Two new clinical studies find something that everyone already knew

The New York Times (and many other media outlets) have reported on two new randomized clinical trials published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found that removing sugary drinks from children’s diets slows weight gain in teenagers and reduces the odds that normal-weight children will become obese.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Though sodas, sports drinks, blended coffees and other high-calorie beverages have long been assumed to play a leading role in the nation's obesity crisis, these studies are the first to show that consumption of sugary drinks is a direct cause of weight gain, experts said.

Perhaps these are the first studies to demonstrate these findings because up until now, researchers did not see the need to spend time and money studying something that everyone already knew.

Drinking calorie-laden sodas can make you fat? We needed a government-funded study to determine this?

I’m astounded that two separate teams of researchers found this topic compelling enough to invest time and money in order study, and I’m even more astounded that so many media outlets decided to report on this bit of obviousness.

Couldn’t the researchers simply looked at the nutrition label on a bottle of Coca-Cola and come to the same conclusion?

Wasn’t the mere existence of a product like Diet Coke proof enough that a product like Coke contributes to weight gain?  

Isn’t an standard of obviousness applied before the government agrees to fund a study that answers a question that everyone already knows the answer to?

What’s next? A study to prove that eating cheeseburgers and French fries can contribute to weight gain?