Soda Ban

The Latest Misguided Attack on Sugary Drinks

Wheat, soy, dairy, and seafood make some people sick. Should we tax or ban those foods as a result?

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There may be no more contested food policy issue today than whether sugar-sweetened drinks like soda have expanded America's waistlines—and whether government has the authority to limit access to these drinks if they're found to be a culprit.

The latest research to address the issue came out late last week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). A trio of studies published there (found herehere, and here) conclude that sugar-sweetened drinks are a major driver of what New York Times food opinion writer Mark Bittman has taken to mischaracterizing as an "obesity pandemic." Furthermore, the studies suggest some segment of the population has a genetic predisposition toward obesity that is triggered by consuming sugary drinks.

While none of the three studies themselves address whether government has the authority to limit access to these beverages, that hasn't stopped many—including at least one study author—from suggesting the studies virtually mandate a host of policy prescriptions.

The Times reports, for example, that one of the studies' authors, Dr. David Ludwig, "said the finding only underscored the need for public policy changes," including "long-term, permanent changes in the environment for children."

"These randomized, controlled studies… provide a strong impetus to develop recommendations and policy decisions to limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages," writes Dr. Sonia Caprio in a NEJM editorial published alongside the studies.

Even the Association Press jumped on the bandwagon. "That adds weight to the push for taxes, portion limits like the one just adopted in New York City, and other policies to curb consumption of soda, juice drinks and sports beverages sweetened with sugar," writes the AP's Maryilynn Marchione.

Opponents of increased regulations—a group that includes many scientists, academics, policymakers, and advocates—note in reply that even as sales of full-calorie sodas decreased during the first decade of this century by more than 10 percent, obesity rates continued their rise. They also note that during that same period Americans drank 39 percent less added sugar in soda.

As an opponent of increased regulations, I find these latter scientific points noteworthy. But I also believe that even if sugar-sweetened drinks turn out to be virtually everything their opponents claim, people still have a right to buy and drink these beverages—just as much, as I argued in a recent Bloggingheads debate, as they have a right to buy a Big Mac. After all, we don't have a right to free speech or to travel from one state to another because speech or travel has been proven by the scientific community to promote good health.

But suppose, for the sake of argument, I was to take at face value the assertions of those who claim the NEJM studies justify some combination of sugary drink taxes and bans.

There is still this problem: The solutions these advocates propose won't likely solve the problem of obesity. For example, studies have suggested taxes will have little or no impact on obesity. And not one person has (to the best of my knowledge) even attempted to argue that soda bans would have any specific impact, either—unless one counts "sending a message" or "creating a debate" as conditions precedent to weight loss.

There is also the issue of a genetic predisposition, which again is one finding of the studies. Many people are genetically predisposed to certain food allergies—including soy, dairy, gluten, nuts, and seafood—and food intolerances. I have never seen a researcher or AP journalist like Marchione argue seriously that the widespread impact of food allergies "adds weight to the push for taxes" on wheat, tofu, and shrimp. Yet if one were to buy the argument of those calling for taxes and bans to combat consumption of sugary drinks in light of the NEJM studies, one would have to accept the idea of taxing society writ large based largely on the outcomes of what these researchers argue is a genetic condition.

Instead of a dystopian future of gene-based taxes and bans that likely won't curb obesity, government, industry, and consumers can help curb obesity in other ways.

The federal government should stop subsidizing sugar and corn (which gets turned into the sweetener high fructose corn syrup). Ending these subsidies is and always has been good policy—whether these sweeteners are unhealthy or not.

Beverage makers—who have every reason to believe that questions about public health are sure to continue spurring calls for new health regulations—are already looking ahead to what may become the next mainstream, calorie-free sweetener. 

And consumers can do what they've always been able to do—take hold of their own health and well-being by making those food choices they believe are right for them.

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  1. I pray one day the country’s leadership wises up and stops this ineffective battle to control what we eat and drink and instead simply culls from the population the obese among us so that we can be a fit society worthy of the label master race. Boom, Godwinned!

    1. You know who el…wait….oh, I see what you did there.

      Nevermind.

    2. One coudl do this novel thing where we don’t provide them with free healthcare, so they die from diesases brought on by obesity, and have to pay for their treatments themselves.

    3. Couldn’t we just raise some sickly skinny persons so as to reduce the avg. wt. of the pop.?

  2. I laugh at this as I sit like Jabba the Hut in my living room drinking Mountain Dew STRAIGHT FROM THE BOTTLE!

    Mwwwahahahahahahahaha!

  3. After all, we don’t have a right to … travel from one state to another because … travel has been proven by the scientific community to promote good health.

    Indeed, travel has been proven by the scientific community to be bad for your health.

  4. My 6’2″ stepson went from 300 lbs to 210 lbs in no time flat. When I asked him how he did it he said he simply stopped drinking cokes.

    No matter, we have the right to get as fat as houses if we wish. If the health nannies dont like paying for other people’s bad choices, then they should get off of the fucking hook.

    I know, I know, they put themselves on the hook for the very purpose of creating a pretense for control. God, I fucking hate them.

    1. I recently lost 11 lbs. in 1 mo. by getting shingles y taking tramadol. It’s not worth it. Neither is skipping Cokes. We’re fat because we like consuming these foods in these amounts more than we like being thin.

      1. I blew 36lbs out my ass in 3 weeks when I got giardia.

  5. But, but…sugary drinks are so nekulturny.

    1. They’re nekulturny because of the hoi-polloi that swill them. Starbucks is far worse for you, but Beautiful People wrap themselves around them, so no one’s trying to ban them.

  6. We don’t have a right to free speech or to travel from one state to another because speech or travel has been proven by the scientific community to promote good health.

    People’s rights do not exist at the whim of Progressives, but Progressives think they do.

    That’s why Progressives are America’s most horrible people.

  7. kulturkrieg

  8. Is there a right to sell addictive substances?

    1. Of course, so long as there’s a willing buyer and a willing seller.

      1. At a certain point the willing buyer isn’t rational. Isn’t the seller then taking advantage of the impaired thinking of the buyer? That seems wrong.

        1. Is the best course of action to ban the substances and get what we have now – people in jail and even dying because of government force?

          1. The punishment doesn’t have to be jail, does it?

            1. Sometimes SWAT takes care of the problem before it gets to a jail cell.

            2. I don’t trust concentrated power (government) to decide whether someone is rational when they buy an addictive substance (and therefore decide whether what the person is doing is legal). Practice shows that the government always expands its mandate into areas no one said it would go, and since it’s made up of fallible humans, it will always cause some injustice in the name of “making our lives better.”

              I would rather live with the downside of freedom of contract than put the power of choice (and force) in the hands of a few.

              1. Power is apparently VERY addictive.

          2. Impaired? Or enlightened?

        2. Irrational buying isn’t just limited to addictive substances. Do you really want to roll down a slope that steep?

          1. Dont encourage it, we will end up drowning in idiocy.

            1. Sorry, can’t quite tell if its a troll our just ignorant. Just need to needle it a bit more…

              1. methinks messican kenobi is probably a troll, maybe one of us just bored on Sat morning

          2. Selling addictive substances seems to be a very clear case of it. Not being able to fix everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fix anything.

            1. Define “fix.”

              1. “Define ‘fix.'”

                1) Threaten/extort whoever is practicing it.

                2) Hope it goes away.

            2. So we should ban cigarettes, all caffeinated drinks, and alcohol (amongst any number of other substances that are addictive)?

              How about legalizing things that aren’t addictive like marijuana or mushrooms or lsd?

              Your argument is monumentally stupid.

            3. Well hell Sage, if you are going to I guess I will join in . It is a slow day after all.

              So obi, Who is going to be the judge of what is and isnt irrational? What is and what isnt addictive? What ‘seems’ wrong to you might ‘seem’ right to me. As is often said around here, stop emoting and start thinking.

              You are using your personal feelings about things as a basis for telling me how to live my life? You dont have enough information about my personal circumstances to judge what I should or shouldnt be doing.

              1. The representative of the majority decides that, because politicians always represent their constituents and the majority is always right.

                It’s like you libertarians don’t understand how this whole democracy thing works.

            4. obijuan| 9.29.12 @ 10:42AM |#
              “Selling addictive substances seems to be a very clear case of it. Not being able to fix everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fix anything.”

              You know that riding bicycles is very dangerous, don’t you? I propose we ‘fix’ that. It’s easy.

          3. He’s gotb a point, buying addictive substances isn’t just “irrational” it is “coerced”. You’re addicted, you’re cooerced.

            Of course, the real slippery slope is in what counts as “addictive”. People use the word to refer ot anything from chocolate to heroin.
            When people say sugary drinks are “addictive” they’re drawing on what is really a kind of hyperbole that public health professional and few dietician throw around. Even in the scientific field there’s no good definition of what’s “addictive”. So if you start regulating based on “addictiveness” you’re going to incentivize people to basically start doing junk science to throw this veneer of credibility over tthe claim that something is addictive so it can be regulated.

            1. Who is doing the coercing? Yourself?

              1. Exactly! Arrest me occifer, I’m hooked on phonics!

            2. Whether addicted people should be free to impose their choices on the rest of us is another question entirely.

              If you answer that question by saying that addicts shouldn’t be free to impose their choices on the rest of us, then that should still leave people free from government coercion on their diets.

              If freedom lets fat people impose their choices on the rest of us by handing the taxpayers the bill for their healthcare, then that isn’t a good justification for the government to restrict what people can eat and drink.

              That’s a great reason why the taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for their healthcare.

              1. From ridiculing libertarian concerns about how letting the government pay for things will result in less freedom and fewer choices for ordinary people…

                It should be astounding to everyone how quickly Progressives go from that.

                …to calling for less freedom and fewer choices for ordinary people once the government starts paying for things.

              2. Your point is tangentially related to addiction to the state. It seems that people aren’t acting rationally when their survival depends on handouts; one might even say they are coerced by government conditions placed on handouts.

                The crappy OWS assertion that employment = slavery because employers place conditions on employees can be turned directly around to point the finger at government handouts. But *that’s different*, or some such BS.

            3. He doesn’t have a point and neither do you. Rationality is not the measure of whether someone decides for themselves. Only when that person is a threat to others and when you are actually defending yourself or a third party do you have a right to coerce that other person. Addiction is not a loophole for you to justify your intervention. You might not approve of the mental states of either the addict or the dealer but their problem is not any of your business, and when you make it your business, your become our problem.

              1. your become our problem

                1. Ken, what if something is addictive for everyone? Heroin for example, seems to be so addictive that everyone or almost everyone who uses it long enough or often enough will become addicted. Methamphetamines fall in this category as well.
                  Some people quit but it frequently requires assistance from others, and involves physiological effects such as nausea, shakes, etc. Not just strong cravings.

                  I think it might be possible to define addiction more narrowly to only contain drugs that are addictive to pretty much everyone and physically addictive. But nobody has done this yet.

                  db: I totally agree about the handouts. IMO, if you are dependent on other people, you are less free. Isn’t that the whole point of the term “financial independence”? People , at least those who care about their freedom, stive to be financially independent so they aren’t constrained by other people decision to give them a handout or not.

                  Problem is we have a huge class of people who are dependent on handouts who really want to restrict OTHER people’s freedom so they can have more. They want people to be forced to give them handouts so they’ll get the money and not have to worry about the conditions on it.

                  1. Hazel,

                    I see these as two different questions, and I’m answering them both the same way.

