Food Labeling

San Francisco Vs. Soft Drinks

An elected official is trying to protect you from unsavory hucksters peddling empty illusions to profit from your gullibility. Maybe it takes one to know one.

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Credit: poolie / photo on flickr

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has something it wants to say: Fizzy sugar water can make you fat and rot your teeth. 

I'll pause while you pick yourself off the floor, where you landed in shock at this blinding revelation. Until now, you have probably been pouring Mountain Dew on your organic hemp granola in the belief that it contains only nutrients that are vital to your health. So processing the news may take a minute. 

Actually, the supervisors don't so much want to say that as they want to make someone else say it—namely, the companies that make these products. Under an ordinance approved by the board and awaiting action by the mayor, billboards and other ads for most beverages with added sugar would have to carry a large, ominous message: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay." Skull and crossbones to follow. 

There are several things wrong with the warning. One is that it ought to be delivered by Captain Obvious. In theory, there could be people who regard high-calorie carbonated drinks as a fountain of youth or a cancer cure, but good luck finding one. Anyone with the intellectual capacity to operate a vending machine probably understands that Dr Pepper is not actually prescribed by doctors. 

Another flaw in the warning is that it's misleading. Beverages with added sugar can cause weight gain and dental problems. But the same can be said of beverages without added sugar. 

Josh Bloom, director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health, says: "Twelve ounces of orange juice contains 36 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 144 calories. If somehow, there was such a thing as an orange without sugar, if you took the juice from it and added 36 grams of sugar, you would have a drink that is identical to orange juice that you now buy. Yet, under this law, the latter drink would have to be labeled and the former would not." 

There is also not much reason to believe that barraging consumers with information leads to better choices. A survey found that when New York City compelled fast-food restaurants to post the calorie content of menu items, just 28 percent of consumers said the new data influenced what they ordered. 

And those people may be fooling themselves. The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found that the average diner's calorie tally stayed the same after the law came into being. 

A study of Starbucks outlets in New York concluded that posting calories did reduce the average number of calories ingested, but only slightly—from 247 to 232. In a country where the average person scarfs more than 2,000 calories a day, the change is monumentally inconsequential. 

"There are very few cases where social scientists have documented that giving people information has changed their behavior very much," Carnegie Mellon University economist George Loewenstein told The New York Times last year. "Changing prices and changing convenience have big impact. Providing information doesn't." 

The San Francisco measure holds even less promise. The menu labels in New York provide information that most people wouldn't have—how many calories they would ingest with a particular item. But the sugary-drink warning would tell consumers only what they already know: Guzzling sweet liquids can have regrettable side effects over time. 

That knowledge may explain why, as a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found, "the consumption of added sugars in the United States decreased between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, primarily because of a reduction in soda consumption." 

Those who resist the trend are acting not out of ignorance but out of preference. They aren't likely to suddenly change their ways just because the city expresses disapproval. 

Expressing disapproval seems to be the main point. After the vote, Supervisor Scott Wiener, the author of the bill, needed an extension ladder to mount his high horse. 

"Today, San Francisco has sent a very clear message that we need to do more to protect our community's health," he proclaimed. "Requiring health warnings on soda ads also makes clear that these drinks aren't harmless—indeed, quite the opposite—and that the puppies, unicorns and rainbows depicted in soda ads aren't reality." 

Yes, San Franciscans, an elected official is trying to protect you from unsavory hucksters peddling empty illusions to profit from your gullibility. Maybe it takes one to know one. 

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Did coca cola, refuse to cut him a check?

    1. Coca Cola is too busy cutting checks to the Federal gov, 50 state govs, and another 200+ countries govs. Corruption is hard work, you can’t expect Coca Cola to work with every local government too now?

  2. “These drinks aren’t harmless” Neither are scum sucking fucks like you, wiener.

