Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda

I’ve been a bit gun shy of science stories of late (mostly because they depress the hell out of me), but this one is worth a moment of time. From The New York Times:

Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.

The scientists gathered dietary information on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years.

(snip)

…the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.

Note that this link between diet soda is stated as a correlation, and not a cause. The distinction between the two important.

If it were stated that “diet soda causes Metabolic Syndrome”, well, that’s fairly clear. Drinking diet soda will increase your chance of getting Metabolic Syndrome.

But stating that there is a correlation between diet soda and Metabolic Syndrome means something else, roughly “while people who drink diet soda have a 34 percent better chance of having Metabolic Syndrom versus those who drink no diet soda, we cannot state that this is due to diet soda itself, or that drinkers of diet soda are simply more likely to engage in more improper and higher risk behaviors”. In other words, there’s more studies to be done before anyone can state conclusively that diet soda is an issue.

(h/t to Jack over at Fork & Bottle)