Welp, another day, another scary story about delicious and enjoyable things.
Last month, it was sugar. Last week, bacon. Today, Diet Coke.
Drudge links to one story but there are many others. The headlines generated by this study are standard alarmism: "DIET COKE KILLS! AHHHHH!"
But does it? Does it really? Because if so, why am I not dead? I live on Diet Coke.
The truth is, this study found no such thing. It in no way connected Diet Coke consumption to heart disease. Instead, the study showed a "correlation" between consumption of Diet Coke and heart disease. In other words, those who drank at least two Diet Cokes a day had a higher chance of developing heart problems. But what the headlines and many of the stories leave out is that people who drink diet beverages tend to be overweight and obese and also fail to engage in regular exercise. So…hmmm….being overweight, being obese, failing to exercise…might those factors have something to do with that person developing heart disease? I'm just spit-balling here but it seems to me that being fat and sedentary is a good way to give yourself heart disease.
But isn't it fun to blame soda? Isn't it just so great to see your "research" plastered all over the pages of major newspapers. Isn't it fun to jump on the bandwagon and boo hoo about scary soda? Being a member of the anti-soda crowd is sure to help you when you apply for your next grant, right?
Ostensibly, these researchers care about people and so they view their work as vital to humans becoming more healthy. Yet, crappy studies like this do just the opposite. Millions of Americans struggle every single day to lose weight and for many, treating themselves to a diet cola really helps steer them away from higher calorie beverages. Unfortunately now, many people will see these headlines, worry that drinking a diet soda is going to kill htem, and forgo diet colas and perhaps other sugar-free foods and beverages. Dieting will be harder. There won't be available options for them and as a result, they'll be more likely to fail on their diets and perhaps gain even more weight back.
Perhaps an enterprising young scientist will do a study on the effects of crappy, alarmist studies on dieters’ peace of mind. Perhaps they'll find that crappy studies cause obesity, which then cause heart disease.