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Nina In New York: Useless Studies Of The Week Shed New Light On Nothing In Particular

Bottles of soda are displayed on a shelf on January 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Bottles of soda are displayed on a shelf on January 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
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By Nina Pajak

This week in pointless funded research, pointless facts abound.

First up, a 12-week study funded by the American Beverage Association which (gasp!) concluded that, contrary to current thinking, drinking diet soda does aid in weight loss. During the study, the group of dieters denied diet soda and relegated to drinking (ugh) water lost more pounds in the same period of time as another group that was allowed to indulge. The thinking: dieting is hard! It’s even harder to stick to the rules when you can’t even have a lousy Diet Coke. Lousy, sweet, sweet nectar.

I gave up diet soda years ago, despite a pretty avid and lifelong habit. As it turns out, I actually like water! I know, gross. Why quench thirst with natural, life-sustaining, refreshing water when you can have synthetic artificial sweetener? Though I mostly don’t miss it, every once in a while I find myself with a hankering for a calorie-free treat. Only now when I take a sip, all I can taste is the unpleasant, lingering, fetid flavor of fake sugar. And when I drink it in any real quantity, I feel bloated, gassy and actually ill. I don’t believe these are psychosomatic effects, either. I’ve really come to believe that this stuff is poison.

But what of the popular consensus that drinking diet soda leads to worse habits and sweet cravings over the long term? Oh, that. Well, that’s still probably true. You see, the study required that the water-drinking dieters give up existing diet soda habits. Well, sure. If you make an overweight person eat healthy foods and kick a Fresca habit at the same time, you’re just setting the poor guy up to fail. Outside of the vacuum of this extremely limited and probably biased study, given its benefactor, the implications are less than compelling.

Also, dog people are different from cat people! Dog people are like dogs. They’re friendly! They’re lively! They’re extroverted! They go outside and value companionship! They are obedient! They sit and stay! And cat people are like cats. They’re introverted. They value affection. They break all the rules. They will simply never come when they’re called, even if you’re holding their favorite treat.

They’re smarter than dog people.

Oh, come on.

The study was conducted using 600 college students. And though the cat folk are assigned arguably more flattering attributes (thoughtful, intelligent), the dog people (lovable dummies) vastly outnumbered the cat ladies (and men). I guess if you could take this rather small and homogenous group of people and extrapolate their results to represent more of the country, this might be meaningful. Somehow. To someone. One day.

I’ve got to go. A bell is ringing somewhere, and suddenly I can’t stop drooling.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!