A better sugar? Try none at all


I see I’m a little late to the discussion, but I just bought a bag of Domino’s Sugar and noticed that the bag carries a claim about carbon neutrality.

Looks like, when this product launched a couple of years ago, there was plenty of ranting and raving about it from all quarters, including Joe Romm’s climate blog and, of all people, Glenn Beck. (Don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him here before.) The complaints ranged from the fact that carbon offsets are a dubious business to the highly irrelevant, but amusing, point that the sugar molecule itself contains carbon.

My objection is closer to what these folks are saying: Growing sugar is a nasty business, environmentally, regardless of some good steps Domino’s may be taking. Start with the fact that massive swaths of the Everglades have been drained to create the land needed to grow this crop, throw in heavy pesticide use, and then sprinkle a topping of rampant habitat loss. It’s bad news.

And it’s a reminder that I shouldn’t have been buying Domino’s sugar in the first place. At least I should spring for the organic stuff, but better yet, I should look for better ways to sweeten my food.

For starters, honey is local and versatile. And the family farmers who sell it to me aren’t insulting me by greenwashing their product. (Check out the saccharine language here, starting with this nonsensical sentence: "Sugar is a naturally sweet product from our earth, so it’s natural for us to want to be good stewards of our environment.") Someone get me a toothbrush!