To The Editor:
What is the point of making diet soda if it could be more harmful to your health than normal soda? In Andrew Jacobs’s September 6th, 2019 article “Death by Diet Soda?” Jacobs said that there is a suggestion that drinking Diet Coke could be more deadly than drinking Coca-Cola Classic. Before making this claim, Jacobs presented a new study which shows that there is a 26% increase in mortality if that person is a consumer of artificially sweetened drinks. He used a bunch of different studies to try to prove that artificially sweetened drinks are harmful. However, Jacobs had no evidence that drinking Diet Coke could be more deadly than normal Coca-Cola. He says that the suggestion “grabbed headlines and created widespread angst” but shows no proof of that with any of the studies he chose to cite. If it created such angst, why didn’t he cite the source and prove his point?
As a young consumer of diet soda, Jacobs makes me question his source credibility by making claims without concrete evidence to support them. He used studies done in other countries to show that the consumption of artificially sweetened drinks lead to premature death, but none of those studies proved that Diet Coke is more deadly than Coca-Cola Classic. In fact, Diet Coke shouldn’t be more deadly than Coca-Cola Classic. In 12 fluid ounce can of Diet Coke, there are 0 grams of sugar. In a 12 fluid ounce can of Coca-Cola Classic, there are 39 grams of sugar. Diet Coke seems like it would be the healthier option, but not according to Jacobs. Reading misleading claims like this, could confuse consumers of Coca-Cola products into thinking that more sugar is less deadly. Furthermore, the baseless claim could deflate sales of the product and in turn be detrimental for the Coca-Cola Company.
So many studies have been done but none of them clearly state that consuming Diet Coke can be more harmful than Coca-Cola Classic. There are many unsolved questions about the circumstances surrounding the studies, which make it hard to fully prove or deny any claims made about mortality of diet soda drinkers. Jacobs could have made an honest mistake and forgotten to cite one of his sources, or he could have misinterpreted the data. However, a mistake like one could have caused panic for the millions of Diet Coke consumers. They could have stopped drinking Diet Coke and start to drink regular Coca-Cola, which would have put them at higher risk of diabetes, circulatory problems and heart disease. Young children could have been misled the same way which would only encourage their sweet tooth and put them at higher and early stages of the same diseases. Personally, I would have also thought twice about drinking Diet Coke if it was said to be more deadly than Coca-Cola Classic, had I not known the importance of citing your sources. Jacobs along with other authors should realize the necessity of telling readers where they got their information from. Authors should not make baseless claims with no factual evidence, and every author should make it a priority to cite their source.
Link to the Article