The book's central argument is that consumption of refined sugar is unnatural and damaging to human health, causing major differences in physical and mental well-being. Dufty even goes so far as to suggest that eliminating refined sugar from the diet of those institutionalized for mental illness could be an effective treatment for some. The sugar industry is criticized for misrepresenting the health and safety data of its products.
- Processed foods, artificial ingredients, chemicals in our foods, and unnatural foods have long been the target of books, [six listed including Dufty 1975] but there seems to be limited understanding of food science...A critical reading of one or more of these sources or alternatives is recommended to see if there is what we can learn as we practice our profession and how to respond to criticism that we may receive.
Censorship analyst Heather Hendershot and historian Mark Pendergrast have criticized the book for comparing sugar to drugs and suggesting its role in a variety of illnesses including bubonic plague.
Scientist Michael E. Oakes has also commented on the book.
Refined Sugar: The Sweetest Poison of All, William Dufty, (c) 1975, extract edited from the book Sugar Blues, first publisher Chilton Book Co., latest publisher Warner Books.
- Sugar Blues, Amazon.com, accessed 23 December 2009.
- Seaman, Frederic. The Last Days of John Lennon. Birch Lane Press.
- Robert L. Shewfelt (2012) "Critical Thinking", chapter 11 of Becoming a Food Scientist: To Graduate School and Beyond, page 93, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4614-3299-9
- "Dufty compares sugar to opium, morphine, and heroin, and calls sugar companies "pushers". [He] blamed sugar for everything from acne and scurvy to bubonic plague." Heather Hendershot, Saturday morning censors: television regulation before the V-chip, Duke University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8223-2240-4, ISBN 978-0-8223-2240-5. pp88.
- "William Dufty blamed most of man's ills on overindulgence in white sugar". Mark Pendergrast, For God, country and Coca-Cola: the definitive history of the great American soft drink and the company that makes it, Basic Books, 2000. ISBN 0-465-05468-4, ISBN 978-0-465-05468-8. p302
- Michael E. Oakes, Bad foods: changing attitudes about what we eat Transaction Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7658-0228-7, ISBN 978-0-7658-0228-6. p101.
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