On Thursday of last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City proposed a ban on sugary sodas over 16 ounces. I know you are thinking to yourself, “of course a health blog is going to tell me what a great idea this.” Well as someone highly opposed to big government and strongly FOR personal freedoms and choice, this wasn’t as clear cut a stance as you may think. Let’s quickly get to reasons WHY I think this is a good idea.
1. We need to all learn MODERATION as a country.
So maybe you’ve mastered moderation and are completely happy with your health and body. Great for you, and I’m happy for you. But think for a second about how you learned about moderation.
Were your parents strict about everything you ate? Did you have a couple useful health classes in school?
The point is, what you saw in your life every single day shaped your beliefs and principles. You were not born to think a certain way and that’s how you live. Your opinion of moderation was based on what you saw and learned.You can’t tell me that by having enormous portion sizes and giant cup sizes of soda, we aren’t teaching everyone that this is normal.
I am a very strong believer in personal choices and the benefits and consequences every choice holds. But arguing for a choice to have a cup bigger than 16 oz. is flat out childish. The arguments I’ve heard in favor of “choice” sound eerily similar to a spoiled eight year old arguing with their parents at a 7-11.
Is it normal or even morally right to learn that 32 ounces of soda is ok to have at once? This can be more than 100 grams of sugar in one drink! And a drink that is supposed to accompany a meal nonetheless. At one time you had to be taught that 100 grams of sugar at once was not “ok”. It is not fair to have our children be influenced by these giant portion sizes that are merely this way for higher margins of profit (not for convenience!).
Again, if you lived on this planet for several decades it’s easy to think about this topic narrowly in terms of how other educated, 30-40 year old’s make decisions like you do. But think about how young and innocent you were entering elementary school. Should your school be openly serving up soft drinks? Should your parents have to choose between “unhealthy” and “completely toxic” when taking you to the movies? By the time you reach a health class in high school, you have more than likely already shaped your beliefs on how the average person should eat.
2. This is EXACTLY why people don’t know why they can’t lose the weight.
Obesity has been officially termed a “disease.” Many who have it feel hopeless in their fight. “Diabetes” is as common of a word as “car.” There are multiple Diabetes magazines you can subscribe to. Americans with weight problems feel like it’s a constant uphill battle against weight loss.
Our problem comes from what we learn to be healthy, what we learn to be ok for us, and what we learn to be unhealthy. No matter what category here a certain food falls in, it’s likely that its harmful affects are greatly understated by the food and drug industry. There is no friggin’ way that 100 grams of sugar in one friggin’ soda should ever be considered normal, or anything less than TOXIC. But if we see it enough in everyday use, who’s to say that this is NOT NORMAL?
Since we’ve had our blog, I field a lot more health questions than I ever have before. You would be amazed by the sincere desire people have to be healthy, but yet they still drink two sodas a day. They may have cut it down from 4-5 sodas a day at one time and think they are doing good by only having 2. There is a huge problem here. We’ve somehow been taught a couple of sodas a day won’t really affect our health all that much.
The whole scale of what’s normal eating needs a seismic shift. Picture a point system where you were given 10 points for the healthiest foods ate (like our Wild Salmon Avocado Egg Salad), and minus 10 points for the worst foods you ate (a 16 0z. soda would be minus 10 points, 32 oz. doesn’t even make the grade). **AND THIS POINT SYSTEM WAS PUT TOGETHER BY NATURAL DIET DOCS AND NOT GOV. AGENCIES OR FOOD LOBBYISTS.** If you surveyed every american and asked them what was a fairly healthy diet, I promise you a shocking majority would have a negative score. I’m not talking about what they actually ate in their lives, I’m talking about what they perceive as average, normal, fairly healthy eating.
3. Obesity is EVERYONE’s problem.
Our country’s obesity epidemic presents a problem to all americans whether you are fat, skinny, or somewhere in between. We all foot the bill for a healthcare system that is growing seriously out of control.
In The Weight of The Nation, HBO’s recent documentary, they stated that obesity costs Americans $150 billion each year! And that half of that is straight from the pockets of taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid programs.
