October 3, 2018

sugar bound :: Sweet Reads Roundup

sugar bound touches on many fascinating topics and one of the most interesting is sugar itself!

By Heather Link-Bergman; Illustration by Audrey Twigg


Illustration of sugary foods like donuts, pie, cookies, soda, candies and sugary coffee drinks.


sugar bound touches on many fascinating topics and one of the most interesting is sugar itself! Made up of just carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C12-H22-O11 to be exact), sugar has been around since ancient times and has been a part of our global history, culture and, more recently, many of our foods.

This week, we’re exploring sugar as a topic that can spark diverse conversations with a roundup of some of our favorite articles on, about or around sugar.


On Eating Sugar

Many of us know that too much sugar is bad for us but did you know that sugar plays a unique role in increasing heart disease, diabetes and obesity? It’s OK if you didn’t since the sugar industry has long downplayed the health risks of eating too much sugar. Surprised? Shocked? Check out this New York Times report on the sugar industry’s shady behavior.


Because sugar hides in so many prepared and packaged foods, it can be hard know how much sugar you consume each day. Check out this interactive quiz from the New York Times to see if you can avoid eating too much added sugar during the day so you can save room for dessert.


If you’re asking yourself, “how did that even happen?!” after reading the two articles above, click through to this excellent Guardian piece to learn how scientist and nutritionists have been slow to acknowledge the role sugar plays in many health problems.



Illustration of three ice cream scoops flying out of a bowl.


On Baking with Sugar

How many varieties of sugar can you name? Perhaps 2-3? We were surprised to learn about 11 varieties of sugar in this Kitchn guide! Read on to learn about the different types along with recipes for using each in your next baking project [correction: projectS because who can pass up the chance to make not one, but eleven tasty desserts.]


We all use sugar in baking because we know it’s sweet, but it does a whole lot more on a chemical level to make your desserts the right color, texture and shape! If you’re feeling that the past few articles were too down on sugar, click through to Eater’s convincing defense of sugar as a culinary wonder.


Where Does Sugar Come From?

Sugar has been cultivated for centuries around the world from Asia to the Americas. But sugarcane cannot grow in all climates. So how is it that sugar is readily available in grocery stores and markets in parts of the world that aren’t suitable for sugarcane cultivation?

The answer isn’t sweet. As sugar became more popular and widely available around the world, sugarcane producers needed to keep up with demand. This led to the colonization of tropical locales – like Guyana, Trinidad and the Caribbean – where sugarcane could be grown. Wondering what colonialism is exactly? Check out this excellent Teen Vogue explainer.



Did we miss a great article? Know of a writer who explores the topic of sugar in interesting ways? Let us know and share the link in our comments!

sugar bound is on view at CVA from August 30 through November 3. The gallery is open 5 days a week and admission is always free. Check out our exhibition page to plan your visit.