Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
About the Foundation

The elimination of sugar

Appreciated for its taste, sugar has always been highly sought-after by humanity. Although it was rare and expensive in the past, today it is commonplace and highly-affordable. Pleasure or moderation? It is not always easy to resist when faced with a mountain of cakes.
©Shutterstock / Vlue

Sugar consumption under control?

New-borns naturally love sweetness rather than the other basic tastes (salty, bitter, sour and umami). Sugar is a source of pleasure and has always been much in demand. People ate honey and fruit long before sugar arrived in Europe from India in the 12th century. At that time, it was a rare and luxurious resource, thought of as a spice and used to enhance dishes before later becoming a dessert at the end of the meal. Sugar was consumed on special occasions and at celebrations. Eating it on its own, out of greed, was associated with childish behaviour. It was also put to therapeutic use, to cure inflammation according to the humour theory, which dominated medical discourse up until the late 18th century.

After cane sugar was introduced in America, sugar became widespread in Europe and its consumption increased. At the same time, there were growing calls against excessive intake of sugar, deemed a health hazard. Some doctors even talked about sugar being naturally harmful. This talk reflected a moral concern as to whether it was right to eat sugar for pleasure rather than out of necessity. In the 20th century, the consumption of sugar became commonplace and criticisms from scientific circles hardened. Excessive consumption of sugar was thought to cause problems such as tooth decay, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.

The food industry uses sugar in a large number of products (sauces, condiments, dairy products, breakfast cereals, processed meat, etc.) and is increasingly turning to substitute sugar with synthetic, calorie-free sweeteners (aspartame, saccharine, acesulfame, and cyclamates). However, sweeteners do not provide the same kind of pleasure as sugar and can present health risks if consumed in large quantities. In light of this, health experts are calling for a return to sugar whilst reminding us to consume it in moderation.