Back to Make-Believe with Dr. Oz

We told you a few months back about how TV host and author Dr. Mehmet Oz was offering his readers the silly advice to purge their pantries of, among other things, foods containing high fructose corn syrup. In doing so, the pop doc was pulling a bit of nutritional wizardry by confusing pure fructose with high fructose corn syrup. The latter is only about 55 percent fructose—roughly the same as table sugar. Apparently, ignorance is bliss in the Land of Oz. On Monday, Dr. Oz appeared on CNN’s Joy Behar Show to once again spin confusion about corn sugar:

OZ: Yes, I know it’s terrible. It’s terrible but it’s true. And of course the other big thing is high fructose corn syrup.
BEHAR: A lot of things have it.
OZ: Yes because it’s cheap sugar but it’s poisonous to the liver.

Dr. Oz refers to high fructose corn syrup as “poisonous” without offering any evidence. (Hint: There isn’t any.) And if he wants to be taken seriously, he might use an actual medical dictionary to pick his words, instead of relying on hyperbole.
Alas, despite Dr. Oz’s tornado of scaremongering, people are not dying every time they have a soft drink or eat baked goods. That’s because high fructose corn syrup is perfectly safe and nutritionally no different from table (cane or beet) sugar. Sugar is sugar, and it’s fine in moderation.
Oh, yes—so what’s the Man Behind the Curtain’s solution to this supposedly sugary apocalypse? Oz recommends that viewers use agave nectar (which he spells out as “aguave”) to sweeten their drinks. Ironically, agave nectar contains much more fructose than “high fructose” syrup and table sugar—as much as 92 percent.
If Dr. Oz is concerned about these studies showing the negative effects of pure fructose, why would he recommend that viewers reject lower fructose sweeteners and start using sugars that are high in fructose? It doesn’t make much sense. Of course, he is a TV personality. He’s got to drive ratings somehow. Whipping up a panic is a simple way to do it. Everybody’s looking for the easy-to-remember food rule—just ask Michael Pollan. But being easy to recall doesn’t make “advice” worthwhile.
Once again, Mehmet Oz continues to ignore scientific reality. If he only had a brain…

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