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Drinks help? Check the source

January 15, 2007|From Times wire reports

One study shows that milk can help people lose weight. Another shows that tomato juice might prevent cancer, and a third shows benefits to fizzy sodas. But consumers should take those studies with a grain of salt, researchers reported last week. In a report published Wednesday by the Public Library of Science online journal PLoS Medicine, researchers reviewed 111 studies on soft drinks, juice and milk that were published between 1999 and 2003. They found that studies funded entirely by industry were four to eight times more likely to be favorable to the financial interests of the sponsors than those paid for by other groups.

Of the 22 studies funded by companies or industry groups, three, or 13.6%, had findings that were unfavorable to the beverage studied. More than 38% of the independently funded studies were negative.

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