business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “as nutrient-fortified sodas, juice, teas and flavored water proliferate on store shelves, questions remain about whether these beverages really provide health benefits.”

According to the story, “some nutritionists say these enhanced drinks may lead consumers to pack in more calories than they need. Popular drinks such as SoBe Life Water and Vitaminwater often contain about 125 calories per bottle. That's less than sugared sodas, but certainly more than plain water … Many health experts say there is little evidence to suggest that fortified beverages make a significant difference in health. And they question whether the drinks are worth their hefty retail prices, which can run twice as high as those of plain bottled water or unenhanced sodas.”

Meanwhile, the Journal has another story this morning about a new study “that links consumption of soft drinks -- both the sugared and diet variety -- with a higher risk for a range of obesity-related health problems. High consumption of regular soda, which contains about 150 calories a can, has previously been linked with obesity and diabetes in kids and teens, as well as high blood pressure in adults. But the finding that diet-soda drinkers faced similar health risks is unexpected, because the zero-calorie drinks are often touted as a way to help people prevent weight gain and related health problems.”

The research, which was done by the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, “may simply signal that the diet-soda drinkers in the study were less healthy to start with, and they had turned to sugar-free beverages to help with weight loss or because they had diabetes.”

The American Beverage Association released a statement saying that it is "scientifically implausible" to suggest diet drinks could cause weight gain or elevated blood pressure.
KC's View:
On the other hand, to paraphrase Jean-Luc Picard, everything is implausible…until it is not.