Ten Teaspoons of Sugar in My Chocolate?
The recently released revisions of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Health bring the conversation about sugar circling ‘round the measuring cup. These warnings against more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar a day boil up questions about nutrition. Surprisingly, just a century ago, nutritionists touted the benefits of sugar, especially candy.
In her book Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, Samira Kawash unpacks the recipes for today’s sugar addictions. Popular food prescriptions for the early 20th century dished out that “Candy is a nourishing and sustaining food.” Professor John C. Olsen of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC in 1910 served up the idea that candy and chocolate, “contain all the four chief food elements, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts and have a higher calorific value than fish, meats, vegetables and fruits.” He frosted his argument for this diet, “Any vigorous adult could make a good breakfast on these chocolate creams and peanuts. … A person living on candy could feed himself on 50 cents a day easily.” The equivalent caloric amount of eggs would cost much more, $1.84 a day. Scientific American similarly fed the public sugar in its issue of July 28, 1917, wrapping the healthiest and the cheapest together.
Candy replaced food. Boxing champion Willie Richie in 1914 declared, “I never let a day go by without eating 12 or 15 sugar lumps or a large quantity of mild chocolate or other kinds of candy.” Cadbury still sells its “Lunch Bar” of peanut, caramel, wafer and chocolate. Klein’s also sold a “Lunch Bar.” Goo Goo Cluster of the 20’s and 30’s were advertised as “A Nourishing Lunch for a Nickel.” A “Graham Lunch” offered a peanut butter and graham cracker sandwich dipped in chocolate. Tootsie Rolls were marketed in pocket sized tubes marked “Lunch.” In 1923 the Sperry Candy Company of Milwaukee launched the Chicken Dinner candy bar.
How lucky I am that my preferred dark chocolate means less sugar in my chocolate.
Book Optioned: Museum Exhibit
Excerpted from my remarks at Opening Night at Temple Emanu-El, NYC, October 20, 2017: Some people have books optioned for movies. I am so delighted that my book, On the Chocolate Trail (2nd Edition, 2017) has become a museum exhibit… Thank you, Warren Klein, for your professionalism, creativity and collegiality in creating Semite Sweet, which displays someRead more ›
Announcing Second Edition: On the Chocolate Trail
Media attention, popular culture, audience questions, growing consumer awareness, and changes in the chocolate world sparked the new material in this second edition of On the Chocolate Trail. I am happy to offer up a totally new chapter, “Gods in My Chocolate,” which explores twenty-first-century controversies about deities formed from chocolate. While chocolate generallyRead more ›
No End to Chocolate Exhibits Part III: Visits #3, 4 & 5
A stunning number of exhibits about chocolate, mostly on the East Coast, captured our attention in the last six months. Mark and I had the opportunity to visit three very different exhibits, what I call #3, 4 & 5. I reviewed the exhibit (#1) at Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), where I was honored toRead more ›
Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
Just as the Detroit Institute of Arts closes its wonderful Bitter|Sweet display of chocolate, coffee and tea, no need to despair. New York offers three additional exhibits. Setting aside the wondrous and elegant chocolate shops, at least three local museums currently exhibit artifacts related to the history and consumption of chocolate. For now, the newRead more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- Adventures On the Chocolate Trail: Atlanta, Portland, Seattle
- Anschluss Launches Bartons Passover Favorites 77 Years Ago
- Bat Mitzvah Wants Fair Trade Israeli Chocolate
- Bringing Buckeye Candy to Experts
- Chocolate Expo
- Chocolate Made My Lunch: Nashville
- Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Me
- Election 2016: Winning Fudge Brigadeiros
- Fathering Chocolate
- Hunting for Chocolate: Fancy Food Show, NYC, 2016
- Labor Day in our Chocolate
- Local Chocolate in the South
- Minding Our Chocolate
- No End to Chocolate Exhibits Part III: Visits #3, 4 & 5
- Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
- On the Chocolate Trail in Brooklyn
- Seriously Tasting Chocolate
- Super Food Chocolate for Super Bowl Sunday: Three Recipes
- Ten Teaspoons of Sugar in My Chocolate?
- That Time Jews Smuggled Chocolate to France — and a Recipe for Basque Chocolate Cake