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The Case Against Sugar

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  9,249 ratings  ·  1,342 reviews
From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening expose that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought t
Audio CD, 384 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Books on Tape
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Elyse  Walters
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I still remember when the book “Sugar Blues”, by William Dufty hit the scene in the mid-80’s. ....and Dr. Atkins diet was a revolution....
There were books out in the 70’s that were already screaming “sugar is addictive”....
and learn the “real truth about sugar”.
I studied Kinesiology and nutrition at UC Berkeley. I ‘knew’ about trans fat and the value of Omega 3’s .... years before most people knew the word. When I put my flax seeds into a grinder to sprinkle them on my salads or other foods jus
Michelle Burton
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gary Taubes has done an excellent job in explaining why sugar is so terrible for the body. I am seeing a nutritionist to help me with my weight and on my last visit she stated to me that you can eat any food in moderation. My response to her was, "What does moderation mean? I guess a person could smoke crack in moderation but no one recommends that." Taubes stated it clearly in his book that the people who say "eat in moderation" typically don't have a weight problem, (and my nutritionist does n ...more
Clif Hostetler
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book delves into Western civilization's history with sugar and its increasing rate of consumption since introduction of refined sugar into the Western diet. With this increased consumption also came the economic power of the sugar industry that throughout most of the twentieth century was the funder of nutritional research that tended to focus of causes for Western diseases in directions other that sugar itself.

The rate of occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, gout, and a host of other chr
Emily Crow
Guess what? Sugar is not a healthy food. Who knew? In fact, according to Gary Taubes, it causes just about every "disease of Western civilization" and we probably shouldn't eat it at all, which kind of reminded me of all the other nutrition doomsday books I've read over the years:

The China Study...don't eat meat or dairy, you will get sick and die
Wheat Belly...don't eat wheat, you will get sick and die
Eat More, Weigh Less...don't eat fat, you will get sick and die
The Paleo Solution or any other
Kieran Seán Fitzpatrick
main take-aways:

- a calorie is not a calorie.
- fats in food are not bad.
- sugar causes: diabetes, gout, cancer, bad breath, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, MRSA, depression, economic inequality, republicans, nazis, trump, and alzheimer's.
- the sugar industry uses tactics similar to climate-change-deniers.
- it is almost impossible to not eat sugar.
- there is as much sense in eating a "moderate amount" of sugar as there is in smoking a "moderate amount" of cigarettes.

it's not like any of these c
Bam cooks the books ;-)
Having been on a zero-sugar diet for the past three weeks and planning to make it a lifestyle change (see my review of Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean for Life), I wanted to read a bit more about the science behind the claim that the added sugars in processed foods could possibly be the cause of the current obesity and diabetes epidemic. Intuition, common sense and observation tells one it is true but so many diet fads have come and ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
‘Medicine is mostly taught untethered from its history,’ asserts Gary Taubes at the beginning of this book. ‘Students are taught what to believe, but not always the evidence on which their beliefs are based.’
This book is a much needed history of sugar. I can think of nowhere else where failure to look at the evidence on which medical beliefs are based has had, and continues to have, such tragic consequences.

The leading authority who dominated the teaching about diabetes during the twentieth and
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I happened to be reading this at the same time as I was listening to a three-part Freakonomics podcast series called "Bad Medicine," and they both hit on the same problem: the emphasis upon "eminence-based" medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine, i.e., if a renowned practitioner is behind a hypothesis, that can be enough to direct, or at least influence, decades of research and practice.

This is especially critical in the science of sugar, because Taubes' point is that the damage done by
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I could not read this book without getting red faced with frustration every other sentence. One of the most hyperbolic, poorly researched (in terms of actual scientific studies) pieces of hysteria I have read in a long time. The accolades given to Gary Taubes are beyond confusing. His fervent advocacy supported by limited peer reviewed work and even junk science reminds me of another popular cause du jour, the anti-vaxxer movement. The fact that he has taken to consorting with a dangerous self-p ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
Amazingly eye-opening, and truly terrifying. It's hard to grasp the huge impact of refined sugar on human evolution, and - once again - thanks to greedy lobbies, we happily march towards our doom, so that the sugar industry barons may continue to enjoy the profits of providing us with our drug of choice. It's unbelievable that governments try to regulate recreational drugs, at the same time when one of the most toxic inventions of humanity is virtually promoted as a healthy alternative to the "o ...more
Peter Karlin
Mar 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
You will require sugar to stay awake during this book. I've read far more interesting articles on the subject. ...more
The title says it all – sugar is not good for us.

