Social aspects of dietary sugars

Amy K. McLennan, Stanley J. Ulijaszek, Karin Eli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Sugars may create feeling, but people create meaning. As Sidney Mintz [1] demonstrated in his landmark monograph, Sweetness and Power, the taste and desire for sugars and sweetness is not wholly biological or innate. Arguing that the rapid incorporation of sugar into the English diet in the nineteenth century reflected much more than the human preference for sweetness, he suggested that sugar consumption was mediated by, and in turn affected, the dynamics of its production. He argued, moreover, that consumption and production themselves were influenced by the changing social meanings and consumer uses of sugar and that the use and meanings attached to sugar likewise fed back into patterns of consumption and production. Sugar implicated slave labor and colonial domination, industrialization, and urbanization, and was, according to Mintz, not merely a bearer of sweetness but a profoundly social substance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDietary Sugars and Health
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781466593787
ISBN (Print)9781466593770
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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