Isn't April Fools' Over? Scientists Study Whether Soda Is Healthier than Water

By Rachel Cernansky | April 6, 2009 4:53 pm

soda.jpgIt’s only Monday, and there’s already a toss-up for worst science article of the week. Scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health seem not to have realized that when it comes to weight gain, we’ve got one thing figured out: The fewer calories you consume, the less weight you put on. So they spent time and resources on a study to reach the following conclusion: Drinking water is less likely to cause obesity in kids than drinking sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and juice.

Weirder yet, the researchers don’t even sound assertive, as if their hypothesis needs further testing—not drinking sugary beverages, they say, “can reduce” excess calorie consumption. Well, yes, it can—and it does.

But while there’s validity, however obvious, to the Columbia  study, the U.K.’s Bath Spa University has just published its own, er, breed of ludicrous research: a study concluding that pet owners look like their dogs.

Their methodology: asking non-dog-owners to match photos of people with one of three dog breeds. The test subjects were right more than half the time, while statistically speaking, only a third of the answers should have been correct. The researchers therefore concluded that “certain breeds of dogs are associated with particular kinds of people.” The similarities, of course,  are only “skin deep,” since personality traits were not found to match up as well. A groundbreaking study, really.

So what happened to the excitement of a return to real science, now that Bush is out of office? Where have all the good studies gone?

Image: Flickr / Orin Optiglot

MORE ABOUT: nutrition, obesity, pets, water
  • Socr8s

    It’s studies like these the give Bobby Jindhal an excuse for their attitudes on scientific research.

  • Chris TMC

    The link states that they were not researching whether sugared cola causes more weight gain than water, they were looking at racial/ethnic disparities in obesity.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/ Uncle Al

    Management is about process not product. Grant funding seeks a business plan with zero risk and a PERT chart. You are looking at Officially good studies. Racial/ethnic disparities in obesity consitute a basis for discrimination. Sugar-containing drinks must be universally banned by jackbooted State compassion, same as primary school classes for the Gifted.

    Is the vacuum isotropic? Is the Equivalence Principle true? Physics deeply postulates both. Both are untested for mass distribution geometry. If left and right shoes vacuum free fall non-identically all of physics is incomplete for a footnote, yet no prior observation (all with socks) is contradicted. Eötvös experiment apparatus is in constant use to no discovery as you read this, going back to Dicke in 1964 and Eötvös in 1888. Nature supplies self-similar macroscopic left- and right-handed atomic mass distributions: any substance crystallizing in enantiomorphic space groups P3(1)21 and P3(2)21 – quartz, or berlinite and analogues, or cinnabar, or tellurium, or selenium… Do solid spherical single crystals of left-handed and right-handed quartz violate the Equivalence Principle through a revealed massed sector anisotropic chiral vacuum background? Does a parity Eötvös experiment null? (Does post-Big Bang matter-antimatter discrimination have a testable origin?)

    That is a good study in existing apparatus, using commercial materials, conducted through validated protocols. But it has no precedent! But it might fail (unlike 420+ years of prior EP testing Officially sanctioned as risk-free for having a guaranteed outcome – failure).

  • MRW

    Shoddy post that misrepresents the research.

    The first study’s conclusion (correct link: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/163/4/336) was *not* that consuming fewer calories leads to less weight gain, as you blithely and inaccurately put it. It’s a reasonable hypothesis that in an otherwise controlled diet, children will eat more calories from other sources when one source of calories (e.g., soda) is eliminated. This is the main hypothesis they were testing. In the case of replacing soda with water, they found that the children’s diets didn’t change to make up the lost calories.

    They also studied the effects of replacing soda with beverages other than water. Replacing soda with juice was found to have no effect, and replacing soda with milk was found to *increase* total calorie intake.

    The second paper, well, it’s hard to judge what the true significance of the study was from a press release.

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