Diabetes and soda consumption? With a straight face?

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beverageAccording to a study published in Diabetologia, one can of soda can significantly raise your risk of developing diabetes. Good headline, maybe, but some of the worst garbage science we ve seen. Because, by the second paragraph of the study summary in today’s MedPage Today, it becomes patently obvious that this is so-called study is not only without any merit, but is also intentionally misleading.

According to Dora Romaguera-Bosch, PhD, MSc, of Imperial College London in England, and colleagues at the InterAct consortium, drinking one additional 12 ounce portion of a sugar-sweetened beverages daily was associated with a 22 percent increased risk for diabetes.

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom says, They should have stopped right there, because everything that follows is so flawed that I can t believe no one died of embarrassment.

In particular, people who drank and an extra can of artificially-sweetened beverage had a 52 percent higher risk. Huh? How can this be?

The answer can found in the design (or lack thereof) of the study.

Dr. Bloom continues, The authors conveniently downplayed the fact that the association between sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes risk was only seen after they adjusted for body mass index and energy intake. In other words, only people who are already overweight, and thus at high risk for type 2 diabetes were affected. Those who were not experienced no such effect. He continues, This huge confounder can easily explain the preposterous claim that diet drinks were even worse. People who consume one extra can of a diet drink per day cannot possibly have their risk of diabetes elevated by more than half. But people who are already obese (and drink more diet soda) already have this increased risk, so whether they drink a can of diet soda or kerosene is irrelevant. Talk about getting cause and effect mixed up.

In fact, they admit this. Artificially-sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with diabetes risk prior to adjustment for BMI, but this association lost significance after adjustment.

And it gets worse there was no association between diabetes and consumption of juices and nectars, many of which contain more sugar than soda. And this effect also went away when adjustments for BMI were made.

There is no question that people will see the headline and this nonsense will be implanted in their minds something that it would seem was the original goal of the study.

If I had to summarize the essence of this study, concludes Dr. Bloom, It would be: Drinking a can of soda either increases, decreases or has no effect whatsoever on one s risk of getting diabetes, winning the lotto, or growing antlers. These guys should be ashamed of themselves.”

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