Everything is bad for you… but this takes the cake


It’s been a strange week. That’s true for many reasons, but for now we’ll focus on something I posted recently, which was that a recent study showed that regularly drinking diet soda can significantly increase your chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

Now, of course, that announcement has quickly been met by all sorts of side stories, opposing viewpoints, and a fair amount of attention. And honestly… in the article I’ve linked to they even said not to jump to any conclusions. More time and research is needed to say that as any sort of definitive and accurate result.

If you’ve been coming to the Backpack for a while, you know how I can be at times. When studies say drink more water… drink more water… it’s great, no calories, you’re body needs it… drink more water… only to a year or so later decide that people are overhydrating… well, I laugh.

When tests show that drinking water… even bottled water… may have been touched by waste and runoff so that it’s filled with drugs… well, I roll my eyes.

In many cases my reaction is based on wondering what the heck the people are thinking with their research and announcements. Perhaps the results just seem so blazingly obvious… perhaps the work seems like such a waste of time… the end result is a simple question... why… why… why?

People that have a steady, even approach to things tend to appeal to me. I’m not an extremist. For example, it’s not that I don’t believe in global warming… it’s just that so much of the evidence is presented in ways that say there were times when the planet was warmer. And those findings often include a disclaimer that says it may have been warmer just a few thousand years ago. What those findings don’t say is what kind of cars the people were driving back then or what rates their electric companies were charging them for their fossil-fuel-driven-atmosphere-polluting service.

It just seems so much simpler and more acceptable to me that all of us look for a middle ground where there are elements of the issue that we can all agree about. In the case of the environment, we could easily say that we treat the planet horrendously, need to examine ways of recycling and participate in such programs, and overall just need to be more aware of how we act and what we do. Not many people can argue with that rationally… and no polar bears needed to be branded or trademarked or brought into the discussion.

Should we stop littering and use our resources better? Yes. (End of discussion… let’s get to work.)

Why do I mention all of this and recent news? Well… here we go…

A study from Cornell says that working mothers could be one of the causes of overweight kids.

(Hold on. It gets better.)

Another study says that exposing infants to solid foods earlier may be linked to weight problems.

Ok… let’s approach this from a different path…

Do you really need me… or your doctor… or some Ivy League study… to tell you that a diet consisting only of cookies, chocolate pudding and grape soda isn’t healthy?

Would you be stunned if I suggested to you that by getting some exercise and eating sensibly, you’ll feel a bit better?

(Hey… my biggest problem came about ten years ago when I went from a job that involved a fair amount of moving around to significant time behind a desk. Eat right and exercise may not be perfect or complete as a health plan, but as opposed to eating nothing but marshmallows I think it works.)

Ok… back to our recent studies…

Working mothers? Ok. How many families can survive long term with only one parent working? Did the study take into account single-parent homes? What if a grandparent lived in the home and was their for childcare and supervision?

The article I’ve included says that a father’s occupation, divorce, and other potential factors couldn’t be accounted for. Not kidding. They couldn’t make conclusions for many potential factors that could be involved. Heck, apparently they couldn’t even account for whether or not the parents worked at the same time, had overlapping schedules, or had at least one of them available to be home at all time.

And so I ask you… given that studies are making claims that they can’t provide answers about, and have results they can’t confirm… are we really that far away from seeing a study that says a household with a man and a woman, with only the man working, two-point-three kids, a dog and a fence is the healthiest way to grow up?

(Don’t laugh. I’ll bet I could find something that says pretty much exactly that.)

There are questions to be asked of any results. For example… who funded the study? It’s often amazing when you see a claim and learn that the answers fall right in line, step for step, with the individual or company that gave the dollars to conduct the research.

Could a group advocating stay at home moms or breastfeeding be behind these studies I’m noting?

Don’t know… but it’s certainly possible.

And even if there isn’t something sneaky taking place… for me, once again, it becomes a question of responsibility. If I slump into the chair with a glass of milk and a slice of cake instead of taking a walk and eating an apple, I can’t blame anyone but myself when I gain a couple of pounds.

Did you notice that those overweight babies eating solid foods were tracked for a whopping total of three years? Yup. According to the article, that’s true. So, in other words, they are claiming that babies place on solid foods before they are four months of age are more likely to be overweight on their third birthday. Not when the reach school age… not as teenagers… not overweight for life. I mean really… go read the article, because it’s amazing.

As always though… perhaps it’s just me.

Maybe I don’t know enough about these studies. Maybe I’m missing the point.

What I do know is that the results are being presented and reported by mass media outlets as if the information within pertains to us all. The blurbs and quotes are made more generic and shocking to get us to read the articles… and maybe buy the products of some sponsors.

Again… regularly drinking diet soda may be bad for you.

Is this really a surprising concept?

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com