Filed Under: Food Scares

Nutritional Wizardry Not So Wonderful

Television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz doesn’t claim to be a “supermarket guru” when he slams high fructose corn syrup, but he does have an M.D. That’s why it’s concerning when he puts out a column advising his fans to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup. He raises a scarecrow and warns that high fructose corn syrup could be linked to “metabolic syndrome,” while failing to mention that the study that he appears to be referencing didn’t even look at high fructose corn syrup! Published in March, the researchers gave excessively high (i.e. unrealistic) doses of pure fructose to subjects and monitored the results. This is a common misconception, but a doctor should know better. Pure fructose is just what you think—100 percent fructose. No one eats or drinks pure fructose, let alone in the quantities given in the study. High fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, is roughly half fructose and half glucose—just like table sugar. 

Dr. Oz. cleverly brushes off the wealth of research and nutritionists saying that high fructose corn syrup is nutritionally the same as refined (table) sugar. It looks like we’re not in reality anymore, Toto.

Dr. Oz’s obesity “advice” (read: scaremongering) completely misses the forest for the trees (or the road for bricks, if you will). Demonizing one ingredient isn’t going to make anybody healthier.

The American Dietetic Association—you know, the real nutrition experts—rejects the overly simplistic “good” food/“bad” food approach to diets. The ADA writes: “[T]he total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of a healthful eating style. All foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with regular physical activity.”

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