February 15 2012
It’s hard to keep track of all the obesity-related studies that come out these days and it’s even harder to keep track of the truly bone-headed studies that come out.
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman recently mentioned the latter type of study in his weekly column. Listing the week’s must read articles, Bittman casually mentioned a recent study that claims consumers of diet soda are at higher risk of stroke and heart attacks than those who do not consume diet drinks. Commenting on this supposed link, Bittman admitted that the researchers “don’t know why.”
He’s right. The researchers were unable to find the causal relationship between diet sodas and heart disease. But that doesn’t stop researchers, the medical community (paging Dr. Oz), media, and food activists from painting soda as a dangerous product worthy of crushing government regulations.
The fact that this causal relationship does not exist simply never occurs to people like Bittman (or the researchers). They’re satisfied with the mystery surrounding the diet soda/heart disease linkage. So, how about I take a stab at it?
Another study came out last year that found obese people by-in-large consume diet sodas. Could it be that the consumers of diet sodas are already overweight—which consequently puts them at higher risk for these health conditions?
Oh…where’s the regulatory fun in that sensible explanation!