No Soda For You!

soda cans

Thirsty?

By now you’ve probably heard the news that New York has banned sodas. What exactly does the ban do?

From Yahoo News:

puts a 16-ounce size limit on cups and bottles of non-diet soda, sweetened teas, and other calorie-packed beverages. The ban will apply in fast-food joints, movie houses and Broadway theaters, workplace cafeterias, and most other places selling prepared food. The rule wouldn’t apply to lower-calorie drinks, such as water or diet soda, or to alcoholic beverages or drinks that are more than half milk or 70 percent, unsweetened juice.

The backers of the regulation estimate it will help someone lose about four pounds over a year. Even if that is completely accurate, the sad truth is the ban won’t accomplish it. The ban has so many holes and loopoles, it’s almost laughable. For example, a soda sold at a sports arena like Yankee Stadium is regulated, but a 32 oz Big Gulp at the local 7-Eleven is not. The ban also doesn’t affect milkshakes which are much more unhealthy than sodas. Replace the banned soda with a 20 oz shake and you’ll gain more weight in a month than the backers estimate you’ll lose in a year¹.

I understand the intent to help people lose weight and be healthier. That’s a great goal, but this seems to go to a bit too far. Part of having freedom is having the freedom to make poor choices

I’ve heard the justification that obesity is an epidemic in this country. That’s hard to argue. It certainly is. But you fight it with education, not regulation.

I’ve also heard the justification that everyone ends up paying for obesity with our taxes, but conveniently, they don’t say exactly how obesity is paid for by taxes. This also seems to be an incredible slippery slope of an argument. You could justify nearly any regulation by somehow relating it to a behavior that ends up being paid for with tax revenue. It seems like an argument that would only resonate with someone who already agreed with the regulation.

The other justification I’ve heard is that this is like the smoking bans in restaurants that help keep everyone healthier. . This isn’t like a smoking ban. Smoking produces cancer causing second hand smoke which can make people who don’t choose to smoke sick.

I think the regulation is poorly thought out, poorly executed and sets a poor precedent.

Dave Ramsey often says that personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% execution. Eating healthy is similar. Until a person decides in their own heart and mind to do it, no amount of cajoling or force will accomplish it.

What do you think of the soda ban? Would you like your city to adopt a similar regulation?

 

photo: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net (used with permission)

 

¹ – No, I haven’t done the calculation. I’m guessing at how quickly you would add more than four pounds.