Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Sep 27, 2010 - Business & Economics - 296 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
False Scarlet Healthful Sugar vs Adulterous Saccharin in the Early Twentieth Century
13
Alchemic Ally Womens Creativity and Control in Saccharin and Cyclamates
39
Diet Men The FoodPharma Origins of Artificially Sweetened Products
65
Prosperity Stomachs and Prosperous Women Diet Entrepreneurs
105
Saccharin Rebels The Right to Risky Pleasure in 1977
141
NutraSweet Nation Profit Peril and the Promise of a Free Lunch
177
Splenda Sugar and What Mother Nature Intended
219
Notes
229
Bibliography
257
Acknowledgments
269
Index
273
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Carolyn de la Pena is a professor of American studies at the University of California, Davis. She is author of The Body Electric: How Strange Machines Built the Modern American.

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