Sodas don’t kill people, straws kill people

This week our fearless leader, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, announced a proposed ban on sodas over 16-ounces.

 

And as “the vegan girlfriend from Super Size Me” you’d probably expect me to be jumping for joy, pointing my finger , singing “Nya nya nya nya nya!

 

Well, yes and no.

 

First, I get itchy – literally uncomfortable – telling people what they shouldn’t eat. I’m a big believer in free choice. And I know from experience that most people don’t like being told what to do. It makes them angry. Even adults. Tell an adult what to do and they have adult sized temper tantrums.

 

I’ve worked with thousands of women as a health and nutrition coach and I can tell you “bad” habits truly change when people get real about the health effects of their food choices, and realize that their food habits are wrecking their life.

 

When smoking bans come to your city, you can be sure the heart attack and heart disease rates will go down. These bans do save lives, both the smokers and people who are stuck inside with their second hand smoke. But people still don’t like these bans, saying “they’re infringing on my God & Country given right to smoke.”

 

Did God guarantee your right to smoke? Would the Founding Fathers put your desires to consume tobacco above the rights of others to, say, not get lung cancer?

 

Lots of New Yorkers were miffed when Bloomberg banned smoking in bars, but now we’re all enjoying NOT smelling terrible when we go home at 4 am, and I haven’t heard any complaints lately. Even from the smokers who huddle outside said bars.

 

But is banning soda in the same league as banning second hand smoke? Is it as important? Should we care?

 

I’ll say Yes.

 

We are in the midst of a health crisis in this country that is mainly caused by our food choices. There I said it. (sigh)

 

But I don’t place the blame all on Mr. and Mrs. Soda Lover.

 

We are so blinded, nay brainwashed, from an early age by the constant marketing of junk food, and so consumed with our own sugar addiction, that it has become normal to drink 32 ounces or more of soda in a day…heck, in a sitting.

 

When I was a kid it was unusual to get a 12-ounce drink all to yourself. If we were lucky, we got an 8-ounce serving, and honestly that was enough.

 

The soda ban goes too far, and doesn’t go far enough.


If Bloomy blames large sodas as one of the main causes of obesity and type 2 Diabetes, he should ride his soda sheriff horse over the juice aisle next time he’s at the C-Town.

 

Fruit juice has almost as much sugar as sodas, although it’s a different kind of sugar, and High Fructose Corn Syrup is arguably way more dangerous for the human body. More easily turned into belly fat, and therefore leading to insulin resistance, HFCS consumption has grown +1000% in the last 40 years, mirroring the rise in obesity and type 2 Diabetes.

 

And what’s to stop the hardcore soda lover from simply doubling up their 16-ounce order next time they go for lunch? Nothing.

 

Can you still down a bag or Oreo’s with your 2 16-ounce sodas? Yes. Is it going to protect your health if you drink a small soda at McDonald’s with your double cheeseburger value meal?

 

If you buy a gallon of ice cream, will it become illegal contraband if it melts and you drink it with a straw?

 

Still, I see that Bloomberg’s proposal has created a firestorm of controversy – people are talking about serving sizes in a new way. Which might be the best outcome.

 

New Yorkers are talking about the ridiculousness of our food options – that wasn’t happening before this proposed ban.

 

Question: Mayor Mike – did you have to put up this soda ban the same week as National Donut Day, which your office supported?

 

This issue is bigger than a Super Big Gulp, and still boils down to food choices we make every day.