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Diet soda, stroke. Hey diet soda drinkers, care for some bad news? A pair of recent studies suggest that those who consume diet soda have a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks. In fact, the percentages suggested by the study were staggering: it found that diet soda drinkers were 61 percent more likely to have a vascular event, the AFP reports.
Wait a second. What does suggest mean? Why is diet soda bad for you? Does diet soda cause strokes and heart attacks? That's not what the studies say. The studies present a correlation, but not a casual link. That's an important difference to understand when it comes to science and the law.
While correlations are worth considering, they are a far cry from proof of anything. It could be that people who put themselves at risk for strokes and heart attacks by eating a bad diet, also tend to drink diet soda. Strokes may come next. Or is the link merely a coincidence?
The legal system requires jurors to be willing to overlook correlations. For example, in reality, there is a high correlation between those who are accused of a crime and those who are in fact guilty. Nevertheless, a juror must swear to only convict if specific evidence demonstrates guilt. The system wouldn't work if it allowed jurors to find people guilty because, "they probably wouldn't be here if they weren't guilty of something."
Nevertheless, the lead author of the story would likely disagree with my rant and tell you if you drink diet soda, stroke is what you may well get. They could be right, I have to admit that I don't know either.
"If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages," said lead study author Hannah Gardener at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the AFP reports.