Friday, February 16, 2007

Sensationalizing the News: Diet Soft Drinks

Somewhere in my Reader feeds, I discovered "Diet Soft Drinks Makes You Fatter". Following that to NBC, there was a slightly more balanced view, and following it further to the Health Science centre that issued the study, there was an even more balanced view on the subject.

There are any number of reasons for these results, and it's fairly clear that based on the information we have now, we have no idea what those reasons are. Imposing an unproven causal relationship on this correlation sensationalizes whatever value there was in the original data.

So, for instance, if people who are already gaining weight switch to diet soda, this is one relationship that would explain the correlation. Don't get me wrong; it's possible that there are things we don't know about the body, mind and its reaction to the chemicals we stuff into soda (or 'pop', if you're Canadian), but the study doesn't pretend to know the reason behind the correlation.

No comments: