Diet Coke Possibly Better Than Water, Says Coke-Funded Study
Diet Coke is better than water for weight loss, according to a study bankrolled by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
A scientific study that claimed diet sodas could help consumers lose weight was funded by an industry body that includes beverage giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, according to revelations Sunday.
The study was funded by International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), according to an investigation by The Sunday Times. ILSI's members include both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
According to the newspaper, the study was also funded by the Eating Behaviour and Energy Balance Task Force, an organization that claims to promote awareness of healthy eating habits. The task force includes representatives of both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Some researchers involved in the new study received on average roughly US$1,000 each from the organization, according to The Sunday Times.
The task force's chair, Professor Peter Rogers was also the lead author of the study itself.
The study was first published in late 2015, and surprised some researchers with its claim that diet sodas could help people lose weight more than water.
According to a press release from the University of Bristol dating back to the time of the study's initial release, “This comes from intervention studies showing that people tended to lose more weight when they consumed low-energy sweetened (‘diet’) drinks rather than water.”
At the time, Rogers said, “We believe that we should shift the question from whether (low energy sweeteners) are ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ and rather focus on how they should be best used in practice to help in the achievement of specific public health goals, such as the reduction of intakes of free sugars and energy.”
Low energy sweeteners refer to both artificial and natural sweeteners like saccharin and stevia, including sweeteners often used in diet sodas.
The press release didn't mention the links to soda producers.
Since The Sunday Times report, the university has issued a statement affirming it would “stand by the findings” of the research.
“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,” it said.
Cardiologist and adviser to the U.K.'s National Obesity Forum Dr Aseem Malhotra told the Independent newspaper the results of the original study didn't appear credible.
“To suggest that diet drinks are more healthy than drinking water is laughable, unscientific nonsense,” Malhotra said.
“If you want good science you cannot allow corporate sponsorship of research,” Malhotra added.