Has George Orwell’s 1984 become a reality? Is America officially a “Nanny” state? These are the questions pondered by some experts and pundits after New York City’s Michael Bloomberg announced his plan to restrict servings of soda to only 16 ounces.
The plan to ban, which will forbid the sale of any soda over 16 oz. at restaurants, sporting events, and other venues has become a battleground for opinions on the government’s role in citizens lifestyle choices. Although this legislation is faulty and highly intrusive, it is ultimately a step in the right direction towards resolving a supersized policy problem that is literally eating away at our nation’s health and finances.
Bloomberg’s arrangement is a flawed one to say the least, and I’m glad people like John Stewart are mocking this proposal. There are so many loopholes that it reminds me of Swiss cheese. New York City doesn’t control grocery and convenience stores, therefore the legislation will be unable to stop the sale of the monstrous 7-Eleven 32 oz. Big Gulp, bottomless free refills or ultimately the will of a soda-deprived addict.
Furthermore, I understand the libertarian in each of us is crying out. It’s as if someone told me I couldn’t have more than three glasses of chocolate milk from D2. People are right to complain that the government is intervening in our civil freedoms, our ability to consume whatever we please.
Yet the government has been doing this for quite some time in the name of the public’s interest. Think of the restrictions on alcohol consumption, age limits on smoking, etc. Drunk driving and lung disease do not compare to the harm sugar is doing to our country. For decades the government has prided itself on its ability to stop Americans from hurting themselves and the next stop in this process is food and drink, whether we like it or not.
The CDC reports nearly a third of adult Americans and 17 percent aof children are obese, moreover studies have shown that consumption of sugary drinks is a direct factor in weight gain. And with great obesity comes great diseases like diabetes and heart disease – the leading cause of death in America. The reeling effect of obesity affects all Americans, healthy or not, we pay higher insurance premiums and are forced to dedicate larger parts of our national budget to entitlement expenditures like Medicare and Medicaid.
In a country where it is still socially acceptable to have gigantic portions and all-you-can-eat fantasies, Bloomberg is innovating by using the timeless tale of portion control to do what government does best: banning stuff.
The science is coming out of the woodwork depicting why portioning on soda pop is the next step in banning our obesity epidemic. The case against sugary beverages lays in the theory that your body reacts to drinks differently than solid food. In his case for the ban, Bloomberg states that studies have shown people can be given larger portions and will consume it without noticing the caloric amount, which will not register the need for a reduction in calories at a subsequent meal.
This reminds me of when you have large-sized bag of chips, you can consciously or sub-consciously eat the whole bag without even noticing your bulging belly. Same goes for soda yet you’re still able to eat a full dinner after knocking down a 32 oz. Big Gulp.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily consumption of no more than 45 grams of free sugar, however many people don’t know that by drinking one Big Gulp they are actually consuming 91 grams of sugar. Often we don’t recognize the harm that comes from humongous portions and serious caloric intake of drinking big soda. Regulation of our portions may be the best way to fight obesity in the future.
Its cliché to say idioms like "bigger is not always better" or "your eyes are bigger than your stomach." But in this day and age, these can be kind words of wisdom.