When American taxpayers spend $75 billion on health costs every year, you cannot blame a government on trying to somehow curb these costs. If a lot of the people out there championing choice really knew the numbers behind obesity and how much it really costs them, then they would quickly change their tune.
It is ultimately everyone’s personal choice to control their own health, but a fiscally responsible government (which we obviously don’t have with a national debt over $15 trillion) also needs to look out for taxpayer money. It’s the same reason why we are starting to see private sector businesses begin health and exercise programs in order to avoid the health costs of their employees later down the road. They even pay employees for time worked-out!
We have our country as a whole to blame for the obesity epidemic. We can’t keep shoving all these toxic and over-proportioned foods/drinks in peoples’ faces and not expect a health crisis.
Instead of controlling portion size or drink size how about laws to Just Label It!
Do I agree limiting soda size is the best way to curb our obesity problem? No, but it’s a start.
Just label it sounds so nice and easy. So you genetically altered some corn Monsanto, just label it that you did. So your root beer has 46 grams of sugar per 12 ounces, just label it A&W.
I’d rather be in favor of a truth in labeling campaign. Where all extra large soda cups would be labeled with huge lettering “100 GRAMS of SUGAR in every cup!” Instead of the giant popcorn and soda party you see going on on the outer labels of our movie sodas.
I’m sure when given the choice, businesses would much rather be regulated on portion size than show the true nutritional facts behind their products. Got to keep the fanciful packaging aimed at children on there.
Ok maybe I’m all wrong here and that 32 oz. soda is feeding a family of 5 and they all know they are “responsibly” taking in 20 grams of sugar each (ok even that is A LOT). I don’t know how a soda is being used. Maybe it’s like Jon Stewart says in the clip at the bottom, “Without these giant cups, where are our homeless people going to sh*t?” Jon Stewart’s flavor of the week view is that the Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal is insane, but I’m sure he will gladly call out the government on out of control obesity problems a week later. Much like his Pizza a Vegetable video.
If you don’t want to listen to me, at least hear what Alec Baldwin has to say on the subject. You can find the full post HERE.
“Food is a drug. At least in the way it is marketed today, which is significantly different from when I grew up. As a child, sweets were referred to as “treats,” and were dispensed far more judiciously than they are today. The proliferation of fast food restaurants that serve high fat, high sugar meals, as well as places like Dunkin Donuts, which are simply sugar dispensaries, has evolved as well.
A quarter-pound hamburger with cheese, fries and a Coke was what you had after playing in a football game. And typically once a week. Gatorade, the granddaddy of sports drinks, was gulped on the gridiron or diamond or basketball court during a game. You didn’t eat those meals or drink those beverages everyday.
I recently lost over 30 pounds by giving up the lion’s share of refined sugar in my diet and reducing my intake of pasta, rice and bread. I switched to almond milk and have reduced my dairy consumption significantly.
I watched theHBO documentary The Weight Of The Nation and many of the overweight people interviewed there spoke of being not only demoralized, but confused by a chronic weight gain that they struggled with and were ultimately powerless to overcome. I can relate.
I exercised constantly yet watched my weight climb until I was certain something was wrong with me. In May of 2011, that fear was confirmed. I was told I was pre-diabetic and needed to aggressively rethink and regulate my diet. Gone were the days when I could eat a peanut butter cookie the size of a hubcap with my 5pm coffee as a “snack.” With age, my body had changed. My health had changed. My ability to process significant amounts of sugar was gone. I was sick. And I wanted to get well.
Many of those who cry loudest about measures like the one Bloomberg has proposed are probably sick, too: hooked on high fat, high sodium and high sugar diets who don’t want their “drug” taken away. Are there people who consume these products responsibly? Of course. But that isn’t the point. At least not anymore. Americans are obese, and in some areas of high concentration, morbidly obese, in numbers that are sapping the treasuries of the fifty states, undercutting U.S. competitiveness, and leaving this country vulnerable to a set of long-term health crises that we will struggle to overcome, if ever. All the while, millions will die, unnecessarily, simply because they fell victim to the marketing of unhealthy dietary choices.
Whether you think an elitist, billionaire New Yorker has any business blocking your path to the soda fountain is one issue. His motives, however, are unquestionable.”