that this was written 35 years ago, it's still incredibly relevant - not much is different as far as the Standard American Diet goes. The majority of folks are still in total denial about proper nutrition. It's sad, really.

I'm currently trying to get off sugar entirely. It simply doesn't react well with my body. Reading abo
Mar 04, 2010 Morgan rated it liked it
I agree with his basic premise, that sugar is BAD for our bodies. I also agree that much of what ails us can be traced back to our diet. However, I disagree with the idea that sugar contributed to things like schizophrenia, the bubonic plague or tuberculosis. Just because the same populations that can afford sugar happen to be the same populations that contract certain illnesses does not mean sugar is to blame. Too many confounding variables. He makes a lot of outrageous assumptions to support ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
this book was so over the top and extreme {and written a LONG time ago, so possibly outdated as far as scientific wisdom goes}, but i really enjoyed reading it. the take away message from the book is that sugar=poison. hahaha. my kids really loved my new outlook after reading this. as someone with a major sweet tooth, i can see firsthand how sugar {specifically meaning refined, white sugar} can be a real addiction. Since reading the book, I've made a much more concerted effort to limit and ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Rhi rated it liked it
A great read about some very interesting facts an opinions on sugar consumption throughout history. While a great deal of the information is Extremely out of date (the entire lat three chapters) much of the information is as relevant as it was when published in 75. I did think that much of the information was unsubstantiated with sources which always makes me wary, but of read from a historical perspective and If one does their own research on the science behind the claims most of Duffy's ...more
Michael Hentrich
May 25, 2013 Michael Hentrich rated it really liked it
Even though this book was written 40 years ago, much of what the author discusses in his book is just as pertinent today as it was then, if not more. In William Dufty's Sugar Blues, the author goes to great length to discuss the history of sugar and how such a seemingly innocent substance could bring about so much damage. This book is really a wake up call for a lot of people who think that weight gain is simply a matter of gaining pounds instead of a symptom of greater problems that are going ...more
Mrs. Lahti
Jul 19, 2009 Mrs. Lahti rated it liked it
Since I'm running an experiment with myself this summer, kicking my sugar habit, reading a chunk of this book every day the past weeks has been the support I needed to stay committed to my goal. Although the book is old, it's filled with useful info. Some of the historical background got rather dry, but it was purposeful in showing how society evolved to be "refined" and the illnesses that resulted. Dufty explains that sugar is like a poison. There is no benefit to refined sugar, or refined ...more
Bro (Dave Kurimsky)
Dec 17, 2007 Bro (Dave Kurimsky) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a really good book. My dad talked about it for years, and I finally read it. It's a history of cane sugar and to a lesser extent, the western diet. It's broad in it's scope, angry and funny. The author basically asks you to look at sugar as more of a drug than a food. And the sugar industry more as drug pushers. I think the book was first published in the early 70's. The author writes in a very vernacular jive sort of tone, which is enjoyable. I can't vouch for the erudition of the ...more
I can say after I read the book I went off sugar and took my family off sugar for a year. It was the best year of our lives. Some of my children were too young to remember but the older two do and give me a bad time about it but they do say it was a good year. they first thought I was crazy but as adults they try to avoid sugar as much as they can.They feel better when they do avoid sugar. It helps my husband's and my health as we try to avoid it. There is samething to the theory about eating ...more
May 06, 2007 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: health enthusiasts
Shelves: foodiestuffs
This book has FANTASTIC info about the many reasons why sugar is the devil, but I found it to be a bit too wordy. My boyfriend read it and didn't think that it was too wordy, so it could, quite possibly, just be that I have a short attention span. It will definitely make you question why anyone would ever put a drop of sugar in their body and why the government would still allow this substance to be legal. Very interesting in that sense. Even if you don't choose to read this book, I HIGHLY ...more
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William Francis Dufty was an American writer, musician, and activist. Including ghostwriting, he wrote approximately 40 books.
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