Washington, DC – Obesity alarmists and anti-soda activists are rallying around fizzy research that takes a great leap to suggest a causal relationship between soda consumption and type 2 diabetes. The newly published study in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) was co-authored by several individuals with close ties to the self-described “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), an activist group leading the nation’s anti-soda crusade today.

Ironically, despite their anti-soda conclusion, the study found that in non-obese women there was no relationship between soda consumption and type 2 diabetes: The data shows that the numbers simply were not statistically significant. In the paper, the authors concede that their observations about type 2 diabetes, even in obese women, may “reflect dietary and lifestyle changes accompanying changes in soft drink consumption” -– rather than soda consumption itself.

“The statistical contortions that these authors went through to demonize soda would make our own gold medal gymnasts proud,” said Center for Consumer Freedom executive director Rick Berman. “It’s not surprising given their history of biased anti-soda activism and their ties to CSPI.”

  • Co-author JoAnn Manson serves on the scientific advisory board of CSPI, which has called for extra taxes on soda.
  • Co-author Walter Willet endorsed a petition from Ralph Nader’s Commercial Alert in support of global restrictions on food advertising. Earlier this year, he played a starring role in one of CSPI’s press conferences.
  • Co-author David Ludwig has complained of an “invasion of our diet by soft drinks” and supports a special consumer tax on soda. Ludwig teamed up with CSPI scientific advisory board member Kelly Brownell to write a ludicrous article comparing obesity to a hypothetical massive SARS outbreak in the U.S. that infects 60 million Americans.
  • Co-author Meir Stampfer has signed several CSPI-initiated letters to federal regulatory agencies.
  • Co-author Graham Colditz also co-authored a seriously flawed study that concluded obesity costs the US economy $117 billion each year. That study admitted to using shaky data and double-counting costs. It also defined obesity incorrectly, improperly including the costs of more than 10 million Americans who were not obese.

“This report is the latest effort to use fizzy research to scare Americans over nothing,” Berman said. “The fact that the authors completely sidestep their own data that shows soda consumption has nothing to do with diabetes in the vast majority of women demonstrates that there is a biased agenda at work here by dietary Puritans.”