Compare honey to high fructose corn syrup — not much difference

high fructose corn syrup honey

I am a person that keeps saying “sugar is sugar,” but there are so many people who think honey is somehow “healthier” than high fructose corn syrup which we use in many foods. The fact is, from a chemical standpoint, there are very minor differences between honey and other sources of sugar.

One of the reasons for this belief is that honey is “natural” while high fructose corn syrup is an evil chemical. The appeal to nature is a logical fallacy that states that “natural” is good or better than the alternatives.

Let’s take a look at sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and honey. There’s a bit of science involved, but I’ll try to keep it easy to read.

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Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity – poor evidence

artificial sweeteners obesity

This article about artificial sweeteners and obesity was written by Linda Tock, an American living in Denmark, who has an extensive research background in the biomedical sciences. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Chemistry and Health and will be pursuing a Ph.D. Ms. Tock has a fascination for Daphnia, an interesting planktonic crustacean, that is an important organism in studying pollution and environmental stresses. 

So I received a message from a friend of mine, wanting my opinion on this news article, which loudly proclaims that artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity. Because it was a genuine question regarding the science behind the study, and not a ‘concern troll’ about my preference for diet cola, I went and looked at the study itself to see what the fuss was about.

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High fructose corn syrup — debunking the myths with science

high fructose corn syrup

People demonize food “chemicals,” like high fructose corn syrup, all of the time — see monosodium glutamate, as just one example. And there’s high fructose corn syrup, a sugar that is blamed for everything from cancer to diabetes to climate change. OK, maybe not climate change.

High fructose corn syrup is just sugar, but because it has a complicated name, it must be bad. It’s part of the “chemophobia,” the fear of anything that sounds like a chemical.

The so-called Food Babe has made a lot of money endorsing a belief that all chemicals are evil. Of course, such claims ignore the simple fact that all life, the air, and water are made of chemicals.

They want us to believe that man-made chemicals are more dangerous than “natural” chemicals, but that betrays several things about science:

  1. Many “natural” chemicals are dangerous.
  2. Those “natural” chemicals didn’t evolve for the benefit of humans, so they are not inherently better for humans.
  3. Nature isn’t always better.

And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is considered one of the evil “chemicals” that are destroying humanity. But is it? Let’s answer that question.

Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup — debunking the myths with science”

Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees

diet soda

I love my diet soda, specifically one brand, but I kept reading that this was a bad habit that was going to kill me. I should be drinking water for my long-term health, getting rid of that sugar-free brown sparkling water forever.

I thought that I was taking a risk on my overall health by drinking diet soda even though it was better than drinking the full sugar versions of that drink. But recently, I thought to myself, “self, is there any science behind the tropes about diet soda?”

I decided to dig into it, and what I figured out was that the science didn’t support the claims of the diet soda deniers. Not even close.

Now, I could stop here and call it a day, but I know my audience, and you want science supporting or debunking the claims of the anti-diet soda world. So, here I go with some science.

Continue reading “Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees”

Does sugar cause cancer? Another dumb myth to be debunked

close up photo of sugar cubes in glass jar

Well, I thought I had read it all, but I keep seeing the myth that sugar causes cancer. Of course, once I see something like that, I dig into the science, as I do with vaccines. I want to know why it started. I want to know if there’s any evidence supporting this claim. And I want to tell you my findings.

A paper in Nature Communications seemed to encourage the people who are pushing an association between sugar and cancer. Of course, our usual suspects of pseudoscience and false healthcare jumped on board with their clickbait headlines trying to scare everyone about sugar and cancer.

But what are the facts about sugar and cancer? Should you avoid eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates? Well, probably, but not because of cancer.

That’s why we are here. To separate science from pseudoscience, we need to look at this more carefully. What we’re going to see is that you’re not going to get cancer from putting a couple of teaspoons of it in your coffee. And you’re not going to cure cancer by avoiding sugar. Sugar and cancer are much more complicated than that.

Continue reading “Does sugar cause cancer? Another dumb myth to be debunked”

High fructose corn syrup does not cause cancer — real science speaks

high fructose corn syrup cancer

While trolling through the pseudoscience world, I’ve seen claims that there is a link between high fructose corn syrup and cancer, so I thought I’d dig into the science. And you can assume that science doesn’t support these claims.

I’ve written boatloads of articles about cancer, most of which say “this or that doesn’t cause cancer,” and that “there’s only a handful of good ways to prevent it.” To be honest, if I see any news report that makes a claim that something prevents or causes cancer, I’m immediately going into full skeptic mode.

Honestly, I don’t get the issues with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Part of my brain thinks that, as we’ve seen with monosodium glutamate (MSG), people just get scared of a chemical name, rather than making an evidence-based analysis of what we’re really eating.

