Friday, June 1, 2012

Relax, it's not really even a soda ban.

Source: Grist
In case you haven't heard, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed what some are referring to as a soda ban in NYC.  Bloomberg has suggested that movie theaters, restaurants, stadiums and food carts limit soda size to 16 ounces. Bodegas and markets will continue to sell sodas of all sizes. While it's hard to believe that 16 ounces (over a can’s worth) of soda is limiting even more alarming to me is the degree of pushback this is receiving. Our government has decided BPAs are safe, it permits food dyes banned in other countries and has yet to notify the public when our food is genetically modified. So when someone takes food seriously and tries to enact positive change, I'm going to support it.

A little background, half the US population over two years old consumes sugary drinks daily and these beverages account for approximately 8% of our calorie intake. The average male teen gets close to 20 teaspoons a day from soda. We would find it strange if you ordered wine in a restaurant and the waiter poured the whole bottle into your glass but this

 is totally acceptable. We’ve learned from Brian Wasink’s research that intake is highly dependent on the size of the food presented. Of course the Beverage Association sees no problem with soda and had this to say, “It's time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front."

Nice attempt at passing the buck, this sounds like my children arguing,  “I didn’t do it, he did it”.  I’m a serious expert, or at least an expert, who would love to get more involved as would many of my collegagues. I’ve written about soda and sugar extensively. How about they make smallersize their nasty (told you I wasn’t “serious”) sodas and experts can educate and discuss why this and other ways to limit sugar is important. Obesity and simply better health needs everyone’s cooperation. Speaking of which, the first National Soda Summit, organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest is being held in DC next week, if you’re looking to learn more that sounds like a good start.

Aside from the beverage industry, there’s also the nanny state objection-that government shouldn’t tell us what to eat.  I’m sorry to say but they already are (see image above for a little refresher) and that’s why sodas are the size of a bottle of Clorox bleach and for many people fresh vegetables are unaffordable. The Atlantic, in an especially whiny piece, suggested that the focus should be on access to healthy food versus banning. How about both? Measures should be taken to increase access to wholesome food and decrease the size of sodas, nobody is taking soda away. The truth is, the power of the soda people may thwart Bloomberg’s plans to have the Department of Health pass this. Talk about politics, if I’m choosing a “nanny” I would take Bloomberg over the Beverage Association any day. And if you think we, as a country, don't need a nanny- what do you propose?
Are you in favor of or against Bloomberg's proposal? Do you think it will pass? 
love me a good infographic

29 comments:

  1. Gina (Candid RD)June 1, 2012 at 3:34 AM

     I'm so proud of NY for this!! I think it's wonderful, and hopefully the first step to some more major changes to come. 
    These pictures are so interesting too, thanks for sharing!  I need a blown up version of this last one for our team member break room, where everyone gets FREE pop!

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  2. I love that you're proud of NY for this as it seems response in NYC is mixed. I can send link for last infographic. Free pop, maybe you can get your hand in there and change that one...

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  3. I'd love to see it pass. I kind of had the same reaction you did to the backlash. Great comparison with supersize sodas and the waiter pouring an entire bottle of wine into your glass, by the way! 

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  4. This is such an interesting topic to me---I can't be totally absolutist in my opinion, but I do think social change happens slowly....and I'm all for nudging people toward less sugar (I mean, I'm all for being outwardly against it too, but for the general population who isn't caring or listening, I'm all for nudging). This seems like it will do that! Thanks for your contribution to this---I shared it on fb :-)

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  5. Nice to hear Jess. And the soda thing is so silly, this is a limit, how about this is a positive change and let's make more of them. 

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  6. Thank you Lisa. Yes, a nudge but for a city as large as NY maybe a good one. Let's recondition our eyes so that a 16 oz beverage seems normal.

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  7. Great
    post Lauren!


     


    I admire
    Bloomberg for the initiative. The cheap price and supersize lure are some of
    the big forces that get people drinking more soda, and sugary drinks are a huge
    driver of the obesity crisis and many other ill-health consequences.


     


    I think
    there could have been a cannier way to present the same limitation, but then, I
    have no idea what can be done legally or politically. If soda had a minimum
    price, or better, a minimum price per ounce, you couldn't buy a soda calorie
    bomb for cents. That's what's done with cigarettes -- you have to control the
    price from getting to low, and take away the quantity discounts.


     


    Taxing
    sugary drinks would be a better plan -- it was tried and fought mightily.


     


    Somewhere,
    the real price of soda has to factor in, and the real price of soda in public
    health and medical costs is ridiculed by selling 64oz drinks for pennies.

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  8. Great post Lauren!


     


    I admire Bloomberg for the initiative. The cheap price and
    supersize lure are some of the big forces that get people drinking more soda,
    and sugary drinks are a huge driver of the obesity crisis and many other
    ill-health consequences.


     


    I think there could have been a cannier way to present the
    same limitation, but then, I have no idea what can be done legally or
    politically. If soda had a minimum price, or better, a minimum price per ounce,
    you couldn't buy a soda calorie bomb for cents. That's what's done with
    cigarettes -- you have to control the price from getting to low, and take away
    the quantity discounts.


     


    Taxing sugary drinks would be a better plan -- it was tried
    and fought mightily.


     


    Somewhere, the real price of soda has to factor in, and the
    real price of soda in public health and medical costs is ridiculed by selling
    64oz drinks for pennies.

