Acolytes of "Food Rules" guru Michael Pollan and other well-meaning foodies who've made corn a scapegoat for the nation's health crises have welcomed a new study from Princeton University that suggests high-fructose corn syrup causes more significant weight gain than table sugar.
But the findings have been criticized by food science experts and industry veterans, who say the study unfairly demonizes corn syrup and implicitly absolves cane sugar of responsibility for making Americans fat. "The debate about which one is better for you is a false debate, because neither of them is good for you," says Elizabeth Abbott, author of the forthcoming "Sugar: A Bittersweet History."
Researcher Miriam Bocarsly counters that the study wasn't designed to demonstrate "what sugar does for the body." Instead, her team set out to uncover what happens when rats subsist on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup for six months. They reported that rats fed water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup developed more belly fat and had an increased level of circulating triglycerides, fat's chemical form in the body.