The Soda Scandal

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Go ahead, drink your sugar laden beverages and slam another 32 oz big gulp. However, you should be warned that recent studies have provided compelling evidence that consuming moderates amounts of soda doubles the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The results follow a prospective analysis of more than 91,000 women followed for 8 years and provides one of the “most striking” links between soft drinks and health outcomes, the investigators note in the American Journal of Public Health.
Now, we’ve recent read about a link between the consumption of diet soda and obesity. Yet, investigators associated with the current study concluded that when diet soda replaced regular soda in the analysis, there was no increased risk, “suggesting that the risk was specific to sugar-sweetened soft drinks.” The latter conclusion, in my opinion, is more believable.
The most scandalous result, however, is not that soda is bad for you (I think we all knew this already), but rather that industry funded research may be tainted:

Furthermore, there was a “remarkable difference” in results from industry-funded and non-industry-funded studies on soft drink consumption and health outcomes, Brownell said, “with the industry-funded studies much more likely to find the results favorable to industry.”
“The bigger issue here, in this arena in particular but in science in general,” Brownell said, “is how you can get a distorted view of reality if industry-funded studies are considered in the mix — and usually they are — especially, when industry uses these studies in advertising, lobbying, and in talking to the press.”
[note: Dr. Kelly Brownell is director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut]

In my opinion, soda is a lot like desert – sweet tasting empty calories. And, a super sized mega big gulp is like eating an entire cake or a dozen cookies except the delivery of carbohydrates is far more efficient and the impact on blood sugar more profound.