Super Gulp or Not to Gulp? That's the question!

Super Gulp or Not to Gulp? That's the question!
Super Gulp or Not to Gulp?

If you have not been paying attention to the national news, this news may end up getting your attention. NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has proposed a new ban on the sale of large-size sodas and other sugary beverages at restaurants and food carts. Personally, I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for making this move. We live in a country where the obesity epidemic is huge and continues to grow. Our health care costs are continuing to rise as we are paying for the costs of other people’s chronic medical conditions caused by obesity: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.

I believe that everyone has the right to choose how they want to live their life. Unfortunately, we do not have the same freedom of not paying for the other people’s medical costs that are completely preventive through diet and exercise.  We, as a country, are paying the price for this when we apply or obtain health insurance.

We live in a world where everything is super-sized. The super-size sodas and sugary drinks are a gateway to ingest too many calories that could be substituted for something more substantial and healthy. The 32 ounce-sized sugary beverage has an average of 375 calories and 90 grams of sugar. The larger 64 ounce Super-Gulp has an average of 750 calories and 180 grams of sugar.

In order to give you a sense of how easy the calories pile up, I am going to compare the liquid calories from the sugary soda and other beverages to other foods to other foods that you could be eating instead. Honestly, since I have a slight sweet tooth, I am going to use some common treats.

Instead of a Super-Gulp you could be eating in the same amount of calories:

  • 2 ¼ slices of Pumpkin Pie (my favorite!)
  • 188 Jelly Beans
  • 24 squares (120 grams) of Dark Chocolate (good for the heart!)
  • 2.5 slices of Chocolate Cake
  • 4 regular-sized Chocolate-Chip Cookies
  • Almost 3 cups of regular, full-fat Ice-cream (pretty much the entire pint of ice cream!)
  • Almost 3 glazed donuts
  • 104 Gummy Bears

While I will leave your opinion to you, I hope that this has opened your eyes a little bit. Education is the sweetest gift that anyone can give you.

Bon appetit!

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Nice equivalency chart!

    I'll bet most people never stop to compare the full impact of the liquid calories they ingest. Most wouldn't casually sit down and snack on your list of items while they work, let alone place them on the table to be consumed as part of a meal. But because soda doesn't appear so decadent (or harmful), people don't think twice about it.

    Liquid calories are at the root of our obesity epidemic and rise in metabolic syndrome.

    Calories from fructose suppress the hormone that tells our brain that we're full. Each of the other items you listed will eventually trigger that signal during the digestion process and cause us to stop eating. That just doesn't happen when fructose is ingested in liquid form. As a result, we consume a large amount of useless calories in the drink AND consume an equivalent amount of calories (if not more) as we eat.

    There is a reason that Americans, on average, consume 600 more calories per day than they did in 1980; the addition of high fructose corn syrup to sweetened beverages, snack foods, and low fat / low sodium prepared meals.

    Bloomberg's ban means well, but it's misdirected. What is to stop someone from buying 4 16-ounce drinks and consuming them sequentially? It might make it more difficult to carry 4 cups instead of one, but I believe that's why someone invented the drink carrier...

    We don't need a ban - we need a tax on any food item that contains high fructose corn syrup.

    That tax shouldn't be on the end user - it should be on the producer. If a sweetened beverage manufacturer like Coca Cola had to pay a penny in tax for every gram of sugar dispensed, that Big Gulp would cost $.90 more to produce. If the price of a Big Gulp suddenly doubled, the consumer would think twice as to whether he or she needed that much soda. Meanwhile, the taxpayers would be receiving funds to be put toward the increased healthcare costs associated with treating obesity and metabolic syndrome.

    Putting the tax on food manufacturers would also force them to find new ways to be price competitive with real, healthy, whole food. Who is going to buy a tasteless diet meal in a heat & eat package when you can put together a meal from real ingredients for the same price?

    If we, as a society, want to recoup the increased healthcare costs of too much sugar in our diets, we need to make those products reflect our true cost and require them to be priced accordingly.

    We don't need bans. We need choices. If crappy food wasn't so cheap (and tasty because of sugar, salt, and fat) - people wouldn't be inclined to buy it. If people choose to buy it anyway - like they choose to buy cigarettes - at least they're contributing to their future treatment with the higher price they pay.

Leave a comment