A new study claims that people seeking to lose weight have a better chance in accomplishing their goals by consuming diet soda over water. If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it probably is. The study, while offering an interesting conclusion, was funded by both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
According to RT, the study was headed up by Peter Rogers. Rogers is a professor at Bristol University and published his findings in the International Journal of Obesity. Although Rogers’ research concluded that diet soda is a better weight loss aide than water, some interesting information regarding his findings have surfaced.
For starters, the International Life Sciences Institute funded the study. For those that are unaware, the ILSI lists both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo as two of their members. Even worse, the two soda companies work together on the Eating Behavior and Energy Task Force, which also has Rogers as one its leaders.
Furthermore, a few of the researchers on the study were paid for contributions. While this may not seem out of the ordinary, the Energy Task Force is the entity that provided the funding, which brings conflict of interest into the equation.
Meanwhile, the Independent is reporting that the study based its findings on a small sampling of papers. In fact, out of the 5,500 papers that were taken under consideration, the researches only chose three to use in their study. Two of the papers that were used found no difference between diet soda and water, while the other paper concluded that diet drinks were better for losing weight than water.
In speaking about the new study, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and National Obesity Forum advisor, explained how the results of the study were ill founded.
“To suggest that diet drinks are more healthy that drinking water is laughable unscientific nonsense… If you want good science you cannot allow corporate sponsorship of research.”
However, despite the corporate sponsorship and doubts surrounding the study, the University of Bristol remains firm in its support of Rogers.
“This research was published in the International Journal of Obesity, a peer-reviewed journal, which means the data and conclusions have been scrutinized by other scientists,” one spokesperson from the school stated. “We therefore stand by the findings. It was funded by a range of bodies including the NHS and European Union, as well as ILSI Europe.”
That being said, Tech Times is reporting that the University of Bristol chose not to disclose the funding source of the new study until after the news broke. In an attempt to explain their actions, the university stated that it did not include that critical piece of information because of “reasons of space.”
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that companies have tried to buy their way into the research market. Back in 2015, Coca-Cola granted the University of Colorado School of Medicine $1 million in order to create the Global Energy Balance Network. The GEBN was meant to promote the connection between weight gain and lack of exercise over eating habits in an effort to divert attention from fast food companies.
Following media coverage and pubic outcry, the University of Colorado gave back the money to Coca-Cola and cut its ties with the group.
As far as the latest study is concerned, it still isn’t clear what will become of Professor Rogers and his research. While the University of Bristol continues to stick by Rogers’ side, the added media attention and funding revelations should go far in disproving the idea that diet soda is somehow better than water in weight loss.
Tell us! What do you think of the findings of this Coca-Cola and Pepsi funded study? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Coca-Cola Global]