Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Don't Ban My Beverage!

Back in 2008, New York City's restaurants were barred from using most frying oils containing trans fats, and had to eliminate the trans fats from all of their foods by July of that year.  In a similar vein, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing to ban the sale of sugary soda and other sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces by restaurants, movie theaters, street vendors and stadium concession stands.

Before you shrug and say, "Well, that's New York, not my town," you should know that, inspired by NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Cambridge Massachusetts' mayor is proposing a soda ban as well.    New York, seems to be leading the charge toward legislated healthy living.  Yet, is healthy living something we should be legislating?  In my opinion, the answer is an emphatic, "NO!"

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying soda pop has health benefits, other than being a fast delivery system for caffeine when caffeine addicts get withdrawal headaches, or as a palatable substitute for Alka-Seltzer.  Root beer, cola, fruit flavored pops, etc... are essentially liquid forms of candy, which have been adopted, by many, as dietary staples.  They're full of; sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, caffeine, calories, and Yahweh only knows what else.  My point is, not every unhealthy choice or bad idea should be illegal, at least where adults are concerned.

If the goal is to keep mass amounts of sugary drinks out of the hands of kids as they scarf down Big Macs five times a week, because momma doesn't want to cook, that's fine.  I'm all for "The Village" helping kids start out on the right track.

However, if an informed adult wants to suck down 32 ounces, of more, of cola while they munch on their popcorn and watch 007 take down the bad guys, he/she should be free to do that.  If a designated driver wants to down a plate of wings and wash it down with a huge root beer while their friends get blitzed, they should be free to do that.

Keep in mind, the proposed ban would not apply to diet soda, coffee drinks, milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages.  Thus, I could order a steak and wash it down with a sandbox bucket full of Margarita or Long Island Iced Tea legally, but I couldn't wash the same steak down with an equal amount of cola.   Does this make sense to anybody?  Anybody?

Sure, there's something to be said for restraint and common sense through moderation.  Yet, government shouldn't be in the business of legislating common sense.   The government can, and should, educate its citizens by making heath facts available to the public.  Once the facts are available though, adults need to be free to make decisions regarding what they put into their own bodies.

Yes, the government has a vested interest in keeping its citizens healthy.  Yet, I submit there's nothing more unhealthy than having a population of robots being told what they can eat and drink.

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