It’s what many Americans have become - Diabetic Drunks! Studies have shown that by consuming empty calories coming from sweetened soft drinks, Diet or Regular, can increases your risk of becoming a diabetic as well as obesity. New York City recently lost its chance to ban soft drinks like these that were served in cups over 16oz. A New York Supreme Court judge blocked the City Health Department from implementing the ban stating they didn’t have the authority to do this.
I drink soda. I like regular Coca-Cola or an occasional Root Beer or Dr Pepper. I am not one of those people who always seems to condescend and look down at you when they say - “I quit drinking soda 5 years ago.” Good for you and your “better” ways. I don’t want to stop drinking it but I also know a 32 oz of anything isn’t right.
I’ve written before that society needs to start having a wake-up call to take some personal responsibility. Ricky Gervais jokes cancer is a disease, obesity is a choice. I agree with him – GASP! I know right – what an asshole I am. My personal view on this comes from my life experience. My aunt was morbidly obese and always was the entire time she was alive when I knew her. She had several opportunities to get healthy, on state funded medical insurance. On one hospital stay she was on a floor to help her restrict her diet and lose weight so she could get a surgery to remove more fat – she GAINED weight by conning people to bring her food! And she was kicked out of the program…this stay and many others cost her nothing personally because she was poor. She had much to live for – two daughters, and a new granddaughter. Yet, she couldn’t take the personal responsibility to get thin enough to have a surgery to help her lose weight and be healthier. I’m not even asking her to get a job just lose weight. She didn’t and because of that and many, many other health issues she passed away a few years ago.
I applaud the judge for not allowing the city of New York ban to restrict the size of soft drinks to 16oz. I personally feel it is a slippery slope and when you start with one you get many more “rules.” We know the FDA sucks at regulating the safety of our food. Do we really want to rely on the food pyramid and special interest to regulate our diets? No thanks…I still like to think I can choose what I want for lunch.
Yet, YET some fellow Americans do need help in not eating themselves literally to death. Some groups tout a fat tax or higher premiums on health insurance to penalize the obese. One recent study I read about found that people who were given $20 a month to lose weight, only $20?, or hit weight related goals achieved that goal far higher than those who had no such incentive. If that’s the case, start that program up universally because our savings on health care will far outweigh the cost of such an incentive if people are getting thinner.
I’m not shocked that the ban was introduced. I think it’s sad the government felt it needed to do that to help its citizens. At what point, do we let Darwinian natural laws just take over? Some will argue that hunger in America and other influencers are to blame – I’m not saying society is perfect. But at some point we need to draw a line, it may feel uncomfortable but when you say no to a few sodas a week maybe it won’t feel so tight around the waist.
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.