top of page

Historical Event

Copy URL to Share


April 8, 1928

Short Description:




Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 1.31.54 AM.png

A flood of supply in the sugar industry causes advertisements to eat more to appear, deceptively leading many to early deaths from chronic disease.





TOO MUCH SUGAR FOR THE WORLD TO EAT; Once It Was a Table Luxury, Now an Effort Is Made to Dam the Vast Source of Supply


Important Text:

WHEN New York was really new, a lump of sugar sparingly nibbled with a cup of tea was the height of luxury. Today the world and his wife, life Hansel and Gretel before the witch's castle, find themselves in a wonderland of sugar.

For every pound [of sugar] consumed a century ago, today there is 20.

In America, taking us all in all--rich man, poor man, beggar man. thlef, and babe In army--we eat of candy alone about eleven pounds apiece. In New York City, which is literally the sweetest spot on earth it is probably nearer fifteen. In a half century our confectioners have realized visions of sugar plums far beyond Victorian dreams. Where candy once meant a few hard balls or sticks in a striped paper bag, today it may mean any sort of comfit in any sort of container, from the business-like sweet chocolate of the subway news standa to bonbons in a gilded chest. The old-fashioned chocolate cream has a progeny more numerous than the fabled Belgian hare. Ice cream soda, an Invention of the 80's, abounds in America like the proverbial milk and honey of the Promised Land. Bake-shop windows are gaudy with frosted pastries that resemble nothing mother used to make. Sugar comes close to being the American staff of life. It is doubtful whether Uncle Sam would even care for his chewing gum without it. 

The whole story of sugar is, however, a very short chapter in the world's history. Known for some 2,000 years, it has been in everyday use for but 200. Honey was the sweet of the ancients, celebrated in song. Sugar--odd as it now seems--they prized as a medicine, and it appears at first to have come from India, from cane or its cousin, the bamboo. As late as Nero's time a geographer was writing indifferently: "There is a sort of hard honey which is called saccharum(sugar)

But, in 1928,  there was a problem: The article explains that the global supply of sugar was growing even faster than the demand. The sugar industry anticipated we’d all soon be "drowned in sweetness, in a vast and swelling Niagara of sugar." Something had to be done. …

The 1928 article continues, "Either it [the sugar supply] must be dammed at the source or we must somehow eat our way out." Cuba planned to limit output. The American sugar industry settled on the "eat our way out" strategy.

The article reveals that the sugar industry had recently launched "The Sugar Institute," a trade group that would "teach America how to eat more sugar." "If everyone would eat 20 pounds more a year, [The Sugar Institute] pleads, we might catch up with production."

Soon the institute will begin directly to teach America how to eat more sugar. If every one would eat twenty pounds more a year, it pleads, we might catch up with production. America has accomplished greater gourmandizing feats before. Where just after the Civil War the average citizen ate eighteen pounds of sugar a year, today he eats 119. And that does not include maple sugar, corn sugar, and honey, nor the rivers of syrup and molasses with which the national griddle cakes are inundated. 

Topics: (click image to open)

Big Sugar
Big Sugar is based on organizations like ILSI and The Sugar Association. They promote sugar as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but ignore many of the cons of sugar consumption.
bottom of page