“Americans don’t need fuzzy thinking generated by fizzy science.” So ends a Center for Consumer Freedom letter published in today’s Boston Globe, responding to a recent op-ed penned by an uncorked columnist. Derrick Z. Jackson had attacked those who would dare question the supposedly ironclad link between soda and obesity. But as we told Globe readers today, “it’s time to put the cap back on this bottle of obesity myths.”
Among his many questionable comments, Jackson assumes that “every accurate scientific study in sight” supports a link between soda and obesity. The only problem: there is no good science proving soda causes obesity, lack of bone density, or even the sniffles. But Jackson is mostly interested in levying hyperbolic attacks. In August 2003, he flew over the cuckoo’s nest when he claimed: “The death toll from soda, chips, candy, and burger bombs would be considered a war crime if committed by Saddam Hussein.” That’s a pretty outrageous statement, even for a soda jerk.
Following is our letter to the Globe, with helpful links for more information.
It’s somewhat amusing that just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to admit that it had significantly overstated the number of obesity-related deaths in America, Derrick Z. Jackson’s column claims “there is little debate left” over the health risks of fat (“The fairy tale about soft drink nutrition won’t sell,” op ed, Dec. 1).
In fact, there’s a raging debate on this question, with leading experts presenting study after study demonstrating that your fitness level is much more important than plain old body weight. Yet even as Jackson attacks skeptics for questioning the flawed science fueling anti-soda obesity scares, he demonstrates a troubling lack of interest in the evidence he cites.
Jackson ignores key studies from the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy and the University of North Carolina, which conclude that soda doesn’t cause obesity. At the same time, he cites as an “accurate study,” a widely publicized report that attempted to link increased soda consumption with Type 2 diabetes. But the study’s own data shows soda consumption has nothing to do with diabetes in nonobese women. And even in obese women, the authors concede that their observations “may reflect dietary and lifestyle changes accompanying changes in soft drink consumption — rather than soda consumption itself.”
Americans don’t need fuzzy thinking generated by fizzy science. It’s time to put the cap back on this bottle of obesity myths.