                    Question 1: Should people be free to do things to their own detriment?

                    Answer 1: People should be free to do as they like so long as they don’t impose their choices on the rest of us.

                    Question 2: Should we restrict people’s choices if what they’re doing imposes a financial burden on the the taxpayers?

                    Answer 2: If imposing a burden on the taxpayers means restricting people’s choices, then we shouldn’t impose that burden on the taxpayers.

                    People choose to do self-destructive things all the time, and I think that’s very sad.

                    People take our freedoms away all the time in order to try to protect us from self-destructive behavior, and I think that’s unjust.

                    1. Ken,
                      I’m really just addressing the narrow issue of whether it’s permissible to prohibit (or regulate) the sale of addictive substances.

                      If a substance is addictive, then the person doing the buying is coerced. You could say that the selling has imposed HIS choice (buy my product) upon the addict.

                      The seller could be prevented from selling an addictive substance, because getting people addicted amounts to forcing them to purchase your product.

                    2. “I’m really just addressing the narrow issue of whether it’s permissible to prohibit (or regulate) the sale of addictive substances.”

                      And I’m saying I covered that just fine. In practice, there’s no exception there. People choose to do things they become addicted to all the time. Some people are addicted to nicotine, and some people choose to quit despite their addiction every day. I’ve met people who used to shoot heroin and don’t do it anymore.

                      I question how effective the government is in preventing people from trying something addictive anyway, but even beyond that, I value freedom from government interference more than whatever good the government does by limiting our choices. I feel that way about everything pretty much…

                      I’d risk another terrorist attack rather than have the government torture people. Even if the right to own a gun did lead to more violence, I’d rather have the freedom to own a gun anyway. I’d rather live in a world with more drug addicts than have the government circumscribing my choices–even if I would never, ever choose to shoot heroin…

                      I guess that’s what makes me libertarian. It really isn’t a utility thing for me–liberty brings qualitative advantages that can never show up in anybody’s statistics. Utility stuff is just icing on the cake. I’d rather there were fewer drug addicts from a humanitarian standpoint, but then I value individual freedom from a humanitarian standpoint, too.

                    3. The seller could be prevented from selling an addictive substance, because getting people addicted amounts to forcing them to purchase your product.

                      Even if it worked the way you think, what’s to stop them from purchasing it from someone else instead?

                  2. Heroin for example, seems to be so addictive that everyone or almost everyone who uses it long enough or often enough will become addicted.

                    “Become”? “Addicted” is just a word for using it long y often enough.

                    1. Precisely. Although (she?) doesn’t see it, Hazel has thoroughly bought into the “addiction” trope, which assigns a near-magical quality to the “addictive” power attributed to certain drugs ? heroin being the first and foremost example.

                      Back in reality, many heroin addicts report that nicotine is even more addicting still, and yet somehow even more cigarette smokers quit cold turkey and never look back (I’ve done it myself).

                      Face it… addiction is a choice. It’s a choice at the onset, and it’s a choice as it’s ongoing.

                      I’m not trying to downplay the difficulty that some individuals have exercising self-control over their substance-dependent tendencies; I also have close, personal experience with this as well. I’ve seen firsthand how a person can let their life fall apart before they bring themselves to exercise this control…

                      But it’s still a choice. IF they choose to quit, then they may. It may not be an easy choice, but much in life that we must do is not easy. Heroin does not materialize out of the nether and force a syringe into their arms.

                      And plenty of people fail to exercise willpower over things which are not even remotely addictive. For instance, many people fail to exercise, as they are too lazy to get into the routine. They may, in fact, never exercise this control, although it would certainly be to their benefit. Is this coercion? Is laziness somehow preventing them, by force, from adopting a different lifestyle?

                      It is not coercion. Not even close.

                    2. I just noticed how ambiguous my overuse of the word “exercise” rendered it. Note that in the sentence, “For instance, many people fail to exercise…” I am referring to, you know, cardiovascular exercise.

            4. Sorry, but that’s BS. Addicts have the choice of ending their addiction. It’s not like they don’t know they have said addiction and it’s not like they don’t know it’s a bad choice.

        3. At a certain point the willing buyer isn’t rational. Isn’t the seller then taking advantage of the impaired thinking of the buyer? That seems wrong.

          At a certain point, using the power of the state to impose your own preferences on other people seems wrong.

          In fact, imposing your preferences on other people is the essential definition of crimes like rape and armed robbery.

          Do you imagine that using the government to impose your preferences on other people somehow makes it okay? It doesn’t.

          Refusing to recognize the immorality of imposing your own preferences on others, that’s what makes Progressives America’s most horrible people.

          1. Refusing to recognize the immorality of imposing your own preferences on others, that’s what makes Progressives Progresservatives America’s most horrible people.

            1. Cultural conservatives do it, typically, because they think it’s the natural order of things…

              Progressives think that imposing their own preferences on other people is a good thing because it’s imposing their own preferences on other people.

              Cultural conservatives think the government should protect the traditional way of life, but Progressives think that imposing Progressive preferences on other people is the whole purpose of government.

              Cultural conservatives may have some weird ideas about what our rights are, but they will admit that we have rights and that our rights exist despite what the government wants.

              But to Progressives, imposing their own preferences on other people is what being Progressive is all about. They don’t think your rights exist unless the government approves of them…and that is what makes Progressives America’s most horrible people.

        4. “Addiction” is just learning with stigma attached.

  9. And consumers can do what they’ve always been able to do?take hold of their own health and well-being by making those food choices they believe are right for them.

    But, but, Baylen, that’s just too hard! I mean, choices? And having to make them?!

  10. The right wing is having aneurisms right now.

    Canadian convicted terrorist Omar Khadr is back in Canada after a decade in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a year after he was eligible for repatriation.

    1. Khadr should be pushing up daisies over in dumbfuckistan. Why we capture people on the battlefield and then treat them as if it is a criminal matter is beyond me.

      It is a fucking war. You kill the enemy. You destroy their infrastructure.

      Having said that, I strongly believe we have no business in dumbfuckistan. We should have gone there, bombed and shot the taliban to hell, and left within a year.

      1. Better yet, we should just nuke the Middle East.

        1. Better yet, we should just nuke the Middle East planet

          only way to be sure

  11. Yes, we should also ban that evil rock and roll to stop teenage promiscuity. After we ban rap to prevent gang violence. If it saves just child it will be worth it.

    1. I don’t think there’s any question but that drinking soft drinks makes people fatter.

      I do think there’s some moral hazard at work here, though.

      Once you’re a lard ass, you don’t really have to worry about getting even fatter–since the government is going to pay for your healthcare anyway.

      The real solution to that isn’t trying to restrict people’s choices on something like soft drinks. The solution to that moral hazard is to take away the government guarantee.

      1. It’s an interesting idea…

        Restrict access to Medicaid based on age and BMI.

        We could make exceptions for specific conditions that tend to skew BMI. That is, codes that aren’t caused by diet and lack of exercise.

        1. People could become eligible for Medicaid again–once they get they lose some weight.

          I mean, y’all know I’d rather get rid of Medicare and Medicaid entirely, but this would be a step in that direction…

          More personal responsibility is better–especially if the alternative is less freedom for individuals.

        2. Restrict access to Medicaid based on age and BMI.

          At a certain point, making medicaid eligibility rules more complex doesn’t help.

          It’s the whole technocratic conceit again. If we just tweak the rules a little more we can perfect this vast complex system.

          “Technocracy” is the second Byzantium.

          1. You already have to get clearance before you get one of those procedures anyway.

            Like I said, I’d rather do without the whole Medicaid experience anyway, but cutting the expense of things like triple bypasses–for people who refused to lose weight over a period of, sometimes, decades more than pays for whatever reprogramming we’d have to do to deny payment for self-induced problems.