For example, “high fructose” sounds like there’s too much evil fructose, and it will certainly cause some health problems. It must! Except, as we’ll find out, “high fructose” is a misnomer and there’s no logical or scientific reason that we should consider it dangerous.

I think the loathsome and much-ridiculed David “Avocado” Wolfe produced some of the pseudoscience surrounding HFCS and cancer – apparently converting corn syrup into high fructose corn syrup magically turns it into a cancer-causing poison.

Now, most of you will just ignore what Wolfe says about anything because he lacks any science knowledge in his writing – but maybe I reach a couple of people who saw that article and want more scientific evidence about it. Let’s look into it.

Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup does not cause cancer — real science speaks”

High fructose corn syrup – myths and claims debunked by real science

high fructose corn syrup

People demonize food additives all the time. Just see monosodium glutamate, as just one example. And there’s high fructose corn syrup, a sugar that is blamed for everything from cancer to diabetes to climate change. OK, maybe not climate change.

High fructose corn syrup is just sugar, but because it has a complicated name, it must be bad. It’s part of the “chemophobia,” the fear of anything that sounds like a chemical.

The so-called Food Babe has made a lot of money endorsing a belief that all chemicals are evil. Of course, such claims ignore the simple fact that all life, the air, and water are made of chemicals.

They want us to believe that man-made chemicals are more dangerous than “natural” chemicals, but that betrays several things about science:

  1. Many “natural” chemicals are dangerous.
  2. Those “natural” chemicals didn’t evolve for the benefit of humans, so they are not inherently better for humans.
  3. Nature isn’t always better.

And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is considered one of the evil “chemicals” that are destroying humanity. But is it? Let’s answer that question.

Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup – myths and claims debunked by real science”

Sugar and cancer – examining the science behind the claims

sugar and cancer

As you probably would guess, when I read articles in science, I tend to emphasize research on vaccines, cancer, and a few other related issues. There’s so much information out there, one has to focus or there will  not be enough time to watch college football games on Saturday. For years, one of the more popular questions I have seen is about sugar and cancer – does eating sugar cause or promote cancer?

A recent paper in Nature Communications seemed to encourage the people who are pushing an association between sugar and cancer. Of course, our usual suspects of pseudoscience and false healthcare jumped on board with their clickbait headlines trying to scare everyone about sugar and cancer.

But what are the facts about sugar and cancer. Should you avoid eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates? Well, probably, but not because of cancer.

That’s why we are here. To separate the science from the pseudoscience, we need to look at this more carefully. What we’re going to see is that you’re not going to get cancer from putting a couple of teaspoons of it in your coffee. And you’re not going to cure cancer by avoid sugar. Sugar and cancer is much more complicated than that. Continue reading “Sugar and cancer – examining the science behind the claims”

GMO sugar vs natural sugar – can you tell the difference?

GMO sugar

Chemistry is important. If you’re going to make negative claims about GMO sugar or high fructose corn syrup, we ought to be able to look at these different sugar molecules and confirm a difference between them. So let’s take a look at sugar from three different sources that capture our attention. Sorry, but there will be a quiz afterwards, so please pay attention.

 

A. GMO sugar after consuming it

GMO sugar

 

B. Natural sugar after consuming it

GMO sugar

 

C. High fructose corn syrup GMO sugar after consuming it

GMO sugar

 

The Quiz about all of this chemistry

 

Editor’s note – this was ruthlessly and unapologetically stolen from a meme from Kevin Folta, who spends a lot of time dealing with GMOs. I hope he doesn’t mind.

 

High fructose corn syrup and cancer – are they related?

high fructose corn syrup and cancer

I’ve written boatloads of articles about cancer, most of which say “this or that doesn’t cause cancer,” and that “there’s only a handful of good ways to prevent it.” To be honest, if I see any news report that makes a claim that something prevents or causes cancer, I’m immediately going into full skeptic mode. Recently, I’ve seen a few stories that claim that there is a link between high fructose corn syrup and cancer, so I thought I’d dig into the science

Honestly, I don’t get the issues with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Part of my brain thinks that, as we’ve seen with monosodium glutamate (MSG), people just get scared of a chemical name, rather than making an evidence-based analysis of what we’re really eating. For example, “high fructose” sounds like there’s too much of evil fructose, and it will certainly cause some health problem. It must! Except, the evidence says otherwise.

I think an article by the loathsome and much ridiculed David “Avocado” Wolfe perfectly summarizes some of the pseudoscience surrounding HFCS and cancer – apparently converting corn syrup into high fructose corn syrup magically turns it into a cancer-causing poison. Now most of you will just ignore what Wolfe says about anything because he lacks any science knowledge in his writing – but maybe I reach a couple of people who saw that article and want more scientific evidence about it. Let’s look into it.

Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup and cancer – are they related?”