Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg's Soda Rule: Right Move, Poor Outreach

If you ask a nutrition expert what the single most effective thing that you can do to be healthier is to cut sugary drinks. It is all to easy to fill up a Big Gulp and pound down 800 calories of sugar without even thinking about it.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, realizing that the toxic American food environment is literally killing America, where 1 in 2 New Yorkers are obese, and 1 in 3 Americans are Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic, is moving to ban sugary drinks over 16 ounces. If you carefully avoid the news, read these short articles to get a rundown:

Yeshiva World News
NBC New York

Also useful to read before my commentary is this post by Craig Fear, nutritional expert from Northampton, Massachusetts. Sugar: Why It's Killing Us and What We Should Do About It

The first thing that I notice about both news articles is that they fail to mention Diabetes. Until I met Craig Fear and read his blog, I thought that sugar was harmless as long as one exercised enough to burn it off. After all, it metabolizes into energy which you consume. What could go wrong with that? Well, what goes wrong with it is that every bit of sugar you take in has to be dealt with by the Pancreas, which is only built to take so much. Like any other piece of equipment, if you put it under constant strain, it wears out more quickly than it should causing Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer.

No matter what form our health care industry takes in the future, ultimately, society carries the cost of health epidemics. The epidemic of Diabetes will cause a massive spike in disability, meaning reducing the productivity of the American population, while, at the same time, increasing greatly the cost of care for the American population. You don't need a degree in economics to realize that this is a long term recipe for economic disaster far worse than anything that the Republicans or Democrats could cook up in their wildest dreams.

When you see 16 oz for $0.89, 32 oz for $0.99 and 64 oz for $1.09, you will buy the 64 oz. I know I used to before I learned the consequences. Once you have the 64 oz of sugary soda (that's half a gallon, by the way, also all the fluid you need for the day), you will drink it because otherwise you'd be wasting it. You just consumed about as much sugar as your body is built to handle in a month. Imagine what it would do to your body to do this every day?

The new regulations would not prevent you from getting 32 oz, it would just make it cost twice as much as 16 oz, eliminating the marketing ploy which makes you buy and drink far more sugar than you really want or need.

Mayor Bloomberg, in taking this action in the face of public opposition, is making a very brave move with the kind of integrity and courage that is too often sadly lacking in politicians. I personally applaud him for this, and you should too.

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