Filed Under: Big Fat Lies Food Scares

Yesterday’s Sweetener Myths, ‘TODAY’

On yesterday’s “TODAY” show, nutritionist and Shape magazine editor Cynthia Sass joined NBC host Lester Holt for a brief tour through the seldom-understood world of sweeteners. There was plenty of ground to cover, from maple syrup to non-caloric options to regular old table sugar. But it seems these days that no sweetener story would be complete without a misinformed segment on high fructose corn syrup (or corn sugar), which was identified on NBC back in April as “one of the most misunderstood products in the food supply.” Unfortunately, yesterday’s show missed a good opportunity to clear up some of those misunderstandings.
Even as a nutritionist, Sass failed to get her sweetener facts straight when Holt inquired about the meaningless labels on products made with corn sugar.

Holt: I want to talk about one of those [sweeteners] we see – and I’ve become a label reader since doing this show. One of them is high fructose corn syrup… Is it healthy?

: It about the same number of calories as sugar, but a lot of the experts are concerned – because it gets processed by the liver – that it could create liver damage and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Which “experts” was Sass referring to? The ones who raised the possibility of a link between corn sugar and diabetes in 2004, only to debunk their own theory in the very same academic journal? In reality, high fructose corn syrup affects our bodies in the same way as table sugar — or any other natural sweetener.
We’ve said it before, but apparently it bears repeating: Just like a calorie is a calorie, sugar is sugar. Period.
Click here to watch the TODAY show segment. And to learn more about this and other myths associated with high fructose corn syrup, visit

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