Banning Use of Food Stamps for Soda Is Just Wrong

Eye Roll 158

SodaAs more Americans, kids especially, are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it's important to have a national conversation about what people should be eating. We need to talk about how we make, sell, and buy our food. But some suggestions are out of line, like that of The New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, who's calling for a ban on soda purchases with food stamps. Because, really, who am I to tell people what they can and can't spend their money on.

It's an argument with merit: sugary drinks cause obesity, which creates health problems, and therefore we should try to help people make healthier choices. But if you tell someone he or she can't have a soda, what's next?

Will you then tell people they can't have cookies? Will potato chips be banned? How about ketchup? French fries? Deli turkey? Eggs? Whole milk?

It seems like you could make any sort of argument for or against the healthfulness of lots of foods. But who am I to decide how other people decide to live their lives and feed their families? Should I have more rights as someone who can afford to pay for my own food without needing food stamps? What kind of society would we be creating if we decided that the rich got to dictate to the poor what they could and could not eat?

Bittman argues that since food stamps can't be used to buy alcohol or tobacco, we should be able to ban high-calorie, low-nutrition foods like soda. But cigarettes ain't food. And while there is a correlation between food-insecurity and obesity, meaning yes, nutrition is lacking, people need to be educated. And food stamps need to be worth more. Newark Mayor Cory Booker had less than $30 to live on for the week he volunteered to live on food stamps.

We need to make healthy food more affordable. We need to make food stamps more valuable. And we need to educate people to empower them to make their own healthy food choices. Telling others what they can and can't eat is condescending.

Do you think people should be able to buy soda with food stamps or should the government limit what people can purchase?


Image via jpockele/Flickr

drinks, healthy choices, obesity


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bills... billsfan1104

Really Christina??? 

JS0512 JS0512

I see nothing wrong with this.  A friend of the family gets food stamps and loads her cart with the most unhealthy crap I have ever seen.  When my oldest was born I had to go on WIC and they told me what I could buy (not just which types of bread/cheese/cereal, but which brands).  Never once did I get upset that I had to "buy" a loaf of bread I didn't necessarily care for.  I was grateful for the help.  Why should food stamps be any different? 

As for the person who said that people receiving food stamps work all day therefore cannot cook "all day".  I call bullsh*t.  That's a lazy excuse.  I am away from the home for 11 hours a day and am a single mother of two.  We have home cooked meals nearly every night and it doesn't take me hours to prepare.  Rice, veggie & grilled chicken breast takes about 20 minutes of my time.

missusmc missusmc

Look, I think it's fine for low income people to have a treat here and there, but in their own dime, not government assistance.  It's ridiculous how we just accept that low income people tend to eat unhealthy (in the name of its their rights to do so).  I know plenty of low income families who think they can't eat healthy because of time, money, whatever, and its not always the case.  Perhaps if we were to just give assistance for basic healthy, whole foods, and a way to prepare it (there goes our not everyone can afford a crock pot argument) and people will live better lives.

Maybe a ban on HFCS would be a good start.  Or certain packaged foods.  There's no reason for people to live a lower quality of life because they receive food stamps.  

Melis... Melissa1508

Hahahahahahaha!!!!  To the poster who said people on food stamps spend their days working and don't have time to cook-you must not live where I do!  Most of the people here who get government assistance sit on their lazy asses all day long and refuse to work.  To the other poster who said my tax money could have gone to a pot hole...I would rather it did.  At least then something productive would come out of it.  You walk in wearing expensive clothes, carrying a Coach purse, wearing Christian Louboutins (yes, I've seen this) and then bitch because you have to pay $5.00 for birth control or complain that you don't have any money to get your kid(s) anything for Christmas!?  Kiss my working ASS!!!!

ImaSo... ImaSoulMom

They do not have their own dimes! That is sort of the whole point. I don't care what kind of pan anyone has. You will waste much more taxpayer money simply because you do not like what others are doing. Don't worry. Since they are eating processed foods, they will be dead soon anyway.

IKnow... IKnow0101

People need to make better food choices but it should be their choice.  Not everyone can eat the same types of food like my mom.  Also I sick of people talking about their tax money.  It tax money so you can't dictate who it goes to or why.

happy... happybaby503

We have become a fast food nation, and now more than ever, parents are outliving their children. It is OUR responsibility to monitor what children eat and drink. If you are too lazy to make an effort, then don't have children. Its like those commercials for spaghetti sauce where the mom says "If you don't eat your vegetables, Santa doesn't come." First off, its Ragu, second we all know there is not two servings on vegetables in pizza. Obesity is something that can be prevented by eating healthy and being active. I fully support this idea, and give kuddos for someone speaking so boldly about the subject.

happy... happybaby503

How much are we willing to pay? Because we all really do pay a price in this!!

ImaSo... ImaSoulMom

Thank you happybaby. You have actually proved my point. This was about soda and you started talking about ragu. I am sure there are many moms who have no issues with ragu. Not to mention that i do

ImaSo... ImaSoulMom

think the companies will put forth their own arguments. Both sides will argue their point and spend millions and millions. You get to decide what your family eats. Now i will ask you your own question. How much are you willing to pay? Are you willing to waste money arguing over soda and ragu because you don't like it?

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