'The inconvenient truth about sugar': two-part podcast special with 'Sugar Rush' author

Head of School Professor Karen Throsby features on the 'Can I Have Another Snack?' podcast this month, discussing her latest book, Sugar Rush, with host and nutritionist Laura Thomas.

In the first of two special episodes, the conversation focuses on public and scientific framings of sugar and health, the unpaid labour of women, unequal distributions of household labour and Professor Throsby's analysis of newspaper articles and text-based sources across a twenty-year period. The second episode delves into rhetoric around ultra-processed food, care and privilege, and ‘the so-called war on 'obes*ty’.

The episodes, along with full transcripts, are available on the Can I have another snack? podcast site.

Speaking about Sugar Rush on the podcast, Professor Throsby says:

The core argument of the book is that actually by focusing on a single nutrient – like sugar – as the cause of multiple problems, you actually make inequalities worse rather than better. Because it actually relies on erasing inequality from the start to say, ‘we eat too much sugar’.

[A] sociologist would always want to ask, well, who is ‘we’ here? And in fact what we see, by looking at the newspaper coverage and so on, is those who are deemed to be eating ‘too much sugar’ are also those who are already the most marginalized in society.

The School of Sociology and Social Policy and Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies hosted a launch event in December 2023 for Sugar Rush, where Professor Throsby spoke about the book in conversation with Professor Jayne Raisborough (Leeds Beckett University). An audio recording of the conversation is available here.

In a review of Sugar Rush for the Sociological Review, Lucy Aphramor writes:

This timely and theoretically expansive analysis of the sugar-health nexus will appeal to readers with personal, professional and political investment in understanding ‘the social life of sugar’ and that of health science more generally. It is also a significant contribution to scholarship that integrates and aligns fat studies and critical food studies.

Sugar Rush: Science, Politics and the Demonisation of Fatness is published by Manchester University Press and is also available at major booksellers.

Professor Karen Throsby has been Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy since August 2023. She is a Professor of Gender Studies and a member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies.