There’s been a lot of criticism about the law recently passed in New York banning the sale of extra large sodas. Personally, I think the law is ridiculous. Soda is one of my only vices. I don’t drink often, I’ve never smoked, or done drugs, I don’t drink coffee or non-skim milk. I don't eat mayonaise or red meat. By rights I really ought to be skinnier, but sadly I love bread, chocolate, and soda too much.
But then again, the soda I drink doesn’t have any calories, and compared to most of what we eat isn’t as bad sodium wise as I always thought. Sure the chemicals in it may cause cancer but those exact chemicals are in every other artificially sweetened product that I’ve been eating my whole life, so I’m pretty screwed in that regard. Why the sudden soda hate?
People have attacked sodas. There’s this law, and I’ve heard tons of people saying it shouldn’t be covered under food stamps like cigarets and alcohol. Is it just me or are we getting a little overzealous in our attempts to force people to live a healthier life.
It’s still legal to smoke, which is known to cause cancer. It’s still legal to drink, which is known to cause cirrhoses. Chipping away at individual freedoms isn’t going to solve the obesity epidemic. Plus, who are we kidding, our government isn’t trying to end the obesity epidemic. On the one hand they’re banning large sodas, on the other hand they’re ruling that ketchup is a vegetable and cutting lunch room funds the schools are pretty much forced to feed our children crap. Have you read that blog about the school lunches? Gross.
Here’s the real cause of our obesity epidemic. We’re a super depressed, overworked and stressed country. Statistically we even get less sleep. All those countries we keep comparing ourselves to work less hours, have more vacation time, and consistently measure as happier people. The few that do work the same or more hours than we do have more breaks during the work day and built in time to exercise.
What are some of the causes of over eating? Stress, depression, and lack of time. It’s faster to grab a hamburger on your way to work. Buying healthy groceries is a waste of money if they rot in your fridge because you don’t have the time to cook. We’re trained from an early age to scarf down our food quickly and get back to work. Look at our kids! We know it’s healthier to eat small meals spread out throughout the day. Yet they’re in school for eight hours from early in the morning to mid-afternoon. Then they’re either on a bus for hours, or we tell them if they’re serious about getting into a good college and getting a good job they need to participate in extra curricular activities, so they might have time to scarf down a quick snack, before throwing themselves into an activity that lasts until dinner, then it’s bedtime.
There are exceptions. Not every child is over scheduled. Some schools have longer lunches and breaks. But the vast majority of our children are being rushed through the day, stressed over testing, and not getting enough sleep.
That’s not even taking into account the rising cost of groceries. The huge price difference between fast unhealthy foods and foods that are actually good for you. And the next person that confesses that a pound of fruit can costs less than a bag of potato chips has completely missed the point. It’s not just the snacks, it’s the entire meal. Every single thing we eat every day. Healthy is either more expensive or takes more time to cook. Sure it’s a matter of making healthier choices, but we forget I think that most of the country isn’t comprised of stay at home moms with time to coupon, cook, and grow their own gardens, but working families that are barely holding their head above the water.
My point is the obesity epidemic is complicated. It’s not like smoking where you can point to one unhealthy habit and make laws and taxes and raise public awareness. It’s an issue that has roots in every single aspect of our lifestyle and culture. Outlawing soda isn’t going to make a dent.