Our critics love to roll out "scientific data" that is often ripe with half the story or, at least, not the complete story. Or the story isn't always presented in full context of all the data.

So as Congress spends its final two weeks before the summer recess working on health care reform, we thought we'd provide some interesting data each day this week. We'll share some information - all documented and verifiable on your own -- that pretty resoundingly undermines the arguments of our critics who claim that juice drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages should be singled out for taxation to pay for reform. We'll use data, science and good old common sense.

Today's mythical argument: that soft drinks or sweetened beverages are a unique contributor to obesity.

The truth: The compendium of science has shown time and again that what impacts weight the most is calorie balance. How effectively does one balance the calories they consume with the calories they burn? In other words, if you consume more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight. And vice versa. Science and common sense working together. Love it.

This fundamental fact of calorie balance as it relates to weight was reinforced in a recent study lead by a Harvard University researcher that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The study demonstrated, once again, that calories count when it comes to losing weight - regardless of the food source. In other words, a calorie is a calorie, and whether the calorie comes from one food source matters no more or no less than if it comes from another food source.

Bottom line: On matters of weight, whenever you hear a researcher claim that calories from a beverage matter more than calories from any other food or beverage...well, let's be kind and say they're twisting the data a bit to support their point of view. The fact is the science and data don't support their claims.

We like this point on calorie balance because it combines proven science (yet another study conducted by, funded by and published by renowned individuals and institutions), with solid data and a gigantic dose of common sense.