While that is evident from the title, the book has a great deal of detail and history to back up this claim. Diabetes is rising all over the world. In most countries, the disease is multiplying so rapidly that a significant portion of the population either already has diabetes or is at great risk.
Why then is the medical community and governments not really alarmed. As it turns out, research especially in the past has been significantly corrupted
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Informative general history. Taubes is a good explainer even if I still wonder about his tendency to zoom in on a particular diet "vice" - it was fat and now it's sugar. (His Why We Get Fat was over-simplified almost to the point of inaccuracy, but it turns out to have been a sloppy distillation of his Good Fats, Bad Fats.)

This new book doesn't offer self-help advice, but serves several other purposes: a history of sugar and how it entered the human diet, a physiology lesson on human diseases (
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'll save you some time. Too much sugar may be bad for you. I hope you were sitting down for that insight. This book was a mixed bag. The epidemiological data associating the increased consumption of sugar with metabolic syndrome was fascinating. Disappointing was the lack of hard scientific studies defining exactly why that is - sucrose and liver are highlighted and vaguely but not conclusively associated with fatty liver. Ponderous was the third of the book vilifying the sugar industry. They'r ...more
Viv JM
Not exactly a riveting read but very convincing and well referenced. But how on Earth do I tame my sweet tooth?!
Elizabeth A
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
"Nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease."

Let that sink in for a moment. We would never dream of giving kids alcohol or a cigarette, but sugar has nutritional value, so it's OK, right? Not exactly.

I credit Dr. Oz for introducing me to the diseases of metabolic syndrome almost 20 years ago. In that episode he also talked about why sugar is so bad for you. Let me paraphrase: eating sugar is like having sharp razor blades tearing up your arteries. Well, that's a
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nutrition
A stunning indictment against sugar and the way Big Sugar has manipulated people's desires and addictions, so they cannot do without sugar. 2/3 of Americans will be Type Two Diabetic within 20 years. People literally are addicted to sugar and carbs. It's incredible the way food manufactures have destroyed the health of people, especially low income folks. Making them want more and more. The other section of the book I really enjoyed was the first third, which traces the historical connection of ...more
Andrea Looney
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not what I thought it would be about. It was a history of sugar, not why you shouldn't eat it. ...more
Scott Diamond
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf_health
This book wasn't what I'd hoped. I do believe we consume too much sugar and that it is detrimental to our health but the evidence provided in this book was far from overwhelming. In fairness. as the author points out, we don't get to conduct the experiment of eating a high sugar diet w/o the rest of the factors of modern western society.

The book itself has quite a bit of discussion of the history of sugar, sugar lobby, FDA history etc but it isn't until about 2/3rds through the book that he pre
Steve Peifer
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I defy anyone to read this and not question what they eat and how you eat. But it is much more than that. The author's goal is to link the sugar industry's cover up of the enormous damage that sugar has done to what the tobacco industry did with smoking. The old Watergate question of What did they know and when did they know it is especially apt. I read Sugar Blues in the 70's and it was an attack on sugar; this is more an attack on an industry that knew the damage they were doing but there was ...more
Denise Cormaney
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every American needs to read this book.

This isn't a diet book. There are no diet plans, no recipes, nothing about losing weight. He isn't a doctor trying to get rich by selling a book based on the latest food craze. Taubes is a science writer, and he presents evidence to prove that sugar is the cause of every modern disease in the Western world. Sound like an exaggeration? It isn't. He makes a solid case.