    1. I laugh every time I think of my many trips to San Francisco.

      I can’t remember how many times I had to dodge a hobo in the tenderloin with his body covered in toxic bodily fluids and a pocketful of dirty needles, yet the Re spending their enemies fighting sugary sodas and putting a net under a bridge.

      Methinks that even for nannies their priorities are out of whack.

  3. MUST BAN THINGSZ
    Labelz everywherez
    Precautionary principle!?!

  4. Guzzling sweet liquids can have regrettable side effects over time.

    Like reaching your 50th wedding anniversary?

  5. and that the puppies, unicorns and rainbows depicted in soda ads aren’t reality.”

    He lost me. Is he saying puppies and rainbows don’t exist? I mean, I know unicorns went extinct, but what happened to the puppies?

    1. I mean, I know unicorns went extinct, but what happened to the puppies?

      Between all the licensing requirements and cleanliness ordinances in SF, it’s likely so costly and inconvenient to have a puppy in San Francisco that I suspect Scott Weiner might think they’ve gone extinct.

      1. *slaps self on forehead*
        Of course!

      2. I saw a rainbow once, I followed it to the tax assessor’ office.

    2. And Noah looked out through the driving rain,
      The puppies were hiding, playing silly games!

      1. Not sure why my name change didn’t take. But it looks like everything is good now.

      2. And then they were killed by global climate change!

    3. I’ve always wanted to go drink a Coke with those cute polar bears and now San Francisco says that it’s not safe.

  6. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

  7. “Today, San Francisco has sent a very clear message, that there us no aspect of your life that our interfering, arrogant, stupid politicians willl not meddle in.”

    1. I think government buildings should come with a warning label.

      “Warning: Governmental paternalism can lead to higher taxes and more onerous legislation.”

      1. “Warning: Governmental paternalism can will certainly lead to higher taxes and more onerous legislation.”

        Fixed it

  8. Skull and crossbones to follow.

    Mmmmm, Pirate Soda….

    1. Instead of burping after you drink it, it makes you go, “ARRRRRRGH!”

      1. Maybe someone spiked it with Ex-Lax.

  9. After the vote, Supervisor Scott Wiener, the author of the bill, needed an extension ladder to mount his high horse.

    “Today, San Francisco has sent a very clear message that we need to do more to protect our community’s health,” he proclaimed. “Requiring health warnings on soda ads also makes clear that these drinks aren’t harmless?indeed, quite the opposite?and that the puppies, unicorns and rainbows depicted in soda ads aren’t reality.”

    /Quietly prepares woodchipper.

  10. I’m sitting here drinking a Mountain Dew as we read this (the regular kind – All The Sugar, Twice the Caffeine?)….and Wiener’s a liar.

    As soon as I cracked open that bottle, a puppy and TWO unicorns came into my office, and not one, not two, but THREE rainbows appeared outside my office window, despite there being no rain recently.

    So – suck it, Wiener. You’re a fucking LIAR.

    Gotta run – I gotta get these unicorns and the puppy outta here before they take a dump or something.

    1. Save that unicorn shit! You can sell it to the HSR Authority since that’s what they’ve projected the trains to run on.

      1. Fuck that, it’s time to make some steaks!

          1. Cow pie for dessert.

    2. How many Mountain Dews have you had this morning?

    3. All The Sugar, Twice the Caffeine?

      Wasn’t that Jolt Cola’s slogan?

  11. Taboola after I finished my last comment:

    “Twenty Spiders That Everyone Should Be Terrified Of”

    Um – ALL of them?

    1. Only two species of spider are dangerous in Florida.
      *turns and stares at IVH*

        1. i am the invisible venomous hand

  12. Anybody here remember, even vaguely, an ad or ads that Big Tobacco ran warning that if the anti-smoking nuts were allowed to hound them in court, ban their ads, and otherwise attack them for harms everybody knew were associated with their product then junk food was next? Remember how the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive establishment mocked the idea?

    Lesson; when somebody being attacked by the nannies makes a prediction about where such things will go next, and the LIRPs poo-poo it, that only means they weren’t going to do that tomorrow. The next day??? That’s another matter.

    BTW; does anybody know this f’ing busybody’s position of marijuana? I mean he could be in favor of legal pot, and against sugar or he might be a nagging nanny about both. I’m just curious.

    The one thing he won’t be is reasonable.

    1. I don’t think it was Small Tobacco (as opposed to Big Government) that did it; it was various pundits of a certain stripe. But yes, I remember those arguments being made 30 years ago.

      1. I remember it vividly. They were people making this argument and were dismissed outright for being such bad people and not caring about the children.

        Now look.

      2. I can clearly remember a newspaper ad, paid for by the tobacco companies, and the derision heaped on it by the LIRPs. “Look how desperate there are!”, they pundits said.

        I bet of we started talking about monitoring the harm done by the smoke from Patchouli incense, they’d have a cow.

    2. Slippery slope!

      We slide all the way down!

  13. “Requiring health warnings on soda ads also makes clear that these drinks aren’t harmless?indeed, quite the opposite?and that the puppies, unicorns and rainbows depicted in soda ads aren’t reality.”

    Very well. Let’s require warnings on legislators.

  14. “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

    AND: They contribute to a long happy life.

    HEALTH WARNING: Audio auto start!

    1. Dr Pepper comes in a can so you have something to puke in when your done.

      1. If it’s good enough for Johny 5, it’s good enough for you Straffinrun.

      2. Dr Pepper comes in a can because his wife died ten yrs ago.

        1. He should let Prince Albert out first. Unless he’s into that kind of thing.

    2. Or don’t preclude a long happy life, anyway.

  15. The longer the panic over a supposed Obesity “epidemic” (how do you have an epidemic of a non-communicable non-disease?) goes on, the more I am inclined to the view that what is happening is that body fashion is changing, and the (previously) Beautiful People are freaking out. All their live they have sweated over and poured money into being skinny. And now being skinny is becoming pass?.

    Somebody needs to tell them that everybody under forty (and most of us over that mark) has thought they were has beens for a long time. Get. Over. It.

    Gods, I am so tired of the neurotic nonsense of the Boomer generation. And I am one.

  16. Ounce to ounce orange juice and pasta have more carbohydrate content than Coke. The government doesn’t belong telling people what they should and shouldn’t eat period. Just another attempt to control and tax people in the name of ‘saving’ them. Don’t know about anyone else but I’ve been ‘saved’ half to death.

    1. People are way too convinced that “natural” == good. I suppose fruit juice is a bit better for you than soda because it has vitamins and shit. But sugar is sugar and most fruit juice has just as much sugar as most sodas.

      1. Natural=Good is one of the biggest cons perpetrated in the 20th Century, a period known for thundering impositions on Truth. Arsenic is natural. Botulism is natural. Murder of the alpha male, followed by infanticide and rape, is natural for social apes. Natural is overrated.

        1. That seemed to come out of the environmental movement ca. 1970. It was something like, “This is good for nature.” Why should I care? “Uh…because nature is good for you.” I see. Then it took on a life of its own.

        2. 20% THC pot is supernatural, i guess.

      2. I suppose fruit juice is a bit better for you than soda because it has vitamins

        Oh, good.

        and shit.

        Uh, never mind.

      3. I suppose fruit juice is a bit better for you than soda because it has vitamins and shit.

        Probably it’s got electrolytes. Just not as good as Brawndo.

    2. And unfortunately, natural = good isn’t just the only misinformation spreading, but also dietary fat = bad.

      People are so programmed to think dietary fat is bad that I was met with shock when I said a diabetic could eat a whole stick of butter and see very little change in blood sugar, but could eat a non-fat yogurt and see a HUGE spike in blood sugar. But… yogurt is healthy! HOW COULD IT BE SO?

  17. Warning: Living in SF you have an increased risk of getting AIDs

  18. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.Wage-Report.com

  19. “That knowledge may explain why, as a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found, “the consumption of added sugars in the United States decreased between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, primarily because of a reduction in soda consumption.”

    Sugar consumption is markedly down but diabetes is way up. Something is wrong with this picture. The government never seems to understand the body doesn’t care if sugar is added, ‘natural’ sugar in juice, or the carbohydrates in pasta. To the body sugar is sugar is sugar. Someone should strap a continuous glucose monitor onto these people so they finally understand that. For what it’s worth, sugar doesn’t ’cause’ diabetes. Researchers found normal weight offspring of Type II diabetics were already insulin resistant, a precursor to diabetes. They may or may not even have been so from birth. Not all diabetics are fat and not all fat people are diabetics. Lastly we have an explosion in diabetes cases every time they tighten the diagnostic standard. There may be no more diabetics as a percent of the population than there’s ever been and tighter diagnostic standards are the sole reason for the so-called ‘explosion’.

    1. Yeah, I think the “sugar causes diabetes” myth stems from the fact that Type 2 diabetics have trouble regulating blood sugar or that Type 2 diabetics cannot metabolize sugar properly without experiencing high blood sugar. This would be equivalent to saying that protein causes kidney damage because people with kidney damage often have to restrict their consumption of protein.

      And it’s only half true. Sugar is only part of the problem. Carbohydrates, especially the starchy ones (rice, beans, corn, wheat), can be just as detrimental for someone who’s diabetic. As they convert to glucose, they spike the blood sugar of diabetics sometimes worse than regular sugar.

      What’s crazy is that governments see fit to regulate soda intake, or at least strongly condemn their consumption, on this bogus theory that sugar = diabetes, yet the USDA recommends that men and women get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates – an almost impossible task if you’re just eating vegetables and a small amount of fruit, or a couple servings of tree nuts. This would essentially require you to chow down on starches and sugars to hit your goal. If they understood glucose metabolism at all, they could no more endorse this USDA standard than they do soda, but they’re still beating the “dietary fat makes you fat” horse to death. Instead, they have a completely incoherent stance on what contributes to obesity and diabetes, which best-case scenario is overly simplistic and even factually incorrect anyway.

      1. Don’t tell them this or next they will want to regulate all food intake. Government food bar dispensaries on every corner will be the perfect solution espoused by the statists…..with scales and fat calipers at the entrance.

        1. If they’re handing out my soma ration, I could accept that.

      2. It’s more particular than that. NYC & San Francisco aren’t saying sugar is bad per se. They’re not campaigning vs. candy. They’re saying sugar + water is bad.

        1. Carbonation – the fizzy killer

    2. What the Government busybodies understand about Nutrition could fit comfortably in a thimble, with room left over for their comprehension of Theology, and their common sense. And that’s printed in 14 pt. type, and printed on thick paper.

  20. Katie Couric (remember her) spearheaded this movement and the SF fascists picked up the ball and ran with it.

    When I questioned the fascists in question, they admit – ‘yes, we know you know the sugary content already. Yes, we know there are labels already. It’s not about informing you, prole. It’s about stopping you. You proles cannot keep making choices we know are bad for you’.

    First they come for the Mountain Dew, next they come for the Captain Crunch.

    1. The fascists don’t get that honest with me, probably because they’re scared of what I’d say. They know that at some point, my answer is going to be “That’s why I;’m a Second Amendment absolutist”.

      1. I pretend to be on their side, while deep down, I am seething – and busy planning to be their worst nightmare.

        Double agency is how the statists will be toppled. IMHO.

        1. I think you’ll need a silencer on that chipper.

  21. I have a friend who years ago objected to my occasional consumption of soda – diet or regular. I pointed out that she and her husband go to Jamba Juice all the time and buy the biggest cup size sold there. Her husband responded, “But juice has vitamins…”

    First, you don’t need 300% of your daily intake of Vitamin C. You’re just going to pee that out. Second, vegetables have vitamins. A single fruit has vitamins. Do you need to drink the squeezed juice of 10 fruits to be “healthy”?

    I don’t even care that they’re filling themselves sugary juices or that they erroneously think they’re doing something positive for their bodies. I was just so sick of hearing “soda” blamed as the culprit for everything that’s wrong with the world. Sugary soda being bad does not make fruit juices good. The inconsistency and the hypocrisy drive me nuts.

    1. Does she not believe it’s your body, to do with as you wish?

      1. No, she does not. She’s a non-church-attending super Christian physics major who has been enrolled in community college for the past 10 years who is opposed to gay marriage. She’s all over the map politically and religiously. She’s difficult to figure out, but the overriding theme is that she’s superstitious about food, medicine, and religion and does not fear irritating you with her opinions. Did I mention we’re not good friends anymore?

        1. You could really get her goat by buying her a Reason magazine subscription. And sending her these posts.

          (Tee hee)

          1. That might be an effective campaign for Reason – buy a subscription for someone in need of a brain.

            1. Like Preet Bahara, Obama appointee and all-around jerk.

            2. Careful, that might qualify as a true threat!

              1. Sending him (or anyone) a subscription is not to be construed as a threat, but as an act of kindness and Christian charity.

  22. I go to the public hearings, bring in wheelbarrows of (gasp) SUGAR (the Devil’s Own) and add generous helpings to my formerly sugarless beverage.

    Fuck you, SF fascists!

    1. The 50 character limit is too short for youtube videos so fuck it.

  23. Great idea! We should require those warnings on more things, like…

    “Warning: Federal government food rules are determined by crony capitalism. If you follow federal government nutritional guuidelines, you will likely become obese and diabetic.”

    1. Please eat wheat and corn products, and over-priced sugar. Make sure to stuff your faces with 2000 calories of carby goodness every day!

  24. When I was in 5th grade (1978-1979), as a part of my reading class, we were taught about types of advertising and that you can’t believe everything you see when someone is trying to sell you something. It wasn’t shrieky or anti-capitalist, just a common sense primer for young minds who were going to be subjected to a barrage of commercialism that CAN BE the idiot cousin of capitalism. It has stuck with me to this day. But, of course, that was at a time when government schools were trying to output rational people with reasonable bullshit detectors. I guess since they only want to output unthinking sheep, they need to do the thinking for them.

    1. Teacher’s unions freaked out over Reagan.

  25. “An elected official”? Elected? This is where we lose all sympathy or concern and move on.

  26. “Sanity” is NOT spelled “Soft Drinks”

  27. ThisWoodchipperKillsFascists|6.15.15 @ 12:22AM|#
    “Did coca cola, refuse to cut him a check?”

    Well, no.
    Can’t find a link right now, but CC got exceptions to the royal decree for the huge neon freeway sign and the huge Coke bottle above right field at the ball yard.

  28. So now that they are making it sound dangerous to drink soda, teens,who are hormonaly and psychologically inclined towards rebellious behavior will now have a new way to be rebellious.

    Picture teens in an alley sipping Mountain Dew and snickering about how they are showing The Man what’s up.

  29. Woodchipper brand soda

    1. Full of healthful roughage.

      1. And the blood of tyrants?

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  31. I’ll agree to this if political ads in San Francisco have to carry the following warning in large block letters: “The nanny state may be hazardous to your property and your life.”

  32. This country is quite simply the warning sign, warning label warning message capital of the world! In some ways, it could all be quite funny, except it all promotes and validates the unparalleled culture of personal responsibility renunciation that exists in this nation, and this abdication and transference of personal responsibility and accountability is one of the key elements underlying oppressors’ imposition of laws based on the premise of government making decisions for us for our own good!

    robertsrevolution.net

  33. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

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