The Psychology of Sugar
Written by Chad Gierlich
A person can think of sugar in myriad ways. There are all the theories of over consumption, tooth
decay, even a teenagers complexion is doomed with myths of sugar.
Accessibly located in my mind are views about sugar which can be manifest in art. This is an internal
dilemma that I am faced to struggle with daily. I look at a pile of sugar and think of art instead of food.
People have a propensity to express what is important to them. This has spawned many great ideas.
The birth of an idea grows with expression. When sugar is thought of as art, generally images of cake
and cookies come to mind. For me sugar is not as much a physical substance as much as an idea.
Growing a sugar crystal is very slow. I have a few in glass containers. Through much time, it has
become apparent that “a watched sugar crystal does not grow.” This is actually for me quite
interesting. Sugar in granular form can be added to boiling water, making a syrup. This syrup in time
will form crystals, better known as rock candy. Sugar in a solid form is made into a liquid, then it turns
back into a solid. This is art to me, slowly changing forms making new structures. People change forms
in thought like sugar changes form in liquid. The human condition grows slowly like a crystal in water.
I relate sugar to art in my mind for so many reasons. Art triggers certain emotions, elicits certain
reactions. Sugar can make life sweeter in so many ways. Sugar and the human condition are not
usually thought of together in the grand scheme of life. Things we consider nice are thought of as
sweet. Sweet thoughts are found in things or people we consider sweet. The relationship between
things we are fond of and the thoughts in our mind pertaining to these things are gathered from past
experiences that relate to what I like to call “The Sweetness Factor.”
Sugar put in water changes form yet remains sweet to the taste. This is similar to a thought which is
thought and is then rendered sweet, although a thought cannot be a thought without first being thought
and therefore the process of thinking the thought is not sweet so much as the memory to the thought
after it has been thought and then filtered though “The Sweetness Factor.”
Thoughts much like sugar can be refined. This process of taking raw thoughts and refining them is a
process which we go through everyday. I believe that the sweetness factor is a process of refining our
most important thoughts. In my mind, sugar plays an instrumental role in my psyche. This leads to a
different way of accomplishing goals.
I have just recently finished filling a glass jar full of different forms of sugar. Melting sugar, granulated
sugar, sugar syrup, sugar with food coloring, etc. It was quite interesting for me to see the different
sugars react with each other. When the glass jar was almost full, I began sticking it in the microwave
and watching the sugars bubble. This sugar creation is very important to me, yet I don’t know why. At
this point in my adventure, I have to admit to myself that this is no longer my creation so much as it is a
creation that I am doing. The looming "why" question appears in my mind often. These thoughts go
through my mind with such a degree of importance.
The thought of doing art with sugar came to me as I looked at a bag of sugar and thought of the
different applications of it. I watched a program on television about sugar creations. They were
exquisite forms created with sugar to sit atop cakes and such. Much care and artistry goes into these
The art that I am creating is more about seeing how sugar reacts to certain changes in its environment
and then personifying the change in art. For me, these changes can be thought of in terms of my own
life and then looked at accordingly.