Unless you have gone deep into the research yourself, you probably believe what we've all be
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I literally stopped eating sugar the second I finished this book, but ahh my kids are addicted. I think if I were to pick one Taubes book, it would be the why we get fat book because it has better research. he makes a lot of crazy claims here that are unsupported, but that I guess I kind of buy. I mean, I don't think sugar causes cancer and alzheimers because those diseases started appearing once we started eating sugar. We started eating lots of sugar after we took care of the plague and other ...more
You’re not gonna like this. But in your heart, you already know it’s true. Sugar is killing us. Slowly. It takes years and even decades to see its full effect, and that’s what makes it so insidious. After year of eating with apparent impunity, it ends in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Taubes, taking an epidemiological approach to the subject, subscribes to the theory of sugar as a hormonal regulatory disrupter that has a different metabolic effect than other substances. That i
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
If this were a criminal case, The Case Against Sugar would be the argument for the prosecution

And if I were the judge in the case, I would probably struggle to resist turning up for the first day in court wearing a black cap to signal the pre-ordained outcome of the trial – an outcome the cover of the book anticipates with its sugary noose.

My own distillation of current wisdom on diet would probably be something like “everything in moderation, except refined sugar which you should avoid as
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Confession: I used to LOVE sugar. I’ve eaten less and less over the past two years. I still eat a chocolate chip cookie whenever I see one (since they’re amazing). And it’s not sustainable for me to completely cut sugar out of my life. But I feel like I’ve gotten my addiction under control. This book reinforced the importance of that effort.

I put this book in the same category as “Why We Sleep.” We are still learning a lot about the science of health. However, there are some things we know are g
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
When I picked up The Case Against Sugar, I was hoping for a book that would help me overcome a serious sweet tooth - One that would help me feel less obsessed with sugar. Expectations are risky, and are of no fault of Gary Taubes, the author. Unfortunately this book didn't do the trick. I found the information on the introduction of sugar, the lobbying, and the addiction interesting, but Taubes lost me vilifying sugar as it relates to carbohydrates - no, I'm not talking about simple, but complex ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Taubes is a very good writer and makes a good case against sugar, but he already did that in two previous books. What he adds here is some more explanation of why the authorities keep saying sugar is not the problem even in instances where the evidence shows that it clearly is. He also makes a good argument about if sugar is the main culprit behind metabolic syndrome, then it's a big deal for lots of diseases other than just obesity itself. He even makes a solid argument for sugar's role in the ...more
This was a really informative and detailed read! There were some things in here that I already knew, but the level of detail, from the history to talking about different case studies and everything was really eye opening and I enjoyed learning more about this. However, if I were trying to physically read this (instead of the audiobook), I don't think I ever would have finished because it's pretty dense. ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think Mr. Taubes may be right about the dangers of refined sugar, but Lord did he really have to explain every little chemical reaction and every single study ever done! I got an article from my Sister which was a brief synopsis of the book by Taubes, called "Is Sugar Killing Us?" That article covered everything in the book in a "beautiful" nutshell!! ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"We now eat in two weeks the amount of sugar our ancestors of 200 years ago ate in a year." (England 1963) ...more
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Gary Taubes is an American science writer. He is the author of Nobel Dreams (1987), Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993), and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007), titled The Diet Delusion (2008) in the UK and Australia. His book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It was released in December 2010. In December 2010 Taubes launched a blog at GaryTaubes.com to promote the ...more

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12 likes · 5 comments
“…Sugar has become an ingredient avoidable in prepared and packaged foods only by concerted and determined effort, effectively ubiquitous. Not just in the obvious sweet foods (candy bars, cookies, ice creams, chocolates, sodas, juices, sports and energy drinks, sweetened iced tea, jams, jellies, and breakfast cereals both cold and hot), but also in peanut butter, salad dressings, ketchup, BBQ sauces, canned soups, cold cuts, luncheon meats, bacon, hot dogs, pretzels, chips, roasted peanuts, spaghetti sauces, canned tomatoes, and breads. From the 1980's onward manufacturers of products advertised as uniquely healthy because they were low in fat…not to mention gluten free, no MSG, and zero grams trans fat per serving, took to replacing those fat calories with sugar to make them equally…palatable and often disguising the sugar under one or more of the fifty plus names, by which the fructose-glucose combination of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup might be found. Fat was removed from candy bars sugar added, or at least kept, so that they became health food bars. Fat was removed from yogurts and sugars added and these became heart healthy snacks, breakfasts, and lunches.” 6 likes
“No such ambiguity existed about sugar consumption. “We now eat in two weeks the amount of sugar our ancestors of 200 years ago ate in a whole year,” as the University of London nutritionist John Yudkin wrote in 1963 of the situation in England. “Sugar provides about 20 percent of our total intake of calories and nearly half of our carbohydrate.” 5 likes
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