The Great Big Soda Debate
The citizens of Anchorage in Alaska have refused to follow the New York example and limit the size of sodas for sale in the city. The mayor of the Big Apple put forward the idea that his overweight citizens could no longer be trusted to choose the right size soda for themselves and must be prohibited from overindulging in their favorite sugary beverages. However, the residents of Anchorage, when asked, decided to keep the power of choice as big as possible and will continue to be able to buy 16+ ounces.
Health Risks of Excessive Sugar Consumption
Not so in New York where many consumers admit to being incapable of saying ‘regular’ rather than ‘super size’. Everyone it seems is aware of the health risk of immoderate sugar consumption but still do it every day. Most youngsters would go along with this 12 year olds position on this issue…”Coca Cola is the best, but it does rot your teeth and I don’t care too much.”
Large Sodas as a Cause of Obesity?
Michael Bloomberg holds the big drinks as the main cause of obesity in his city and health officials in Alaska can go along with proposition, to some extent. Lauri Ek-Watson, a professional dietitian with Providence Alaska Medical Center, said an XXL drink can add up to 3 or four times the sugar intake of standard servings. “In a single year, if one drank one Coca Cola per day, you could put on 15 pounds…With the 16-ounce drinks that would be 45 pounds per annum for the average person.”
There are almost as many consumer viewpoints as there are consumers. One Anchorage resident says, “I avoid sodas. Those are treats, it’s not an everyday thing at all. It’s artificial; it’s not natural; it’s not hydrating; I mean, what’s the point?” Clearly, such a person has no difficulty saying no to the marketing blandishments of the drink’s manufacturers, unlike the less rational view of the 12-year-old.
Ek-Watson is on the side of public health and equates the consumer’s choice issues with life-and-death decisions. “It greatly affects how long they live and how good they feel,” she has said. “That’s the big thing: If you don’t feel good because you’re overweight, then you don’t think as well, and you don’t have as good a lifestyle.” However, she is not blind to the difficulties of changing consumption patterns because of health concerns. People do not want to be told what to do.
Increasing Consumption of Sugar over the Past 25 Years
Butt, and it’s some very big butts; the consumption of sugar in the US has rocketed in the last quarter century. Not all down to supersize sodas or even standard-size sodas. Sugar and corn syrup are in everything from coffee, juices, energy re-hydrates and even smoothies. The problem is much bigger than movie buckets of Sprite.
It would be unfair and probably unconstitutional to legislate for just one part of one market. Everyone should take individual responsibility to limit the sugary beverage to an occasional treat and substitute water for soda on a daily basis Especially in New York which has one of the best-quality water supplies on the Planet.