It really isn’t my style to deliberately deliberate along gender lines, but in the case of New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg vs. Banning Extra Large Sugar-Laden Drinks, I really am wondering whether we women see health issues through a different lens – the female home cook, nurturer, guardian of health… diet police lens to be exact. I am proud of the fact that I care about what my husband and stepson eat. I love them. I care about them. I say things like: “Did you take your vitamins today?” or “Do you really need to eat 6 cookies?” or, “Okay, like that’s the 3rd Coke you’ve guzzled in the last 10 minutes?” or “Ummmm, do you absolutely need to drown your salad in dressing?” So shoot me for caring.
Gary S Hart created this post last evening on the growing and lively debate about whether my City’s Mayor has an right to infringe on either the creation and selling of uber huge sugar-laden drinks or to infringe on the sale and consumption of them and you will see on Gary’s original post that as of this morning there are 82 Comments.
I happen to weigh in on the side of health, and wonder about the insanity of drinking gigantic drinks that are nothing but chemicals, and wonder about the plastic/paper containers they come in, and wonder about the whole darn thing and what seems to me to be the sheer stupidity of creating a drink that big to begin with. Am I being judgemental? You betcha!
But then again I also wonder about Giant Truck Pulls. And kids Bungee Jumping off of bridges. And SUVs as big as public libraries. And Hummers so big they take up all the road and drive everyone else into the ditch. And trucks with tires so huge my car could snuggle up underneath them. And Starbucks coffee drinks that have so many calories you have to go to boot camp for a week after drinking just one. And whether cell phones cause brain cancer. And why exactly there is a 78% increase in autism. And why there is so much Alzheimer’s. And why younger and younger women are getting breast cancer. And why there are so many hormones and antibiotics in our food supply. And what’s up with Mad Cow Disease.
And why we have a hard time admitting some things are Out. Of. Control.
KJ Dell’Antonia, who wrote the following for the New York Times Motherlode, seems to be asking the same questions I’m asking. And that makes me feel better about being a policewoman.
What do you think?
The New York Times / Motherlode / Adventures in Parenting
May 31, 2012, 8:12pm
What if the City Banned Sales of Junk Food to Minors?
By KJ DELL’ANTONIA
One of my four children is a sugary drink addict. Restaurant meals present a small battle every time, because while the other children may or may not choose soda, and may or may not finish it, this child chooses soda every single time and drains the cup (often before dinner is served) every time as well. The battle? She wants to be served in a “big kid cup” because she says, rightly, that she never spills (in part because her grip on the cup resembles that of Gollum on the ring). I insist on a “baby cup,” not because of the lid, but because of the size: just the right amount of soda for someone of her small stature.
Don’t worry — compromises are easily reached, and “no” is a word with which she is familiar. But the response to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in some locations reminds me (loosely) of our periodic debates. Is this about freedom and personal responsibility, or about imposing a reasonable limit?
Few (besides my daughter) would question my right to limit my children’s soda consumption, but some adults resent the city’s attempt to “limit” theirs — or, really, to limit easy access to soda in large quantities. The proposed ban is little more than a “nudge”: those determined to drink their fill of soda need do nothing more than return for a second, third or fourth cup. Slippery slope arguments are inevitable, and they’re being made all over (first, they came for our Big Gulp; soon, we’ll be dealing contraband Doritos on the streets). But the audacity of the proposal made me wonder how a ban that was both more limited, and more expansive, might be received.
What if the city banned the sale of those big, sugary sodas only to children under 18? What if it extended the ban to those “Big Grab” bags of chips and other junk foods? This year, Robert Lustig and his colleagues proposed, in Nature, putting age limits on the sale of all drinks with added sugar and creating laws to restrict the access of children to convenience stores after school. An extended “Bloomberg ban” could allow the children in the stores, but limit their purchases to the equivalent of bananas and cheese, or junk foods in the reasonable serving sizes that have become so hard to come by.
I, for one, did not greet Mr. Lustig’s original proposal with unabashed enthusiasm. What about my right to send my child to the concession stand to buy himself a soda during his sister’s hockey game?
But a few more months spent thinking, reading and writing about childhood obesity have moderated my stance. We know now that as children get older, and presumably make more of their own food decisions, they eat less healthfully. And more parents and doctors are writing still more powerfully on the impact of advertising, our societal snacking habits and the heavy toll children pay when they fall prey to the various causes of obesity.
Yes, it’s an idea that presents logistical challenges (fast food restaurants aren’t equipped to check I.D.) and begs many questions (let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there would be no ban on sales to any adult on behalf of a child). But it’s an application of the “nanny state” to those more traditionally considered in need of a nanny. It’s public policy that supports parenting, rather than trying to parent those who’ve arguably gone beyond the need for it.
Again, we’re talking about a nudge. Adults could still provide access to junk foods, and teenagers could still purchase flour, butter, eggs and chocolate chips (or even potatoes and oil). Maybe a ban would just make all the snacks that turn your fingers orange that much more desirable. But it would still make them more difficult to get, and might bring the real goal — reducing, rather than eliminating, the consumption of foods with no nutritional value — within reach.
I haven’t even fully convinced myself, but this proposed ban on all sales of big, sugary drinks makes it feel as though anything is possible. Could a limit on sales of junk foods to children work — and is it a more appealing use of the powers that Mr. Bloomberg is clearly willing to test?
Originally shared by Gary S. Hart
Bloomberg Says End Go-Large Sugar Laden Drinks
Coke & McDonald’s Cry Foul
“(Soda) is my drug of choice and I am dealing with the consequences of it,” Cashin said, referring to a struggle with his weight.”
If caffeinated and sugar loaded soda is a drug, should government regulate the way it is sold and packaged? We have not controlled cigarettes to this extent. How about a warning from the surgeon general? Should cigarettes have more regulation? Or should the government keep its finger out of the business pie?