            We may HAVE to go there before we can get rid of the whole thing.

            1. It would be nice if we’d just say Medicaid only pays for basic, preventive healthcare for kids and adults capable of working. Just cut out major life-threatening diseases entirely.

      2. I think there’s a huge question of that. I knew a guy who drank probably 3 liters (no joke) of Coke a day, as part of his 5500 kcal/day diet. He is 6’6″ and thin as a rail because he runs miles and miles a day. Drinking soft drinks doesn’t make people fatter.

        Poor energy balance management makes people fatter.

        1. But it’s not like rock and roll and teenage promiscuity. It’s not like rap music and gang membership.

          Soft drinks leading to obesity isn’t like rock and roll leading to heavy petting. All indications are that teens are promiscuous because they’re teens–not becasue of rock and roll.

          Soft drinks–for the overwhelming majority of adults–really do contribute to obesity. Whether the government should restrict our diets accordingly is another question entirely.

          1. That really is the rub of it. People who allow themselves to get fat are making a tradeoff between their comfort and aesthetic choices versus their health. Runners make a tradeoff between what they believe to be good for their over all health and what exposure to the sun does to their skin (also, the extra oxidation from running may contribute to aging). Most runners I know look like crap. Got a friend my same age who runs everyday and he looks like a skinny old man with premature graying. Karen Da Koster is renown for her real environment exercise high cardio lifestyle. Seen her with my own eyes and I would not her for her skin for any amount of money. I lift weights and hike but avoid high stress cardio, haven’t noticeably aged in twenty years.

            But that is indeed the rub, every breath you take is a tradeoff.

      3. Sugary beverages were not a problem until the government banned cocaine from the manufacturing process. People stopped burning off as much sugar as they were before the ban, so what we are witnessing is just another government solution to another government created problem.

        1. The Cocaine Diet. Awesome!

        2. Sugary beverages weren’t such a problem until adults started drinking them en masse and people’s lives became increasingly sedentary. It’s happening elsewhere in the world, too.

          China says one of its biggest new health problems is type 2 diabetes.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432111

          That was almost unheard of in China before–back when everybody was working on a farm. Hell, back when I was bailing hay everyday or stocking drywall for a living, I drank two liters of Pepsi everyday myself. And women found me irresistible.

          Well, they still do, but I don’t drink two liters of Pepsi everyday anymore.

          1. We were pretty much making the same popint at the same time. I just disagree with you that sugary drinks are the big culprit. Like I say belwo, yes there are some really large folks that could losr weight cutting out the sugar. But I just know way too many typically overweight people that do not drink that stuff. If you really you want to cut calorie consumption just ban restaurants. Portion sizes are for three people not one. Do you want fries on the side or fries? We also have fries. We do have healthy alternatives. Heres a bowl of lettuce that’s sure to satisfy you.

            1. These overweight people who don’t drink sugary drinks… do they eat sugary foods?

              Are they having fruit loops for breakfast? Or muffins, or pastries? Are they snacking on candy like licorice strips or pixie sticks?

              Side note: almost all fruity yogurt, even the “greek” kind, is sweetened with extra sugar, corn syrup, or even pure fructose.

          2. Of course, I was mostly kidding about the cocaine offsetting the sugar. How long would your metabolism have to be elevated from the cocaine to offset the extra sugar for a two liter bottle I can only hazard to guess.

            1. If I were twenty again I would jump on that experiment right away. Anything for science.

              1. Anything for coke, you mean. 🙂

          3. Ken Shultz| 9.29.12 @ 12:51PM |#

            Sugary beverages weren’t such a problem until adults started drinking them en masse

            ARRRRGGG!! ‘Sugary Beverages’ consumption peaked in the early ’90s. The reason fuckers are so fat is a) demographics, and b) behavior. The fact is fucking videogames, aging sedentary white middle americans, latinos and blacks are prime drivers of the “obesity” epidemic. There’s plenty of young healthy people out there scarfing down mountain dew every day and they aint ‘fat’ because they bloody burn those calories off. Blaming soda for fat people is an absurd red herring, and the debate about it is largely driven by the fact that politicians love an oversimplified gesture of authority that pretends they’re “doing something”. Its fucking “shoe removal in the airport”-tactics.

