Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda (Paperback)
  • Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda (Paperback)
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Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda (Paperback)

(author)
£35.50
Paperback 296 Pages / Published: 30/08/2012
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Sugar substitutes have been a part of American life since saccharin was introduced at the 1893 World's Fair. In Empty Pleasures, the first history of artificial sweeteners in the United States, Carolyn de la Pena blends popular culture with business and women's history, examining the invention, production, marketing, regulation, and consumption of sugar substitutes such as saccharin, Sucaryl, NutraSweet, and Splenda. She describes how saccharin, an accidental laboratory by-product, was transformed from a perceived adulterant into a healthy ingredient. As food producers and pharmaceutical companies worked together to create diet products, savvy women's magazine writers and editors promoted artificially sweetened foods as ideal, modern weight-loss aids, and early diet-plan entrepreneurs built menus and fortunes around pleasurable dieting made possible by artificial sweeteners.

NutraSweet, Splenda, and their predecessors have enjoyed enormous success by promising that Americans, especially women, can ""have their cake and eat it too,"" but Empty Pleasures argues that these ""sweet cheats"" have fostered troubling and unsustainable eating habits and that the promises of artificial sweeteners are ultimately too good to be true.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807872741
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 404 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 21 mm
Edition: New edition


MEDIA REVIEWS
[De la Pena] is diligent, mostly even-handed and non-polemical.--National Review


This book does an excellent job of exploring the contested history of artificial sweeteners and their use in packaged food and drink. In de la Pena's hands these substances become windows onto important aspects of the American experience.--American Historical Review


Empty Pleasures is full of insights about artificial sweeteners.--Gastronomica


Fascinating.--The New Yorker "Book Bench" blog


An insightful, multidisciplinary work particularly attractive to students of American studies.''--Journal of American History


A welcome and an enlightening examination of consumption and its consequences.--PopMatters


Carolyn de la Pena conducts a thorough review of artificial sweeteners and how their role and perception have changed over the years.--Wilmington Star-News


Absolutely fascinating. . . . This is not a book that scolds you for your gum habit or insists that drinking diet soda will cause you to put on pounds in the long term. Rather, it is a well-written guide to the history and development of a product that permanently changed our meal preparation, our manufacturing system, and our self-perception.--SeriousEats.com


Charmingly written and exhaustively researched, de la Pena's exploration provides a fascinating look into a seemingly commonplace food additive.--ForeWord Magazine


Powerfully engaging . . . [a] highly readable narrative. . . . Strongly recommended for general readers who are interested in changes in the American diet and in their own food choices and for collections that focus on the history of industrial food.--Story Circle Book Reviews


A well-cited, thought-provoking, and fascinating analysis of the sociological, psychological, political, and financial underpinnings of the promotion and use of artificial sweeteners in the U.S. . . . Highly Recommended--Choice


In its most intriguing chapter, the book details the "saccharin rebellion" . . . [which] reveals much about ordinary Americans' perceptions of pleasure in a risk-filled world.--A Nota Bene selection of The Chronicle of Higher Education


De la Pena's substantial skills as a social and cultural historian are on fine display. . . . Illuminating discussion. . . . Offers a too rare glimpse of how the business of chemistry actually works.--Chemical & Engineering News


In this cultural history, de la Pena shows how everyone from scientists to food conglomerates to ad agencies to women's magazines have conspired to make Americans believe we can have our sweets and eat them too.--BarnesandNobleReview.com

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