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  May 4, 2011   "Selling the Free Lunch: One Hundred Years of Artificial Sweeteners," Food History Group, University of California Santa Barbara  
  March 5, 2011   Sacramento Public Library Foundation Authors on the Move; Hyatt Downtown, 4 pm -10 pm  
      Sacramento Empty Pleasures will be featured in this year's Authors on the Move event in Sacramento, an annual celebration of authors and notable books in the greater capital region.  
  March 12, 2011   "Are We Really So Anxious?" Food Anxieties Symposium, UC Santa Cruz/Bonny Doon Winery, Santa Cruz, California  
  March 17, 2011   “From Healthy to Horrible: What the History of Artificial Sweeteners Reveals about Sugar,” Sugar Highs and Lows: Dietary Sugars, the Brain, and Metabolic Outcomes,” Coast/UCOP Obesity Symposium, UC Davis  
  March 25, 2011   “Tomato Men: Technology and Expertise in the Mechanization of California’s Tomato Harvest,” Cuisine, Technology, and Development Conference, Rochester Institute of Technology  
  February 9, 2011   "Empty Pleasures: Why Humanities Research on Food and Health is Needed," UC Office of the President Research Lunch Series, Oakland  
  January 28, 2011   “Why Diet Food Doesn’t Work,” Grand Opening: Winery, Brewery, and Food, Robert Mondavi Institute of Food and Wine Science, UC Davis  
  January 13, 2011   Talk and book signing, Omnivore Books, San Francisco  
  December 9, 2010   Center for Healthcare Policy and Research; UC Davis Health System; 12 noon-1 pm; La Bou Care; 2248Stockton Blvd.; Room 1104  
  November 6, 2010   Food Innovation and Technology Panel, Lemelson Center, Smithsonian, Washington D.C.  
      Here a forum on American food innovation provides an opportunity to consider links between technologies for weight control in relation to such topics as production efficiency, nutritional knowledge, and mass marketing.  
  October 15, 2010
6 pm
  The University Library at the University of California at Davis (Peter J. Shields Library Lobby), Davis, California  
      "Three Stories You Don't Know about Artificial Sweeteners, But Should"

Recent studies suggest artificial sweetener use often does not lead to weight loss. If sweeteners have not helped us "diet," what have they done? This talk explores the stories of NutraSweet, Tasti Diet, and Diet Delight to uncover the things that splenda, nutrasweet, and saccharin have actually done--increase food and media industry' profits, build new partnerships between food and pharmaceutical companies, and inundate consumers with messages that "nature" wants us to consume limitless sweets. (More information)
  September 30, 2010   Technology and Health Panel, German History Day, NutraSweet and Health, Berlin, Germany  
      Before NutraSweet, artificial sweetener was widely considered a technological solution to the problem of caloric limits. Consumers knew that saccharin and cyclamates were not natural. They were promoted as laboratory-derived products that could "solve" the inherent problem with pursuing sweet pleasure--weight gain. NutraSweet changed that. This talk explores the sophisticated marketing campaign for aspartame, a classic "technological fix," wherein aspartame's inventors claimed to take the bad out of nature and presented as healthful a mode of consumer eating wherein sweet pleasure could be indulged continuously, without consequence.  
  September 25, 2010   Keynote Address, Gender, Technology and Artificial Sweeteners in the US, Maastricht, Netherlands  
      Presenting the keynote address the German Association for the History of Medicine, Science, and Technology provides an opportunity to explore artificial sweetener's impact on women in the U.S. since its mass-market introduction in the 1950s. While many have gained professionally and financially by developing and promoting it, and others have gained politically by protesting for--and against--it, many others have found an ever-sweeter, and confusing food landscape where it is increasingly difficult to be full.  

Buy the Book

The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda
by Carolyn de la Peña

The University of North Carolina Press

Paperback available in August!

Carolyn de la Peña giving a talk

Copyright 2010 Carolyn Thomas