Bloomberg’s Ban on Soda: One lump or two?

Author: Kelley Filice Jensen

One lump or two?  That is what our Grandma’s said when they poured tea and coffee.  The days of one or two lumps of sugar are long gone.  Now it is 20 or 30 lumps, more like one CUP or two.  And we want it, we need it, we deserve it.  It is our constitutional right to drink a liter of soda.  It is not the government’s role to tell us what to put into our bodies, they should stay out of it.  Foot stomp.  Hold breath.  Turn blue.  Petulant child.  Petulant OBESE child whose foot stomp has caused the floor to quake.

The arguments against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on soda have to do with our rights and our freedoms, and they are not new arguments.  I wish the internet was invented prior to the first bans on cigarettes and tobacco, the first seat belt laws, or even the first laws against drunk driving.  I would bet that if I dug up some old opinions on these, I could cross out the word cigarette, replace it with soda, and the text would read intact.

And yet, somehow we survived the cruelty and injustice of not having cigarettes advertised, not being able to smoke whenever and wherever we wanted.  Many of us our still smoking, but we are doing it outside, and probably a little less than we would have in days gone by.  We have all gotten used to it, and the encroachment into our freedom was not so oppressing after all, a small price to pay for our collective health, and our consciousness:  Do I REALLY need that cigarette?

We need people to start asking themselves that question about food.  It is to that point.  Actually, it is beyond that point.  It is now crucial that people ask themselves what they are eating and if they really need it.  This is where I could insert horrifying, jaw dropping statistics, where I could point to the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation” , show pictures of amusement park visitors not riding rides, but riding scooters, because they cannot walk.  THEY CANNOT WALK.  But I do not need to site these statistics and these facts because we all know it.  We see it every day, the most important visual of all:  people that are too fat and in desperate need of intervention.  Obese people are not a great argument for freedom as they hobble down the streets, knees about to give in, gasping for air, avoiding eye contact with their fellow Americans, clearly prisoners of their own bodies.  Obesity is like addiction:  no one wants to be an addict, no one wants to be obese, but it happens.  It is insidious, it creeps up until it is out of control and requires total intervention and help.

And we, as a society, are that help.  We are the peers that can put restrictions on foods that are causing such massive weight gain.  Why start with soda?  Because you have to start somewhere and soda is the easiest place to start.  The calories are totally empty, offer ZERO nutritional value and are thus completely disposable.  And, they add up!  There are people that regularly consume 2,000 calories a day of just sugary drinks.  2,000 calories!  STOP!  Help them stop.  And why should you?  Why is it your problem?  Because their obesity will affect you, it will affect society as a whole.  The cost of caring for the conditions associated with their obesity will cause your health insurance rates to double.  But, your Company pays for your health insurance?  Not when rates start to double.  You can expect your Company to pay less and less of your insurance premiums and expect you to pay the balance, just to keep up with the cost increases.

We need people to get healthy or we will all suffer.  We can start with soda, we can get a reasonable 16ounce drink, and when we have finished it, we can say, “do I really want another one?  Should I just munch on the ice?”  Maybe the answer is yes sometimes, and then we can get up and buy another drink.   But if it is no, even occasionally, that is a great start, a 500 calorie start to a conversation that we can have at every meal, “do I really need that much food?”   But, what about poor Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the poor multi-national conglomerates, how will they survive?  Don’t worry, they will adapt, they will find something else for us to buy.  Something with less lumps.

And, check out these ideas for healthy food alternatives , and ideas about what to order at restaurants.  Get low cost individual health insurance now.

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