High-fructose corn syrup, which is now found in everything from soda to crackers to salad dressing, has been noted by many experts as a possible culprit in the obesity epidemic.
Obesity rates since 1980, for instance, have risen at a rate similar to that of high-fructose corn syrup, and nutritionists often advise avoiding it.
However, now some scientists are saying that there is no evidence linking high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, and theories that have emerged are based on misperceptions or coincidence.
The corn syrup, some experts say, is no worse than refined white sugar, and even the two scientists who first opened the debate that the sweetener may be linked to obesity have backed off, saying their paper was just a "suggestion" for further study.
The two scientists also neglected to raise the issue of high-fructose corn syrup at a panel developed to provide guidelines to consumers about nutritional risks and benefits of beverages.
They felt singling out high-fructose corn syrup would be a distraction, when they wanted to focus on limiting beverages with sweeteners in general.