Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Continuing War On Soda Consumption

Mayor Bloomberg lost a battle with the Department of Agriculture over trying to convince the Department to approve a pilot project to toss soda from being eligible for purchase with food stamps as a way to curb obesity. But that hasn't stopped the Bloomberg Administration from trying to make the case that soda is responsible for the obesity epidemic.

Except is it really soda consumption or something else - like say a sedentary lifestyle?

The soda-obesity epidemic theory takes a hit when one considers that soda consumption rates have dropped over the past three years even as obesity rates have increased:
Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (D-Bronx), who represents the Riverdale section of The Bronx, called the Bloomberg administration's food-stamp proposal a logical step to try to break the city's soda habit.

"I don't always agree with Mayor Bloomberg," he said. "On this issue, I think he was right and the federal government wrong. I don't see how there's a downside to it. Soda is not only not nutritional, it's harmful."

Records show that 31.6 percent of Dinowitz's constituents in Riverdale and Kingsbridge down at least one soda a day.

The citywide average is 32 percent, down 12 percent between 2007 and 2009.
So, soda consumption has dropped 12%, but obesity continues rising. That would tend to suggest something else is at play for the obesity problem among Americans.

Soda is the go-to bad food of choice for the moment, but it isn't the only bad food. In fact most food can be seen as bad food choices when not taken in moderation.

It's all about moderation and exercise as part of a balanced diet. If you don't have a balanced diet, complete with portion control, and exercise, then you have an excess of calories and the weight gain ensues. Most Americans don't have a balanced diet - and while some people attribute this to food deserts (the inability to find fresh fruits/vegetables at a reasonable price compared to junk foods), it comes down to bad choices.

But politicians can't force people to exercise or make better choices for themselves, so they're attacking the food chain instead - and fixating on soda because it is seen as extraneous and empty calories. You don't see these same politicians offering to levy taxes on steak portions over 12oz., even though such oversized portions would have many times the caloric intake of a carbonated beverage and are laden with artery clogging fats.

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