Filed Under: Food Scares

More Sweet Clarity about Corn Sugar

No doubt most people have heard some of the Internet innuendo about high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has become uninformed bloggers’ favorite punching bag. But the unscientific campaign to pillory this corn sugar has drawn wide backlash, from actual nutrition experts to activists. Now we can add another name to the all-sugars-are-created-equal team: Martha Stewart.

Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart responds to a reader question about the difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. She notes:

[H]igh-fructose corn syrup has a reputation for being even more harmful than table sugar. In fact, both contain similar amounts of fructose and glucose, and the way the body processes high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose is nearly identical.

The American Medical Association has said that high-fructose corn syrup doesn't appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners, but that additional independent research on its long-term health effects is needed.

We’re glad to see that Stewart has kept up with the medical literature. Additionally, the American Dietetic Association has found: “No persuasive evidence supports the claim that high fructose corn syrup is a unique contributor to obesity.”

In fact, two of the three authors of the 2004 commentary that fueled the reckless speculation about high fructose corn syrup have both since come back to the land of common sense. Pennington Biomedical Research Center professor George Bray now says, “Sugar is sugar.” And University of North Carolina professor Barry Popkin is even more explicit:

Now I feel really bad…. We were only speculating that there might be an adverse effect… Other people wrote about it afterwards without even reading it carefully…. All sugar you eat is the same. That’s what we know now that we didn’t know in 2004.

Sugar is sugar. Eat it in moderation. That’s not rocket science, is it?

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