Is Soda Bad For You?

Tumbler_of_cola_with_iceThis is a reader-recommended topic. In the comments to my post “Please Don’t Tell My Daughter There Are ‘Chemicals’ In Her Soda,” ‘Kristin’ said:

Sodas ARE bad for you. It’s a fact, and believe it or not I’m not trying to scare you. If you feel other wise of course you have a right to your own opinion. It seems you feel offended because the soda you enjoyed as a child (yes, it would naturally bring up nostalgic feelings) is being called ‘bad’. Maybe you should do some research and write from the realm of knowledge rather than from a state of defensiveness.

Assumptions about my lack of research aside, I think ‘Kristin’ has offered up a splendid idea! Are sodas bad for you, blanket-statement-full-stop? Let’s find out.

In the past couple weeks I have done more research, and I have quickly discovered something. In order to answer the question “Are sodas bad for you?” it turns out we need to ask two other questions: What’s in the soda? and How much soda is being consumed? 

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The Anti-Vaccine Playbook: Freedom of Speech

Writer’s Note: I wanted to write my own collection of nonsense spewed by pseudoscience peddlers. I will be starting with vaccines, but I may expand it into other topics as well at some point. I want to provide short examples of the arguments made by those who don’t understand science, and I will compile the links into a separate post after I get a few done, and then continue to add links to that post as I add more. I hope it is helpful!

Freedom of Speech graffiti (via Creative Commons License)

Freedom of Speech graffiti (via Creative Commons License)

The loudest voices, no matter how few, are often the ones that get heard the most. In the world of vaccines, celebrities who blame vaccines for all sorts of conditions are given an disproportionately large platform from which to speak about their denial of science. Social media also gives a large presence, with people like the Food Babe, Natural News, Mercola, and others watching their message of fear spread like wildfire. Occasionally, the science side does speak up, like in the case of the insurance company State Farm dropping ads featuring anti-vaccine actor Rob Schneider.

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Sweet Poison, Breastfeeding, Banned Foods, and Zombies

While I’ve spent way too much time this week responding to blog comments here on Skeptoid, I watched so many pieces of bad science flow through my social media feeds this week that it makes me weep knowing how poorly people understand the process of science. I don’t even have time to read my whole feed every day, so I wonder how many more I missed. So let me just summarize the few zombie junk science that I saw repeated this week – including the woo links so they can be appropriately flagged for Skeptic Action. Continue reading

MercolaWatch: The Sweet Misery documentary

I have intentionally been trying to avoid posting about aspartame, but Joe Mercola recently posted a reference to the relatively old Sweet Misery anti-aspartame documentary which I have already seen more times that I would like and responded to. This documentary features interviews with the main players in the anti-aspartame movement, who make statements that simply are not supported by the evidence. On my other blog, I have a 2-part “fact check” (Part 1, Part 2)of the documentary.
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MercolaWatch:Desperate Times for Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Denialism

Barbara Loe Fisher guest stars in the article I will be looking at this week. The anti-vaccine folks have cleverly started to use the term “denial” in their rhetoric as the Mercola article is entitled “Desperate Times for Vaccine Risk Denialism“. They don’t however seem to know what the term means as the scientific community readily acknowledges that there are risks to vaccines. Families have been given money by the “vaccine court” when there is reasonable evidence of having been harmed due to vaccines. These are no secrets and it’s not clear who exactly it is that Fisher believes is “denying” the risks of vaccines. There is just the minor detail that the risks are far outweighed by the benefits for most children.

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