Splashed over headlines and sound bites today will be articles and reports telling you that a new study suggests that if you drink any soft drinks, even diet ones, that your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity rises dramatically.
Scary stuff, maybe you should immediately pitch your diet coke stash.
Don't throw out it out yet.
So this study, published yesterday in Circulation, looked at over 6,000 folks and their soft drink consumption with the authors reporting that they controlled for age, sex, physical activity index, smoking, saturated fat consumption, trans fat consumption, fiber, magnesium, total calories and glycemic index in asking whether or not consuming soft drinks (diet or otherwise) raised the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (the constellation of symptoms listed above).
The authors concluded,
"In middle-aged adults, soft drink consumption is associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of multiple metabolic risk factors"and they found this to be true regardless of whether the soft drinks were of the regular or diet variety.
Problem is, there are too many inconsistencies and omissions in this study for it to have any value. Let's go through some of them:
So to sum up, the study's calorie models are flawed at best, the authors didn't control for known confounding variables that have in fact been proven to be contributors to metabolic syndrome and they admit that they can't think of any similarities between diet soft drinks and regular soft drinks that would explain their results.
The ABA (the American Beverage Association) came out with a statement of their own and amazingly, I agree with their conclusions more than this study's.
The ABA states,
"This study doesn't prove any link between soft drinks and increased risk of heart disease. Its assertions defy the existing body of scientific evidence as well as common sense. Even the researchers acknowledge that their study can't support a link."I couldn't (and didn't) say it better myself.
You may now enjoy your Diet Cokes.