Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A17. How Sweet It Is?

Americans are consuming more added sugar than ever: in 1980, the per capita consumption was about 120 pounds per year, and the US Census Bureau now reports we eat 132 pounds per year. Obesity-related disease and metabolic syndrome are on the rise. Several studies document a cause and effect relationship between sugar consumption and disease. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of added sugars in food and beverages. On the other hand, members of the sugar industry such as the American Beverage Association and the National Confectioners Association dispute the sugar-disease link.

This First Year Seminar will be a case study of the science and politics surrounding the sugar controversy. What does basic science say about the relationship about sugar metabolism and its effects on the human body? Does epidemiology tell the same story? Do the answers depend on who funded the study? What education is happening around this question? Can we influence the decision-making process surrounding sugar availability?

Laura MullerLaura Muller
Associate Professor of Chemistry