That video uses the same sleight of hand that other media outlets used about a different study, below. My headline: Diet soda doesn’t work, fat people hardest hit!
NPR headline: Diet Soda: Fewer Calories In The Glass May Mean More On The Plate.
CBS headline: Diet soda drinkers end up consuming more calories: Study.
Terrible. Damn you, Big Soda.
Because the Matrix has you, it created another disingenuous public health study precisely for the misinterpretation of the mainstream media. Aside from those other scary stories about how diet soda in general is the same as embalming fluid (So I’ll look this young forever? Awesome!), you’d think the copy editor would catch this type of dogshit reporting before you step in it.
Here’s the template: drink your Coke Zero only if you want to get fatter.
Stories and studies like this make me insane. Like a Buzzfeed health-food listicle, these types of articles are made so you can scroll through a slideshow of fat people, i.e., it’s for you to feel better about yourself because you aren’t as fat as they are. Go ahead and get back to those snack crackers, at least you aren’t eating Doritos!
That’s the problem with relative comparisons—they hide the absolute starting point from you and make it hard to think critically. What is necessary and sufficient for increased and sustained weight gain? Deep into the NPR story they at least tell you the trendy angle about how diet soda (damn you, Big Soda) confuses your poor brain and makes it think it got a rush of sugar energy when really all your body got was nothing. Thus your brain thinks you need to eat more.
I love Coke Zero and I’ve never felt anything like that. But the absolutely necessary and sufficient next step is, you know… actually eating more. Since NPR and CBS want to click-bait you with dogshit and not science, they leave that part out of the first few paragraphs. Wait just a second, let’s at least look at the original study:
Overweight and obese adults drink more diet beverages than healthy-weight adults and consume significantly more solid-food calories and a comparable total calories than overweight and obese adults who drink [sugar-sweetened beverages].
I might be confused, but it sure sounds like they said fat people eat more calories than healthy people, and diet soda might help maintain the status quo. The whole point of diet soda for a fat person is keep things the way they are (i.e., fat). The poor obese guy reading NPR and CBS about diet soda isn’t going to spring up and make deep life changes, he’s just going to get frustrated about how his imagined self improvement isn’t working. Diet soda doesn’t have anything to do with it changing his health for better or worse because he’s already obese. It’s neither necessary nor sufficient. Eating more is.
C’mon now, this is the same thing as saying Wal*Mart scooter users have a high correlation to diabetes and unhealthy weight gain. Do they really, now? Maybe we should dump some heavy regulations on Big Scooter for all the harm they are doing.
Seriously, which came first, the fatness or the diet soda? Thankfully, NPR and CBS eventually admit deep into each story that diet soda is not making anyone fat—it’s the calorie consumption. That makes for a really boring and straight-forward headline, though: Diet soda does not really affect anything. Sigh. Click-baited again.