As kids, we said it, and as parents, we hear it: “When I grow up I’m going to eat junk food for dinner every night!” Somewhere along the journey from childhood to adulthood, we learned the health and lifestyle benefits of healthy eating. Most of us probably made a brief stop in the land of ramen and cheese doodles in our late teens and early twenties, but eventually we began to regard junk food as something to be indulged in occasionally, not everyday sustenance.
Well, we were supposed to anyway.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg thinks his constituents are too fat, that soda is the culprit, and that it’s his job to combat the obesity epidemic by limiting the amount of sugar soda that they may buy.
The New York Times reports:
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
What the heck happened to ‘my body, my choice’? Are New Yorkers too dumb to decide what kind of food and/or beverage they’d like to consume? And since when is sugar soda the sole culprit of obesity? Milkshakes are allowed but not Coke? What the heck, Batman?
Sure, drinking copious amounts of sugary drinks with no nutritional value whatsoever is a dumb decision, but just because something is dumb doesn’t mean it should be illegal. Regulating personal behavior is a bad idea. Anything that limits our freedom of food choice is a violation of our liberty as Americans to be as fat as we darn well please.
What’s next in the battle of the tummy bulge? Will we have to pass BMI tests in order to get fries instead of a side salad? Why doesn’t the government issue everyone Fitbits, and no one can order an ice cream sundae unless they’ve completed 10,000 daily steps? While we’re at it, let’s require a pinprick to test for diabetes before selling someone a candy bar. Wouldn’t want them to hurt themselves with bad choices!
These scenarios might seem ridiculous, but banning large sodas is ridiculous. When it comes down to it, it is not the government’s job to make decisions for us to ‘protect us from ourselves.’ At the same time, if you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, it’s not Uncle Sam’s fault. Take some responsibility and voluntarily give up excess sugary drinks. You’re a grownup now -- you don’t need anyone to tell you to eat your peas.
Image via Marcin Wichary/Flickr