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Steve Lunetta: Sweet-drink ban proposal leaves sour taste

Right About Now

Posted: June 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Has it really come to this?

Last week, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York (aka, the San Francisco of the East), proposed a law that would make illegal the sale of drinks "sweetened with sugar or another caloric sweetener that contain more than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces and contains less than 51 percent milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient."

Apparently, the law only impacts drinks greater than 16 ounces sold by restaurants, mobile food carts, movie theaters and delis.

Supporters of the law claim that it is meant to combat a growing trend in the United States toward obesity. They cite statistics such as "58 percent of all New Yorkers are obese" and "40 percent of all New York school children are afflicted similarly" (Reuters, May 30).

I don't doubt that obesity is a growing trend in the U.S. However, we need to examine the causes for obesity to understand the problem better. The solutions we decide upon need to be reasonable and (although this is a shock to most liberals) must conform to our laws and culture.

Outlawing the sale of sugary beverages is not reasonable. Does anyone remember back in the 1920s when our government tried to outlaw alcoholic beverages? How did that turn out?

I can see the growth of an entire subculture of Dr. Pepper Capones running in the streets. Speakeasies will emerge where you have to say the password "Fanta" to get in.

There will be murder and mayhem in the streets as soda gangs battle for sugary supremacy.

And Americans will still drink soda.

Seriously, let's think about this. Even if this law gets passed, how effective will it be? A patron to a restaurant could easily buy two 16-ounce sodas as opposed to one. The restaurant could easily offer a "sale" on soda - for example, McDonalds is currently selling all size sodas for a buck.

Most eating joints now don't even bother to give you a drink. They hand you a cup, point to the soda machine and say "help yourself." This is because they determined long ago that it was cheaper to allow you to drink your fill of soda than having someone make drinks for you.

If you can use a 16-ounce drink and refill the cup as many times as you want, what good is Bloomberg's new law?

Further, most hot dog carts that I have seen in major cities sell soda in 12-ounce cans. Soda is not sold in massive Big Gulps.

If the law doesn't really curb soda consumption, what good is it? It only serves to hurt revenues of certain businesses that do not have the creativity or flexibility to serve soda in ways that avoid the law.

How long will it be before New York officials eye other sizes of soft drinks? If controlling greater than 16 ounces is good, controlling all sizes will be great! Think of all the healthy people it will make.

I did a little research. Minute Maid orange juice has 110 calories in an eight-ounce serving. Langers apple juice has 120 calories in an eight-ounce serving.

Organic vanilla soy milk has 120 calories per eight-ounce serving. All of these "unhealthy" drinks violate the first part of the New York ordinance.

Moms, forget giving apple juice to your little ones. It's bad. OJ for fighting colds? Nope. And all you health nuts out there can kiss your organic vanilla soy milk goodbye. Because government knows best for you.

Hey, Mayor Mike, instead of forcing New Yorkers to do what you want, why don't you try asking them nicely? What about showing them the data and letting them decide? Like adults.

There was an invention a few years ago that New York is very familiar with. It's called advertising. If you are greatly concerned about the health effects of soda, you can share your statistics on billboards, radio and television spots, newspapers, Twitter, Facebook, or a website (like, sodawillkillyou.com).

Make your case publicly and let the people decide. Of course, this comes into direct conflict with how liberal government wonks think. They hold the belief that government must force us to do what they consider is right.

Conservatives, on the other hand, think that we should be allowed to decide for ourselves. We believe that Americans are smart enough to make beverage decisions for themselves and not be told what to drink by a government nanny.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Placerita Canyon and is guarding his 1-liter Coke with a 12 gauge. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

 

 

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