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.