Why do we like sugar so much?
Why do we like sugar so much? Eating fresh fruits, a natural source of sweetness, is healthy. However, nowadays, we consume large amounts of processed sugar, often added to food, and our diet can be far from healthy. So, why do we like sugar so much? If we understand "why" we eat, we can make better choices about "what" we eat. This project untangles sugar’s powers and celebrates fruits, all from a very unusual perspective.
Sugar has changed the course of history. Its central role in the triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas has an impact on our society to this day. Its story can be viewed from many angles, whether economic, political, social, psychological or medical ones. Fruit Full explores some of these elements through artworks, stories, facts and opinions, as only art can, by bringing disciplines, people and ideas together.
You can discover the complete project on this website. To view a section, click on one of the images below.
About the project
Françoise Sergy is a photography and installation artist. As it happens, she is diabetic, type 2. For her, maintaining a low sugar diet is a very important way of managing her condition. She wanted to find out why we so often crave sweet treats, so she teamed up with nutrition scientists studying the role of sugar in our diet.
Professor Leanne Hodson and her team are based at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism (OCDEM) at the University of Oxford, UK. Amongst other work, they research the role of sugar in the metabolism of cells, working with volunteer participants as well as by studying human cells in the laboratory.
Professor Julie Lovegrove is Head of the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition at the University of Reading, UK. The Unit’s work focuses on a broad range of nutrition issues, particularly the study of diet-related chronic diseases and how to prevent them.
Fruits, glorious fruits
Françoise has an other passion: the world of plants. Fruit Full is her third art and science project exploring the importance, often hidden, of plants in our everyday life. Here, she has chosen to study five fruits, three of them familiar to everyone: plums, cherries and raspberries, and two whose popularity has sadly waned in the UK: quinces and mulberries.
The project shows how these fruits are grown by farmers and what happens when they are made into foods in factories. Featured are the National Fruit Collection in Kent, UK, home to over 3500 varieties of fruit; a market farmer, also in Kent; and the preserves makers Wilkin & Sons in Essex, UK, whose large farm is home to a mulberry orchard which is unique in the country. The artist also visited Bulgaria where a traditional type of plum preserve is made.
Fruit Full is a multimedia art and science project, offering a unique perspective on a very topical issue.
To view one of the project's sections, click on an image below.
Here, you will discover five fruits and their power to evoke and please all our senses. You will find out how they are grown and produced on farms, and how they are made into jam in a factory.
You will learn about sugar, its history and its impact on our society through the ages.
You will explore the work of nutrition scientists and some of their research.
You will be able to listen to a focus group discussing topics such as "what we eat", "why we eat" and "what is sugar".
You will discover two art installations which feature everyday objects: Sugar Spell, made from an orchard ladder, plays visually and physically on the meaning of sweetness. Fruit Talk, made from a fruit harvesting trolley, revisits childhood memories of gardens and fruit picking.
And hopefully, by the end, you will know why it is that most of us like sugar so much. And you will cherish fruits all the more, for their taste, their colour, their aroma, their silky skin and perfectly sweet and juicy flesh...