Sugar is toxic in all forms, whether it be high fructose corn syrup or real sugar. Unfortunately, the average person consumes 300% more than recommended.
Marketing aside, the HFCS and real sugar are similar in sparking negative biological effects. “High-fructose corn syrup, sugar — no difference,” is how Lustig put it in a lecture that I attended in San Francisco last December. “The point is they’re each bad.” Whether it’s true or not that HFCS is equally harmful as sugar, the final takeaway is that sugar as a whole is causing countless problems. It’s important to note, though, that while both sweeteners are tied to negative health effects, high fructose corn syrup has also been shown to contain mercury while damaging learning abilities. In the end, the advice is to lessen sugar consumption as a whole.
Fruits have fructose, but the fiber in the fruit lessens its release into the circulation through the gut. All processed sugars can he harmful in excess quantities. In the liquid form, they can raise insulin levels and fat accumulation. So in part, Taubes is correct—all processed sugars have the potential to be harmful.