Correlation Still Doesn't Equal Causation in Soda Studies

Flyby Blog

We've all heard about the supposed health risks of drinking soda—there's too much sugar, it's bad for you, it'll rot your teeth, it'll rot your mind, etc. With so many studies and reports being published, it's hard to tell what to believe. Recently, a Harvard teaching facility has admitted to promoting inconclusive data while another Harvard study links soda consumption to increased aggression. 

Earlier this week the Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Harvard teaching facility, released a report about an artificial sweetener called aspartame, which is present in most diet sodas. The report links aspartame to increased risks of leukemia, lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but just before the report was released, the researchers were asked some tough questions, questions that lead to an awkward admission of weak data and an apology.

In other soda related news, a Harvard study of Boston public high school students has shown that students who identified as heavy soda drinkers were more likely to engage in violent behavior. The researchers controlled for other factors, such as alcohol, weight, and tobacco use, and found some surprising answers. The heavy drinkers were more likely to act violently towards peers, towards another child in their family, and towards their partner in a dating relationship. They were also more likely to have carried a gun or knife.

Neither study decisively proves the harmful effects of soda, so until more intensive studies are preformed, it looks like you're safe to enjoy a glass of your favorite soda without worrying too much about the possibility of either cancer risks or increased violence.

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