            1. “Blaming soda for fat people is an absurd red herring”

              I’m not blaming sodas for fat people, but if you don’t think sodas are contributing to a lot of fat people fatter, then you’re just pretending.

              Just because I don’t think the government should be involved in something doesn’t mean I have to pretend it isn’t a problem.

              1. I’m not blaming sodas for fat people, but if you don’t think sodas are contributing to a lot of fat people fatter, then you’re just pretending.

                It’s not soda. Like he mentioned, it’s calories-in vs calories-out that’s the problem. Restrict or take away the soda and the same people will still be fat.

                1. np is turning it into a false dilemma (or at the very least a straw man).

                  Ken has been quite clear that he’s not suggesting any of this is remotely close to reason to “restrict or take away the soda”.

                  He’s simply pointing out that soda IS a major contributor to obesity.

                  If you take out the straw man/false dilemma, your statement becomes “if they drink less soda the same people will be fat”. This, however, is patently false, if only in in some/many cases. I myself went from being 202 pounds down to 176 (over quite a few months) making not a single lifestyle change than switching to unsweet tea and the occasional diet soda. Soda made me fat. And quitting drinking it got me back where I ought to be again. That’s just the black-and-white of what happened.

                  That’s not the same thing as saying we ought to go ahead and ban or restrict sugary soda. I personally don’t drink it. I have friends with a better BMI than myself who do. So f’in what?

                  1. And yes, of course, you could say, “actually, what made you fat was imbalance of calories in/calories out”. And yes, of course, that would be correct.

                    But that doesn’t change the fact that soda all by itself made the surplus in my caloric intake. And that is also going to be true for some other folks as well. That’s all Ken was saying. And he’s 100% correct.

                    Next time you want to dissociate soda from “calories in”, take a look at the back of a can of coke, and then consider how many of those you could drink in a day.

                    But, again, so what? That doesn’t mean the government needs to be regulating soda sugar content. Your conflation of the one argument with the other simply engenders fallacy.

      4. Well there is a whole lot of overweight people out there that only drink diet pop and water. Most fat pople don’t want to be fat. There are certainly some morbidly obese people who plainy don’t give a shit and would lose weight just laying off the coke and hoho’s, but I think they are in the minority. Also, lack of physical activity is probably as much if not more to blame than sugary and fatty food and drink. We’re not all farmers any more. Hel, even farmers have machines that do most of the hard phsycal labor now days. Are we going to pay for gym memberships for fat people? Do we fine them if they don’t go? As far as sugery drinks and hoho’s, I’d be willing to bet that a good portion of those are consumed by wirey skinny teenagers that burn a thousand calories an hour. I disagree with your comment about free health care being an incentive to not worry about losing weight. Not that I’m for free health care, but the diet industry would not be so huge if people just didn’t care about their weight.

        1. Well, a lot of chubby people are worried about their weight.

          In Manhattan Beach, out on the Strand, the competition among females is intense. Those aren’t the people I’m talking about. I’m not talking about women who are worried that their buts will look big.

          I’m talking about people who are doing things like eating themselves into type 2 diabetes. To oversimplify only slightly–type 2 diabetes is heart disease, and it’s entirely preventable for the overwhelming majority of people.

          In fact, a lot of people, when they first learn they have it, can get rid of it by losing the weight! They make you drink that concentrated orange soda in the doctor’s office, and then they draw some blood. The test comes back indicating type 2 diabetes, and then they tell the patient–here’s what’s going to happen to you eventually if you don’t lose the weight…

          And then, usually, the patients go home, sit on the couch after work, and keep stuffing their fat faces.

