These are good reasons why no self-respecting health food store will sell sugar. A recent Freakonomics podcast featuring Margaret Hamburg takes a deeper look into the issue. But it gets worse, and there are two reasons for this. First, even before the sugar cane is harvested, it is doused with all sorts of pesticides and chemicals. Then as a final act of environmental irresponsibility the sugar cane fields are burned to get rid of the long leaves! This is done to make harvesting easier.