The Madeleine Brand Show |

Agave Nectar is Sweetly Deceptive

High fructose corn syrup is practically a dirty word in some circles. It's so bad that the Corn Refiners Association has created commercials to combat the sweetener's image problem.

The CRA is also petitioning the FDA to change the name from "high fructose corn syrup" to simply "corn sugar."

We called up NYU's resident food scientist Marion Nestle to get the sweet and low down on corn syrup and what she said surprised us. Apparently, the reason it's so reviled has to do with its fructose content:

"Fructose has more problems associated with it than any of the other sugars," she explained. And what is the sweetener with the most fructose? Agave nectar! "It has more fructose than either high fructose corn syrup or table sugar... I think it should be used in small quantities."

This, despite the fact that agave often gets billed as a healthy alternative. As Marion pointed out to us, understanding the good and the bad of sugars is tricky... it takes a biochemist to sort it all out.

"Fortunately," she replied, "I am one!"