Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson's and Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, Sugar Changed the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.
I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities: "Betcha can't eat just one. Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss." And, as noted in my earlier posts on Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.
Aronson and Buddhos shared a wealth of information on the history of sugar--for the details, go to their elegant Web site and/or buy the book! To give you a taste, though (pun intended), I'll share a few items that I learned from their presentation on CSpan.
In 1700, where sugar consumption could be measured, it was 4 pounds per year per person. By 1800, 14 pounds. By 1900, 90 pounds. And by 2010, 150 pounds per person per year.
This book is a magnificent wake-up call. Have we not been slaves to sugar? It's so darn easy to become one! There's a place for it in our diet, sure, but as Marina Buddhos points out, it stopped being a spice--an extra, a flourish--and became a staple-- a staple that has no nutritional value.
Sugar Changed the World. It's up to us to write the story of how it will or won't change our world in the years to come.