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  9. I was thinking, couldn't it work for all if the same price is charged for a smaller soda? Beverage people make same $, soda sizes shrink or am I missing something?

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  10. Quantity discounts have a profound psychological effect on consumers, and are one of the best tools makers of soda and fast foods have for selling. They're not going to give it up easily.

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  11. Love this post Lauren. The irony of giving us bpa's / gmo's / food dyes drives me nuts, oy, so happy you pointed that out. that first picture is crazy - have you seen this one on who owns the organic food brands?  terrifying : http://res.mindbodygreen.com/img/ftr/Organic-Food-Who-Owns.jpg

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  12. Loved this post. Especially the infogram about what soda does to your body! I have a question-is club soda or soda water the same as other soda? It doesn't have all the added sugar, so does it still have the same effects on your body??

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  13. most sparkling water and seltzer is fine (we love sparkling Herbal Water) as it doesn't have sweeteners (real or artificial), colorings etc. Thanks for stopping by Erin.

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  14. oh my goodness carolyn, that link made my heart sink. As though my children were adopted by a malevolent cult. scary.

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  15. I personally don't care what adults do to their own bodies.. but, there MUST be consequences for bad behavior and bad habits. I do not see why I should have to pay the same health care premiums as someone who consumes mass amounts of soda and junk food.. or who smokes and drinks.. even within in a group plan. My 'space' should not be taken when on a plane or at the theater by someone who is twice my size.

    Land of the free..  but not when their choices infringes on my rights and finances.

    Kids however is a different issue and I am a huge advocate for mandating healthy foods and drinks in schools.

    The problem is.. no one will accept laws to curb bad habits, but laws or increase costs as consequences for bad habits will never get passed.. so what do you do?  You have to pick one. To do nothing, to let people do as they please without consequences when their actions effect others is worse.

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  16.  I don't understand how people can be proud of this. To have the government mandate what you can eat/drink goes against the very core of the country. I still find it funny that in the land of the free you need a license to own a dog or go hunting.

    What would happen if the drugs for type 2 diabetes was only covered by insurance and cost 50 a month for 6 months only.  Then 5000 a month and not covered by insurance from month 7.. would people change if they knew that medical help would be refused for issues that are obviously related to bad habits and were preventable?  

    Should we as a society allow people to die who care nothing for helping themselves? Or should we continue to spend vast sums of money supporting their bad habits?  Bans will solve nothing, only have to look at prohibition and the war on drugs to see that.

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  17. I do not like the idea of the government controlling what we eat/drink, but of course I can't disagree soda consumption is out of control. It's a double edged sword and really the government isn't looking out for our health, they're looking out for their wallets. Whether we have diabetes because we drink too much soda or we have diabetes from birth, they would rather not pay up. I really don't mind them reducing sizes, it's great but the whole "let's get rid of soda ad fast food altogether"(which some would love) is too extreme for my liking.

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  18. I'm not a soda drinker so of course I support this. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for what he's trying to do.

    Now if he tried to outlaw chocolate I might not be so supportive!

    Have a great weekend Lauren!

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  19. Great post, Lauren. I respect the Mayor for his initiative . So true that  obesity and better health needs everyone's cooperation.  

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  20. Thanks Ayala, I don't understand those who ridiculed his action because it wasn't perfect, at this point action is action let's all follow his lead.

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  21. good chocolate isn't cheap so it will not be a public health issue. I hear you though, he cracks down on coffee and he's lost my support. Ha.

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  22. Nobody likes the idea of freedom being curtailed but it already is. 

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  23. This is very different from prohibition and as I mentioned isn't really a ban. Container size matters, I think the smoking experience tells is action must be taken. I hear you Bzybee, people need to be responsible for their actions but we are all responsible and to make a difference availability is a part of this.

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  24. I don't like the idea of a ban, nanny state like you said.  But I do agree that certain things are already controlled in one way or another, so there's that.  I will say that I saw bloomberg on the Today show the other day and he spoke very well in support of the ban, making some good points - I'm still not for it though.  I think that his main goal is to bring attention to the issue and not to actually get it passed, I don't think he really thinks it will pass (and I don't think so either).  I think it is doing a good job of getting the conversation started.

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  25. I think action is needed. There are issues with this action but it's action. I would read Frank Bruni or Walter Willet's commentary on this proposal.

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  26. And which Jen is this, do you have a blog?

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  27. Ha, no I don't have a blog.  I just act as the local sugar police in my own house (so really local).  I also think action is needed, but I would prefer ending corn subsidies or something along those lines.  Or, if you're going to ban sugary drinks over 16oz, then they need to be banned in supermarkets too and the ban needs to include fruit juice.  I do think there needs to be more education re: appropriate portion sizes of these beverages and maybe banning large single serve bottles is the only feasible way to do that, I don't know.

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  28.  That is the issue with laws like this.. if you can accept a reduction on how much soda is sold in one go, why not chocolate?

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  29. "we are all responsible"

    Many in this country would fight against the evilness of European socialism with their dying breath. We are not all responsible for others. The core of this country is people being able to do whatever they please with their own bodies. I am not responsible if someone wants to drink soda or drink 64oz of it.. but I do want to make sure their decisions do not effect me or my family.

    I understand where the supporters of this law are coming from.. but it goes against the foundation of the nation.

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