Rich Cohen writes in National Geographic magazine's August cover story titled “Sugar Love (a not so sweet story)” that sugar was the oil of its day. The more you tasted, the more you wanted. In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year. By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year. Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. As lands with oil and gas are greatly sought after today so it was with lands for sugarcane that needed tropical, rain-drenched fields to flourish. In school they call it the age of exploration, the search for territories and islands that would send Europeans all around the world. In reality, it was a hunt for fields where sugarcane would prosper.
Rich Cohen reviews the fascinating role sugar has played in the history of the world and how it affects our health today. With all the low-fat, non-fat, low salt, and no-salt foods available, Cohen asks whether sugar is at the center of America’s health crisis.