Oh sugar! Local author launches book
Press release issued: 23 November 2004
Award-winning local author, Dr Sanjida O'Connell, will be speaking about her new book 'Sugar: the grass that changed the world', and signing copies, at the University of Bristol's Archaeology Department, 43 Woodland Road, at 6.30pm on 25 November 2004.
Award-winning local author, Dr Sanjida O’Connell, will be speaking about her new book ‘Sugar: the grass that changed the world’, and signing copies, at the University of Bristol’s Archaeology Department, 43 Woodland Road, at 6.30pm on 25 November.
‘Sugar’ is about how sugar cane was domesticated in Papua New Guinea 8,000 years ago and was spread throughout the world by religious groups. From the beginning of colonial history until 1834, twenty million Africans were enslaved; two-thirds of them died because of our desire for sugar. Tooth decay was virtually unheard of in early human history – it only appeared in the 1800s when everyone could afford sugar.
Dr O’Connell explained why sugar can be so bad for you: ‘The average person eats almost 30 kilos of sugar a year. Just five teaspoons of sugar a day – the amount found in a small glass of Coca Cola, half a Mars bar or a Kit Kat – is beyond what you would normally burn up and could result in a weight gain of five kilos or ten pounds in a year.’
Sugar has shaped our culture, landscape, politics, geography, economics, race, music, health, the very food we eat and what we drink in a way that no other commodity has throughout human history. It led to the rise of slavery, multinationals like Tate & Lyle, tooth decay, obesity and environmental damage, and has led to heightened poverty in developing nations.Sanjida O’Connell attended Bristol University before studying for a PhD at Universtiy College London. She has already written two award-winning novels, ‘Theory of Mind’ and ‘Angel Bird’, as well as a popular science book, ‘Mindreading: How we Learn to Love and Lie.’ She works as a science journalist and produces and directs documentaries for the BBC. She moved back to Bristol in 1996 and now lives in Dursley with her husband and 3 ducks.