          At some point, that behavior is no longer the taxpayer’s responsibility. And I can’t help but wonder that if there were some additional inducement–like if you want us to keep paying for your healthcare, then you need a BMI of x? It might actually help.

          No, we will not pay for your triple bypass. You had ten years to lose the weight, and now you want us to pay for your choices? Here’s a list of local hospices.

          I prefer that to a society where the government restricts our freedom to buy whatever food we want.

          1. In honor of the impending heat wave, I will have to go check the strand for you today (right after I watch Cal lose). I will get back to you if I see any big butts….

          2. “No, we will not pay for your triple bypass. You had ten years to lose the weight, and now you want us to pay for your choices? Here’s a list of local hospices.” You just summed up why Libertarians will never be more than a 3rd party. Simply stunning.

        2. A lot of obese people probably started out as fat kids, because they had shitty obese parents with poor diets, and then when they hit 25 and their metabolism slowed they just ballooned like crazy.

          When your a kid, you don’t really have a choice what you’re going to eat – you eat what your parents eat – and you aren’t aware of the consequences of it until it is too late.

          Plus, you probably get picked on in school , which gives you a big emotional complex about it. You get low self-esteem, get depressed, and that makes it harder to put in the effort to lose the weight.

          Is there anything that can be done about it?
          Number one, I’d start by eliminating hot lunches in school. Not like Michelle Obama’s plan to turn all the lunches into something s hipster would eat at a manhatten vegan bistro, but just stop serving hot meals entirely. Have a sandwich line, some soups and a salad bar.

          I never understand why some people seem to think that weight can be lost by eating more expensive food. Just eat LESS food. It’ll save you money, and you’ll lose weight.

          1. “I never understand why some people seem to think that weight can be lost by eating more expensive food”

            I don’t know why people keep spreading the myth that eating healthy is more expensive. It’s not, at all.

  12. Wissenschaft macht frei

  13. But why do people drink these sweetened beverages to begin with? Simply: we like bitter (and stimulating) and sour drinks, and we need sweeteners to mellow them out. Do you think it would be any different if we had to add our own sweeteners to colas, root beers, lemonades, etc. — the way we do to coffee, tea, and cocoa? I’m sure people would add about the same amount of sweetener as the commercial makers do.

    Try selling plain sugar water. You’d get nowhere, and it would revolt most consumers, even children. Same if you tried to sell water sweetened with aspartame or whatever. Someone might take a nip of that or of sugar water, and have to chase it with a lot of plain water. So it’s not a sweet tooth that drives demand for soft drinks.

  14. I get headaches when I don’t drink enough soda. Can I get a medical waiver and go to a soda dispensery or something? Or will the feds raid those too?

  15. Ludwig, “said the finding only underscored the need for public policy changes,” including “long-term, permanent changes in the environment for children.”

    Euphemisms abound. Chilling.

  16. Misguided? Attack? Do you people have any idea how moronic this all looks from the outside? Fine, protect a kid’s right to drink as much Coke as they want, but you don’t have to put the machines in school, ffs. Teach kids about moderation, about healthy eating, parents lead by example. It’s not rocket surgery. Stop acting like a bunch of whining dumb hicks, and grow up. Use some fucking common sense, everything is not a 1st amendment battle, or an attack on your liberties.

    1. everything is not a 1st amendment battle, or an attack on your liberties.

      The mayor of New York City deciding what portion sizes are appropriate for adults really is an attack on their liberties.

      It really is.

      Why pretend otherwise?

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09…..a-ban.html

      P.S. What’s next?

    2. Try reading a bit more carefully. All that is being said is that laws or regulations restricting soda consumption are bad/immoral/stupid/ineffective.

      You are arguing with things no one has said, and no one disagrees with kids understanding moderation and healthy eating.
      You also seem to think this will only affect school kids; it will, in fact, affect everyone.

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